Samford gives UK defense a new test



These games are meant to help UK improve.

Some way. Any way.

cheap price cialis

Samford gave UK’s defense — up to this point the clear strength of the team, a unit that head coach John Calipari said is defending at an efficiency so beyond its years it’s “not natural” — a new look and a test.

See, coming into this game, Samford was supposed to provide a long-range threat. UK’s defense had struggled defending the 3; Samford was second in the nation in 3-pointers made. Now, this was more because the Bulldogs were a high-volume group. They were shooting a pedestrian 34.6 percent, but had the highest ratio of 3-point attempts to total field goal attempts in the nation and was getting 50 percent of all points from 3-pointers.

If that was the test, UK aced it. Samford shot 3 of 16 from behind the arc.

And yet Samford made up for it from inside, shooting 17-for-30 on 2-pointers, or 56.6 percent. UK came into the game the best in the nation at defending 2-pointers, allowing opponents to hit 33.9 percent.

The Bulldogs did it primarily through set plays, especially backdoor cuts.

“We stopped playing,” Calipari said. “They’re a team that’s going to pass it four or five times, and then back cut you, back screen you, and a group of freshmen stopped playing.”

All told, the Bulldogs shot 43.5 percent, the highest percentage allowed by UK all year. Better than Kansas, better than North Carolina, better than Indiana.

So in a circular way, Samford did provide UK exactly what it needed — a Princeton-style offense that UK could see in the future. For example, UK played Princeton itself in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

“I think now if we had to play a team in the NCAA Tournament that plays this way, I think the game preparation, they’ll understand why we’re preparing the way we are,” Calipari said. “I’m not sure they understood when we did it today.”

Ultimately, Calipari wants to be able to handle any offense in the half court.

“We want to be a team that can press you,” Calipari said, “but when we get in that half court, we lock you down.”

or email him at [email protected]