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DSS: Providence

Kentucky beat Providence Sunday in a game that was won on the offensive side of the court. The Friars gave the Cats all kinds of problems on their way to the 2nd highest efficiency that UK has allowed on the young season.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Team Defense

First up we'll look at the overall defensive effort against the Friars.  Now that we're well into the season, I'll include season averages for the opponent so that we can get a sense of how much better or worse the Cats' defense performed in the vital areas.

Providence Offense Season Avg Game 1st Half 2nd Half
Possessions 68.6 61.0 32.0 29.0
Points 72.3 65.0 35.0 30.0
Efficiency 106.6 106.6 109.4 103.4
eFG% 44.7 39.3 42.4 35.7
Offensive RB% 37.4 39.1 33.3 45.5
Turnover % 17.8 9.8 3.1 17.2
FT Rate 41.5 37.7 33.3 42.9

That's no misprint on the efficiency - Kentucky "held" Providence to their season average on Sunday.  By definition, Kentucky's overall defensive effort was merely average.  Providence really slowed the game down too, though it didn't seem to hurt their ability to score too much.  Hitting half your threes will do that for you.

  • Despite torching the Cats from outside, Providence had a hard time shooting overall, held 5 points below their season eFG% average.
  • Kentucky mostly kept Providence off the line.
  • 2 point shot defense was really good.  Take a bow Willie.
  • Cal teams don't force many turnovers to begin with, but only 6 in a 61 possession game is rather absurdly low, even for them.
  • Defensive rebounding was pretty bad.  There were a few bad bounces, such as when Harrison and Young both went after a ball and knocked it out of bounds, but Providence just beat the Cats to a lot of misses.

Individual 4 Factors

Defensive Four Factors
Name Opp eFG% Opp TO% FTRate DRb%
Willie Cauley-Stein 18.7 8.8 25.0 12.1
Julius Randle 100.0 11.6 80.0 20.5
James Young 80.0 10.1 140.0 7.9
Aaron Harrison 0.0 0.0 26.7 4.6
Andrew Harrison 82.1 11.6 28.6 7.9
Dominique Hawkins 92.8 22.5 28.6 5.1
Alex Poythress 35.7 0.0 28.6 5.8
Undefended 27.3 13.1 0.0 8.7

  • WCS had a terrific game.  It would have been nice if he could have grabbed a few more defensive rebounds, but I'm not going to quibble with his overall body of work.  If he has to sacrifice a few boards in exchange for going after shots, then so be it - other guys need to step up.
  • Randle's rates on shooting and free throws look bad, but the raw numbers are nothing to worry about.  He did his usually good work on the defensive glass, but honestly he is capable of doing much, much better.  A 20.5% rate is his 3rd worst mark of the season and there were plenty of missed shots for him to grab.
  • James Young sent the Friars to the free throw line 7 times where they hit 5.  That's an unusual number for him, nothing to worry about.

Defensive Ratings
Name Stop% DPoss% Opp Eff DRtg
Julius Randle 68.6 16.7 69.4 100.4
Aaron Harrison 76.3 6.9 49.9 102.6
Willie Cauley-Stein 65.6 20.7 88.1 102.7
Undefended 73.7 12.5 78.8 103.1
Alex Poythress 41.7 20.3 128.9 111.1
James Young 33.8 19.7 131.4 111.4
Dominique Hawkins 43.7 17.1 146.4 113.4
Andrew Harrison 31.0 25.7 156.5 119.4

  • WCS was terrific obviously.  The combination of direct engagement (20.7 DPoss%) with excellent on-ball defense (88.1 Opponent Efficiency) makes him pretty lethal.
  • A good all-around line for Randle, though most of his involvement comes from grabbing defensive rebounds.  He needed to get out and challenge shooters more.
  • I thought Poythress's defense was pretty good overall.  He got burned on some shots that were fairly well defended, but most everyone on the team had that happen to them at some point.
  • Andrew Harrison's defense leaves much to be desired.  He doesn't hustle back in transition.  He will often just stop once his guy gets past him.  He's bigger than most of the guys he's guarding but you'd never know it by how well they get shots over him.  If Kentucky wants to improve on defense, it's going to have to start with him.
  • On the plus side, Andrew did draw a charge and he fights through screens pretty well.  He definitely can be a good defender, he just needs to put in more effort.  And get his hands up.
  • The guy I really like on the perimeter is James Young.  He had a rough game results-wise, but his perimeter defense is the best on the team in my opinion.