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Guess who has the top defense in the country

Answer: South Carolina, according to KenPom.

KenPom’s No. 1 team in adjusted defense efficiency just so happens to be Kentucky’s next opponent. The Cats rank second in KenPom offensive efficiency, so something’s gotta give when the two unbeaten SEC squads meet Saturday at 6 pm.


As I mentioned below, South Carolina held Florida to a season-low 53 points Wednesday night. With Kentucky leading the Power Five at a crazy 93.3 points per game, it’ll be interesting to see what the Cats do against a team that doesn’t give up 60 per game.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

24 Comments for Guess who has the top defense in the country

  1. Laker Cat 18
    11:36 am January 19, 2017 Permalink

    That 172nd offense may not help much. UK, Virginia, West Virginia, & Baylor all have a happy medium between the two. Watch out for West Virginia come tourney time. That’s a team I don’t really want to play for all the marbles.

    • ukjaybrat
      11:41 am January 19, 2017 Permalink

      “Watch out for West Virginia come tourney time”

      oh you mean that team that lost at home last night to 8-8 oklahoma? nah im not afraid of them

    • Mathlete
      11:45 am January 19, 2017 Permalink

      Flukes happen now and then, especially in conference and rivalry games. Remember that the 2012 NC team lost to Vandy in the SEC Tournament championship game, but there’s no question in anyone’s mind that 2012 UK was significantly better than 2012 Vandy

    • Laker Cat 18
      11:59 am January 19, 2017 Permalink

      Bob Huggins is 8-2 all-time versus John Calipari. Yes, even the team that lost to Oklahoma last night. We’ve had our SEC thorns in our side over the years as well, even when we’ve been loaded. WVU defense will be stifling come March. You can mark that down.

    • Rixter
      12:41 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      West Virginia’s thing is their press. That’s why they are as good as they are. If Cats play WVA,I say: 1. PLEASE press us.
      2. Have extra rims laying around, cuz Bam may tear a few down.

    • ukjaybrat
      12:42 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      2012 vandy was on a neutral court when that game didn’t matter and our players weren’t REALLY playing. hell davis was jacking up threes.

      wvu just lost AT HOME to a really bad team in the middle of the season when everyone should still care.

      BIG difference

    • Laker Cat 18
      1:37 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      Tell me you all remember 2010. Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe none mattered. I’ll take my chances on Monk, but the other guys were better across the board. WVU 73 – UK 66. We gone.

    • Mathlete
      2:07 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      There’s something even more powerful in play I had forgotten about… Matt and the guys talked about WVU on KSR the other day. The KSR Curse is totally for real.

    • Eazy
      3:15 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      Laker: remember what happened last time UK played WVU? We obliterated them 78-39 in the Sweet 16. Everyone was worried about that one, too. UK also knocked them out of the tournament in 2011. Cal is 2-1 vs Huggins as UKs coach.

    • Eazy
      3:36 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      UK is also 15-5 vs West Ginny all-time and Huggy is 1-4 vs UK in his career.

  2. Mathlete
    11:36 am January 19, 2017 Permalink

    I would happily take bets that Frank Martin is the only person who owns a sport coat in exactly that color…

    I’d say the same thing about Bruce Pearl’s UT blaze orange sport, coat but I grew up in that part of the country and already know better

  3. plumloopy
    11:57 am January 19, 2017 Permalink

    Hard to believe that UK is a respectable 15th in Adjusted D.

    • Laker Cat 18
      12:01 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      That stat was shocking to me as well.

    • Mathlete
      12:47 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      Opponents score a ton of points against us, but there’s a reason we’re ranked so highly based on what the statistics mean: Adjusted D is points per 100 possessions against a statistically perfectly average team. We give up a ton of points per game because we play a lot more possessions per game than most teams because of how fast we play (we play around 80 possessions per team, median is around 72)

    • EdC
      1:56 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      Just 2 weeks ago UK was 7th in adjusted D. The D has been pooping the bed for the last 2 weeks letting everybody shoot at or better than their average shooting percentage. Cap Cal seems like it has not done very well for our defense. We were way better in December relative to everyone else.

      Probably part of it was that we were allowed to have some game pace until we got into the SEC. Big story is our half court D needs a ton of work.

  4. BTI Sucks
    12:09 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

    They will smoke S. Carolina Saturday.

  5. Bluebloodtoo
    12:15 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

    I’m not surprised that our Defense is that low based on the data. These Cats are just not great at defense yet. They let mediocre teams score way too many points. Per NCAA stats, UK is 160th at opponent points per game with 72.2. If we didn’t have prolific scorers, we would not have a great record at this point.
    I AM surprised that one of Cal’s teams is this slow at improving their defense.

    • ukjaybrat
      12:43 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      to be fair, that stat is not adjusted. one reason teams are scoring on us more is because we are scoring more. so both teams get more possessions. so of course they will score more. adjusted defense is where it’s at because it looks more at efficiency of scoring which can be correlated better across teams/conferences/etc

    • Mathlete
      12:57 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      Also, having the 15th most efficient defense in the country is pretty good. According to KenPom’s adjusted D metric this is the 5th best Calipari UK team defensively, for what that’s worth:

      2015 82.5
      2010 85
      2012 87.1
      2011 88.6
      2017 92.1
      2014 95.3
      2016 95.5
      2013 96.3

    • EdC
      1:58 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      Yea other teams get more shots but over the last several games all have shot near their season shooting percentage or above it.

  6. Rixter
    12:44 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

    Looking at the numbers, it looks like USC is another Louisville, except their offense is only one-third as good as the Card’s high-powered ‘O’.

    • secrick
      1:21 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      The cards O is only average with the 10 15 teams.

    • taylorsvillecat
      2:41 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

      But we aren’t trying to compete with the Cards’ O-face in Minardi Hall….

  7. RealCatsFan
    2:57 pm January 19, 2017 Permalink

    Some of the decline in defensive rating for the Cats can be attributed to in-conference play. The teams are more familiar with our tendencies, and the ref’s are calling a lot more fouls, which slows down the pace.

    I watched the Florida / USC game last night, at least until I couldn’t stand it anymore. What a brick-fest. If USC shoots like that against the Cats on Saturday, they will get run out of the gym, but you can bet that they will bring their best shot against the Cats.