Defensive Scoresheet: Louisville

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a few days since UK knocked out Louisville, but who doesn't like to look back at a win over a rival? The Wildcats produced their best overall defensive effort of the season in the victory over the Cards with a particularly outstanding effort by Willie Cauley-Stein.


Team Defense

Louisville Offense Season Avg Game 1st Half 2nd Half
Possessions 69.1 69 37 32
Points 85.0 66 36 30
Efficiency 119.0 95.7 97.3 93.8
eFG% 54.3 44.8 53.3 33.9
Offensive RB% 40.2 30.8 12.5 43.5
Turnover % 13.8 18.8 16.2 21.9
FT Rate 41.0 37.9 16.7 60.7

As of today, Louisville currently sports the #1 Offense in the country in Ken Pomeroy's Adjusted Offensive Efficiency ratings.  Kentucky took that offense and held it to its worst production of the season while causing problems for the Cardinals in all phases of the game.  If you look at the first and second half totals you'll see that they are polar opposites with Kentucky putting together a dominant half in each of the 4 Factors, just not all at the same time.

What's funny is that the Cats excelled in rebounding and not fouling in the 1st half while allowing the Cardinals to shoot well and not commit turnovers, then in the 2nd half they totally reversed those numbers.  In the end though both approaches worked and while Louisville did miss a lot of open shots in the 2nd half, those shots were mostly by Luke Hancock.  I wonder if that was part of the game plan.

Individual 4 Factors


Defensive Four Factors
Name Opp eFG% Opp TO% FTRate DRb%
Willie Cauley-Stein 14.3 29.6 85.7 20.5
Dakari Johnson 16.7 31.4 0.0 0.0
Undefended 33.3 21.0 0.0 5.1
Alex Poythress 37.5 8.9 50.0 19.5
James Young 65.7 22.1 34.3 17.1
Aaron Harrison 58.8 16.5 23.5 13.7
Andrew Harrison 71.4 25.5 28.6 3.0
Dominique Hawkins 40.0 0.0 140.0 6.8
Julius Randle 78.1 3.0 0.0 9.8

  • Another great game by Willie Cauley-Stein with the only blemish being the 8 free throws he permitted, most of which occured in the final minutes of the game.  Only 4 of those attempts were made though, so no real damage done.
  • Louisville missed a total of 9 wide open shots, 7 of which were from behind the arc.
  • A nice game from Dakari Johnson in his 8 minutes.  I liked what I saw from him while watching and I'm happy that the numbers support that observation.
  • Solid games from the guards who collectively had a steep challenge guarding Russ Smith and Chris Jones.
  • Julius Randle was a beast on offense and a Care Bear on defense.  Most odd: only two defensive rebounds.  If you had told me that the Wildcats dominated the defensive glass as much as they did in the 1st half, I would have assumed Randle would be a big part of that.


Defensive Ratings
Name Stop% DPoss% Opp Eff DRtg
Willie Cauley-Stein 72.5 25.2 43.8 82.6
Dakari Johnson 77.5 16.2 44.8 87.4
Undefended 68.5 13.8 84.0 94.0
Alex Poythress 56.2 15.5 89.3 94.7
James Young 56.9 16.0 97.2 95.9
Aaron Harrison 49.3 19.9 107.0 97.9
Andrew Harrison 47.3 8.0 127.7 98.2
Dominique Hawkins 29.2 25.7 120.2 102.0
Julius Randle 27.5 18.4 160.0 107.5

  • It should be no surprise that WCS is at the top of this list.  He's really hard to score against.  He's reached Anthony Davis levels where I really don't know what else to say about his defense - his talent and ability are self-evident.
  • James Young produced another good defensive outing.  I continue to really like his work on the perimeter.  He and Aaron Harrison are both showing promise and I think they are going to be a big part of whatever defensive improvement we see from the team going forward.
  • Andrew Harrison was not terrible - improvement!
  • A really bad game for Randle on this end of the floor.  In his defense, I believe he was trying very hard not to pick up fouls that would put him on the bench.  I saw him step back from opposing ball handlers on a number of occasions and put his hands up in pose that just screams "Don't whistle me bro!".  What I don't know is if he chose to do that himself, or was encouraged by Cal to take steps to avoid a 2nd foul in the first half.
  • Even granting that, I think this game serves to illustrate that so far this season, the majority of Julius's defensive value to the team is tied to his ability to grab rebounds and end opposing possessions.  In this game, and in particular the first half, his rebounding really wasn't needed and he needs to find ways to consistently contribute in other ways on defense if Kentucky is going to improve.
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