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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball DSS: NCAA Tournament Games 1 and 2

Terrence Jones was terrific on defense in Kentucky's first two tournament games.  (He was pretty good on offense too)
Terrence Jones was terrific on defense in Kentucky's first two tournament games. (He was pretty good on offense too)

Click here for an explanation of how the DSS is charted and what the ratings and box score represent. A big thanks to a2d2 for the heads up on replays on youtube.

I gave some thoughts on Kentucky's defense in their first two NCAA Tournament games yesterday, but I've had a chance now to go back and review them and there are a few additional items that are worth mentioning, particularly when it comes to Terrence Jones whose defense in the Iowa St game was even better than I originally thought.

First up, here is how Iowa State's offense during the season and in Big 12 play compares to how they did against Kentucky.

Iowa State Offense

Season Big 12 vs UK
Offensive Eff. 108.6 106.6 109.2
eFG% 52.6 52.6 43.4
TO% 18.3 18.1 10.8
FT Rate 38.7 35.3 41.0
Offensive RB% 32.3 30.4 30.0

The Cyclones actually scored a bit more efficiently against the Cats than they did during the regular season, although the difference is really of no practical significance. Most of what happened in the game is not a surprise: Kentucky held them to a very low Effective Field Goal %, didn't force many turnovers, and did a pretty good job on the defensive glass. The only real surprise is how much Iowa St was able to get to the line - a 41.0 Free Throw rate is much higher than their average and it is WAY higher than what UK normally allows. Credit the Cyclones for going inside early and often and drawing a lot of fouls on shot attempts.

In terms of individual defense, mad props go out to Terrence Jones. Yesterday I opined that I expected Jones to have a poor Defensive Rating if I charted the Iowa St game. In fact I was dead wrong about that. TJ put up an individual rating of 107.7 that was 1.5 points better than the team's defensive efficiency of 109.2. If you don't take away anything else take away this: Terrence Jones plays outstanding defense. Every. Single. Game.

For TJ to do that while guarding Royce White for the majority of the game is just outstanding. So how did it happen? For one, there were enough other players who guarded White that he didn't score all his points against Jones. 11 of White's 23 points were attributable to Jones based on Jones guarding him singularly or in combination with another player. This was balanced by TJ's exceptional work on the glass (7 defensive rebounds) and his ability to force turnovers (1.5). He also got a little lucky as his fouls sent Cyclones to the line a total of 9 times, but only 5 free throws were made.

Here are how the Cats stack up for the two games combined:

Kentucky Four Factors Ratings
Name Opp eFG% Opp TO% FTRate DRb% Stops Scores Plays Stop% DPoss% Def Rtg Opp Eff
T. Jones 26.2 13.2 52.4 22.1 16.3 8.8 25.1 0.65 0.22 96.5 71.6
A. Davis 32.5 8.2 17.5 19.7 17.0 11.4 28.3 0.60 0.22 99.0 82.9
K. Wiltjer 20.0 21.5 280.0 9.1 2.7 1.9 4.7 0.59 0.25 99.3 85.9
M. Kidd-Gilchrist 48.1 17.0 38.5 16.4 10.3 7.4 17.7 0.58 0.16 100.4 87.7
D. Lamb 33.3 6.9 66.7 6.1 3.3 3.9 7.2 0.46 0.09 103.2 111.0
M. Teague 64.8 21.9 29.6 7.4 8.6 8.9 17.5 0.49 0.15 103.5 117.1
D. Miller 50.0 10.5 28.6 13.1 9.1 9.9 19.1 0.48 0.19 104.3 107.5
Undefended 61.4 5.8 0.0 0.0 6.3 11.0 17.3 0.36 0.13 106.8 156.2

Totals 44.0 12.3 33.1 72.5


  • Jones was outstanding against Western Ky too and leads the Cats in getting stops with a 65% Stop Rate. He has the best defensive rating on the team at 96.5 and he is the best at preventing opposing players from scoring efficiently at 71.6 points per 100 possessions.
  • After being a no-show on the glass for much of the season, Darius Miller really asserted himself in Louisville grabbing 3 defensive rebounds against WKU and 5 against Iowa St. If Miller will continue to do that it will be a big boost to the defense.
  • Doron Lamb had a miniscule direct impact on defense and watching both games it seemed as though neither WKU nor Iowa St made any kind of effort to go at him. I think a lot of that had to do with how the games played out more than anything. Expect Lamb to be much more important in defending Indiana.
  • It's good to see Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back to his usual self on the boards after a poor SEC Tournament. MKG only had a 9.3 Defensive Rebound % in New Orleans, but was back to his season average this past weekend.
  • It's almost news in itself that Anthony Davis was merely slightly above average instead of incredibly dominating. I think the match up in the 2nd round had a lot to do with it, but I also got the sense that Davis was not as aggressive as he normally is while defending the paint. Take a look at the first shot of the game below:

Royce White took the ball on the far side (bench side) of the basket and then turned into the middle of the floor for a layup attempt. In any other game the result of that would be "Block # 1" but Davis didn't make any move to try and block the shot or contest it in any way. I assume he was concerned about Melvin Ejim in the corner, but Davis isn't really taking away the passing lane either and White is already well into his move to the basket. There were other points during the game where Davis did not challenge players the way we've become used to seeing. I'm not sure how much of that is just a bad game and how much was due to the game plan.