Over the summer I went back and watched the UK-UNC Elite 8 game on the NCAA Vault to record a DSS. I thought the results might prove interesting for tomorrow's game and a complement to Glenn's defensive analysis in his post below.
After the jump I'll present the results along with some thoughts on what it could mean for tomorrow's game.
One of the reasons I scored the game was to try out the Defense Box Score idea. At one point I had player match-up information too, but I seem to have lost it.
- Terrence Jones was one of UK's best defenders last year and had solid results in this game, doing a good job on the defensive boards and helping out to force turnovers. He also provided his typically terrific shot defense.
- Eloy Vargas only played about a minute (I think it was actually a bit more than that but it gets rounded down in the box score) but was very busy in that time and defended the basket quite well against the Tarheels attempts to take advantage of him. Based on his play so far this season, I think Vargas can give the Cats very good defensive minutes tomorrow.
- Darius Miller had a hard time with Harrison Barnes which is where most of the FG damage comes from, he also got a bit lucky with the missed free throws. His defense of Barnes tended to take him away from the basket which is why I think he only had 1 defensive rebound - Barnes mostly shot jumpers when Miller was on him. Darius will probably see time on Barnes again, but I think he might be better utilized on a guard.
Doron Lamb also took a turn on #40 and while his numbers may not show it, but he actually did a good job chasing him around the court and staying with him. Barnes didn't get many open looks when Lamb was on him. We could see Lamb again on Barnes, though I expect it would be more of a change-of-pace cameo than a primary assignment.
- On the North Carolina side, John Henson had maybe his worst defensive performance of his career against the Cats. UK was able to make most of their shots against him and repeatedly got to the line - most memorably on a put-back And-1 by Darius Miller that gave Henson his 4th foul early in the 2nd half. That is not likely to be repeated. Henson just doesn't foul much and he will almost surely get some blocks tomorrow. Expect him to be a much bigger factor defensively and give the Cats more trouble than he did in 8 months ago.
- Kendall Marshall was mostly bad on defense primarily from an inability to guard shooters. He did force quite a few turnovers though and that is something to keep an eye on, particularly when (if?) he takes a turn on Teague. On the other hand, Teague has shot his jumpers fairly well so he should be able to get good looks if he can avoid turnovers. Marshall could impact this game defensively if he is able to force turnovers at the same rate that he did in this game - especially if they are steals.
- Tyler Zeller and Dexter Stickland had the best games defensively which isn't a surprise given their reputation. Keep an eye on who they guard because that will tell you who Roy Williams is most worried about on the Cats.