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UK Basketball is forcing opponents to shoot threes at record pace

Enter the paint at your own peril against these Cats.

NCAA Basketball: East Tennessee State at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve consistently watched Kentucky Basketball this season, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of three are being taken against the Cats.

With all of the size and athleticism these young Cats have in the paint, it’s not much of a surprise that opponents are being forced out past the three-point line to try and find offense.

What’s surprising is, at the current pace, UK will have the record broken for most threes attempted against them in one season. Through five games, UK opponents are averaging 26.6 3-point attempts per game. The school record for most three-point attempts by opponents is 22.5 per game in 2006-07, per UK Athletics.

The current pace would have that record broken by over five threes attempted per game. We probably should expect that to continue once the schedule gets tougher and opponents have more size and athleticism to find offense in the paint.

Even No. 5 Kansas was lacking players who could make an impact in the paint outside of Udoka Azubuike. That led to the Jayhawks attempting 28 threes, eight of which they made in a four-point win.

Troy was not so lucky on Monday night, as the Cats’ defense stiffened to limit the Trojans Troy to just 4-of-27 shooting from deep, a putrid 14.8 percent in an eight-point win for the Cats.

ETSU was a little better at 8-of-31 shooting from deep. Utah Valley struggled with a 5-of-18 mark. Vermont had the most success, hitting 10-of-29 from deep.

Prior to this game, Kentucky ranked in the top 25 nationally in blocks per game. That number dipped to 6.4 per game after getting just two against Troy, but that as largely due to the Trojans taking 27 of their 64 field-goal attempts from deep.

As long as the Cats can keep defending the paint and keep opponents from lighting it up from deep, their defense should continue to carry them to wins.