Defensive Score Sheet: Kentucky versus Tennessee

For an explanation of the Defensive Score Sheet go here.

Thanks to CBS for not taking down the online feed of Sunday's game I was able to re-watch it and complete a DSS.  I'm particularly interested in this game because it's the first time that I have a sheet for two games against the same opponent where I feel the results are pretty accurate.  (I also have two sheets for the games against South Carolina, but the first one was the very first DSS and the process has evolved and improved since then and I don't have the same level of confidence in that first game that I do in the more recent ones.)

After the jump I'll present the results for the second game and some comparisons between both games against the Vols.

Most of the recaps I've read about this game have expressed amazement at how UK played so terribly in the first half and yet were only down by 7.  You would think that people would realize that UK only played terribly on offense.  On defense they were still pretty good and that's what kept them in it.

Here is the DSS for Sunday's game.  Click the image for a larger picture.

Ukut2dss_medium

  • A good game out of Knight who barely allowed his man to score and was causing trouble on the ball.  The lack of scores probably says as much about who he was guarding as anything, but you really can't say the same about forcing turnovers which is where Knight made his greatest impact on defense.
  • A similar game out of Miller, the big difference being the 7 free throws made after his fouls: every one of Darius's fouls put a Tennessee player on the line.  Oddly, nearly of his counting stats occurred at the beginning of the 2nd half.  Miller also played the last 10 minutes of the 2nd half with 4 fouls - something he should get credit for but that I don't think has been mentioned in wake of the win.
  • Another solid outing by Liggins.  Liggins' Defensive Rating is slightly worse than the Team Average, but he still totally shut down Hopson.  Actually, a couple of those Defensive FGM were transition baskets where Liggins was defending lightly, I assume in an attempt to avoid foul trouble.
  • Even on his bad days Jones comes out even on the defensive end.  His defense around the basket continues to be really, really good and that should bode well if UK gets matched up in the NCAAT with a team that relies a lot on a big man inside.
  • Speaking of Hopson, not only did Liggins take him out of the game offensively, he might have done it defensively too.  When I took note of Hopson (which wasn't often I admit) it seemed like he was guarding Miller a lot, but most of Darius's damage came against other guys.
  • Of Kentucky's 10 turnovers in the game, 7 were combo efforts by the Tennessee defense.  That's either a testament to this element of their defense or to the Cats dribbling into double teams.  The two TEAM turnovers occurred when no one came to get the ball from Knight when he was on the ground and when Josh passed to who knows who (my guess is Baby Cookie).

 

Now let's look at a comparison between the two games.  The DSS for the first game can be found here.  For this I'm only going to look at how two categories - Stop % and Defensive Possession % (what I like to call Usage Rate) - looked for UK's guys.  What I've done is take the Stop % and Usage Rate for each player and found the change for each.  Players have been listed by how much their Stop % improved from game to game.

Ukutchange_medium

  • Knight's Stop% improved the most, though it was accompanied by a big drop in his Usage Rate.  I don't remember enough about the first game to say if this was due to Knight guarding someone different or just one of those fluctuations that can happen from game to game.
  • Darius Miller is the model of consistency, at least against Tennessee.  In this case that's a good thing.
  • Jon Hood played 3 minutes in each game.  In the first he allowed a field goal to be made.  That's literally the only difference between his two lines.
  • A bit of a drop for DeAndre, but I wouldn't read much into it.  He was good in both.
  • I think it's odd that Harrellson, Jones, and Vargas were all less effective in the second game despite Brian Williams not playing.  I would bet that is more fluke than anything, but it's still odd.
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