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Jai Lucas on how Ole Miss’ zone defense differs from Florida’s

Saturday’s loss to Florida showed us that this Kentucky team struggles against the zone, and guess what, Ole Miss plays a lot of zone. Today, assistant coach Jai Lucas discussed the differences between the zone the Gators used to stymie the Cats and the one Kermit Davis’ squad will use tomorrow night.

“Credit to Mike White and his staff. They did a good job and they did something they haven’t really done all year. They played a completely different zone than what they had put on film. So they did a really good job of making it a non-traditional 3-2. It was more of a matchup, man-to-man 3-2. He did a good job of that and it made us stagnant.”

“Ole Miss, their 1-3-1 is more aggressive and they’re out pressuring you a little more and it transitions back to a 2-3 or a man, so it’s a completely different type of concept. I think with us having played against Florida and the zone, it’s done something that will help us the rest of the year, especially when you get in a tournament situation and it’s a one game [deal], you’ve got to be able to change things at the drop of a hat. We’re kind of thankful that Florida did kind of throw that curveball at us so we can get us ready.”

On the opposite side of the ball, Kentucky will have to find an answer for Devontae Shuler, Ole Miss’ senior guard who averages 16 points and 3.3 assists per game. Shuler is one of two players in the SEC that ranks in the top ten in scoring, assists, and steals, the other being Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. In the Rebels’ loss to the Commodores on Saturday, he scored 25 points on 10-20 from the floor, so he’s not afraid to shoot.

“He’s a big key to their team,” Lucas said. “When he plays well, they play well and when he doesn’t, they kind of struggle. You have to, from the beginning, do your job, especially in pick-and-roll coverage against him. How you’re going to guard him and guys off the ball kind of trying to crowd the paint so he can’t get downhill. You kind of just want him to take contested shots. You really want him inefficient. I think he had 20 points on 20 shots last game so you kind of want him to have to do something like that.”

So, figure out Ole Miss’ zone and stop Shuler. Easy enough.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

8 Comments for Jai Lucas on how Ole Miss’ zone defense differs from Florida’s



  1. secrick
    2:06 pm March 1, 2021 Permalink

    How about putting in a three point shooter against a zone or just keep the guy in that can’t shot and gets 1 point and lose again.



    • 4everUKBlue
      2:28 pm March 1, 2021 Permalink

      That would be a good idea if we had one who was smart enough not to shove a player in front of the ref seconds after entering the game.



    • UKFanSC
      2:58 pm March 1, 2021 Permalink

      Agreed. I read the whole Allen thing as “I’m transferring next year so I don’t care anymore”. Calipari isn’t playing him, nor should he. His defense is abhorrent, and it turns out if you guard him he can’t shoot !! Profiles as a 2022 6th man for Western Kentucky. I could be wrong, but his demeanor and body language have changed since the first of the year. And he is no longer in the rotation. Frankly Askew and Brooks should be sitting right next to him after the Florida game.



    • 4everUKBlue
      5:02 pm March 1, 2021 Permalink

      You totally nailed that one SC…. he might be good in a game of H-O-R-S-E…



  2. wildcatdon
    2:13 pm March 1, 2021 Permalink

    Cal figuring out how to play against a zone? No chance. Too lazy and just doesn’t know how. Hopefully Lucas can show the team how to be somewhat effective.



    • BBNBRIAN
      3:46 pm March 1, 2021 Permalink

      All opposing teams take note… Implementing a new zone defense for your team in practice the week you play UK = Win.



  3. Trinity45
    2:21 pm March 1, 2021 Permalink

    Problem is Cal runs that same stupid offense against a zone that he runs against man, How many times will we see that stupid weave out front against Ole Miss.



  4. Dustin Rumbaugh
    2:22 pm March 1, 2021 Permalink

    Having gotten into this site when it was Jai and Patrick Patterson’s recruitment as the hot topic…its so weird to now see Jai giving press conferences as a UK assistant. If you would’ve bet me back then that we’d miss on Jai, get Pat and he would be a part of one of the worst UK teams and then part of on of the best UK teams of all time, but later on Jai would be giving pressers as our assistant….I’d have put my house down on it and felt confident that you were insane.