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Another game, another dominating performance by the Kentucky Wildcats. Wins over Louisville, North Carolina, and Tennessee are always fun, but for my money no victory brings more visceral pleasure than blowing out Florida. The main objective in shutting down Florida's offense is pretty obvious - stop their 3 point shooting, and the Gators shot their worst 3pt accuracy of the season against the Cats. That is not to say that UK played excellent 3pt defense, though it was pretty good (more on this a bit later).
From a defensive standpoint, this game was kind of a mixed bag and emblematic of what the Cats have done in conference play this year. On the good side the Cats were tough on shots and refused to send Florida to the free throw line. On the bad, they didn't force many turnovers and did a poor job grabbing defensive rebounds. That's been the story in conference play this season although the lack of rebounds and forced turnovers hasn't stopped UK from putting up the best Defensive Efficiency in the SEC. If there is one place where the Cats can really improve to cement their place as the best team in America though, it's defensive rebounding.
|Kentucky||Defense Box Score: Kentucky vs Florida|
- UK forced 8 turnovers (4 steals) in the first half, then only 1 turnover in the second. You can see that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was heavily involved in that action, even though he didn't get credit for any steals.
- Florida got a lot of uncontested shots including 8 (9?) threes. To put that another way, fully 25% of Florida's shots were not defended at all by a UK player. The Cats usually do a better job limiting these kinds of shots, but they were a little fortunate that Florida didn't shoot better when wide open.
- Anthony Davis was all over the place, especially on the perimeter. 18 shots defended isn't a career high (he had 19.5 against St. Johns) but the 5 forced misses on threes are. And he did it all while only committing a single foul too.
- I thought Davis handled Patric Young just fine. Young had very little success trying to be physical with AD. Early in the season I wondered if UK would be able to handle a physical big man. I'm not worried about that any longer.
- Marquis Teague did a fine job shadowing Erving Walker. He is close to becoming a sneaky good weapon on defense.
- Speaking of Walker, does anyone know who (if anyone) guarded his last three (Florida's last 3 point shot)? The ESPN cameras were not watching the court when it happened, so I classified the attempt as "Undefended." It's a small thing, but I'd like to correct it if it was guarded by someone.
|Name||Opp eFG%||Opp TO%||FTRate||DRb%||Stops||Scores||Plays||Stop%||DPoss%||Def Rtg||Opp Eff|
- An all around good game by MKG who once again does a little bit of everything. A couple of cheap fouls near the end of the game are the only blemish.
- The Unsung hero might just be Doron Lamb, who I believe guarded Kenny Boynton for most of the night (at least he was when I was paying specific attention to him). Boynton finished with 18 points, but 13 of those came after UK had gone up 60 to 39 and the game was all but over. It was hard to keep track of this though, as MKG, Lamb, and Darius Miller all seemed to spend a lot of time switching around on Bradley Beal, Boynton, and Mike Rosario
- The one player who could help the team rebound better is Darius Miller. He had a number of chances to grab defensive rebounds this game and didn't come up with them. He is capable of doing better.
For this game I decided to keep track of how both teams shot on their 3 point shots loosely categorized as "Wide Open" "Semi Guarded" and "Closely Guarded". Florida took a number of closely guarded threes, but several of those came late in the game. For the most part their shot selection (with respect to the presence of a defender) was pretty good - they just had a hard time hitting any.
On the other hand, after starting the game 1 for 5, UK reeled off 8 for 10 to finish the game. They made better decisions (again with respect to the presence of a defender) overall than Florida did when deciding when to take a shot.
One last item that isn't UK related, but still terrific. Luke Winn at Sports Illustrated just posted today an outstanding, in-depth look at Syracuse's zone defense using these defensive charting principles. It is well worth the read, especially for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of what all this is about.