Most teams play the occasional zone defense, while making man-to-man defense their bread and butter. Syracuse's patented 2-3 zone should prove to be quite a mess for its new foes in the ACC.
First, Syracuse almost exclusively uses the zone and consequently knows how any team will attack it because the ways to beat an effective zone are very limited.
They include high percentage outside shooting and inside-out play by running the point at the foul line with his back to the basket. Teams don't see enough zone defense to quantify practicing for it, which is another advantage for Syracuse.
Throughout the 2-3 zone, Syracuse will be able to dictate the pace of its games because it is easy to break out of fast and even easier to slow the pace down of a game if need be.
Carmelo Anthony, during Syracuse's 2003 championship run, credited the 2-3 zone as one of the biggest factors in Syracuse's ability to win. He noted that no one knew how to play against the zone.
In the Big East, the teams are used to the zone, but while they know how to play against it, it doesn't mean they have the ability to do so. A well-executed zone is a thing of beauty and nearly impossible to penetrate. Syracuse has one of those zones.
After a few years, ACC coaches will develop a method of attack against the Syracuse zone, but until then, it may be easy pickin's for the Orange in the ACC.