Point guard a concern, but defense a real UK worry

(H-L photo/Mark Cornelison)

Yes, point guard is a problem for Kentucky, but don’t forget defense. Right now, the numbers say defense is a definite concern.

Last season, the national championship season, Kentucky defense allowed the opponent to average one or more points per possession just 10 times in 40 games. Five of those came in the 31 regular season games, five in the nine post-season games.

This year, through six games, UK opponents have averaged more than a point per possession in five games already. Maryland averaged 1.015, Duke 1.164, Lafayette 0.667, Morehead State 1.020, LIU-Brooklyn 1.015 and Notre Dame 1.129.

And Kentucky is 31-0 over the last two years when it holds an opponent under 1.0.

Just four teams averaged more than 1.1 points per possession last season. North Carolina averaged 1.114 at Rupp Arena. Vanderbilt averaged 1.140 at Rupp. Florida averaged 1.146 on the Cats in the SEC Tournament. Indiana averaged 1.232 in that NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game in which Kentucky won.

This year, two of UK’s six opponents have already averaged more than 1.1 points per possession. Duke averaged 1.164 in that game in Atlanta. Notre Dame averaged 1.129 points last night.

It was also a slowly-played game last night. The numbers gave Notre Dame 56.7 possessions, the fewest since LSU had 56.2 possessions.

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