Lon Kruger is known for his gritty man-to-man defenses. Nothing has changed since coming to Oklahoma. However, Kruger has always had a zone defense to add a new surprise wrinkle to this team. When asked about how often the zone was employed while at UNLV, Kruger estimated the zone was used in approximately 30-40 minutes through the stretch of seven seasons. Those seven seasons total to roughly 8,000+ minutes of game play so you get just how often Kruger's teams have used a 1-2-2. While no one but Kruger himself is exactly sure on how much we will see this zone defense, it does exist in the Sooners' arsenal. One thing remains true, this team has been very good at it especially the 1-2-2.
In order to see the 1-2-2 in full affect, look no further than the game against the Kansas Jayhawks. The Oklahoma Sooners were able to take a surprise lead going into the half for several reasons. Man-to-man defense takes a ton of conditioning. To be able to run around aimlessly at points following a man without the ball to switching off screens demands stamina. This is something that YoYo has brought back to program, Yet, it is the zone that allows things to slow down and players to catch their breathe just a bit before going back to man defense. Outside of stamina, the zone is something that no one expects from this Oklahoma squad. As stated above, it is not Kruger's favorite defense and it is rarely utilized. With that said, it is something that OU will continue to use in spurts, when, no one is sure, but it is always a weapon waiting in the shadow.
The zone defense was not used much against Texas A&M, but it will need to be installed tonight against the Baylor Bears to confuse and throw some of the NBA Talent on the floor out of sync.