What’s wrong with UK’s defense, especially in the second half?

Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe gets beat to the basket. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

During the last four games, Kentucky has allowed opponents to average over 50 points in the second half and seemed to get to the basket at will.

Kentucky coach John Calipari has pleaded with his team to play better defense. So what weaknesses did LSU coach Johnny Jones find in UK’s defense the second half.

“I don’t think you would call it a weakness. I thought it was a strength of ours because we tried to space the floor against them tonight and they tried to lock down on our shooters, which they did a good job of especially in the first half. We only shot 37 percent in the first half because of the job that they did and didn’t give us easy looks,” Jones said.

“I thought we were better in the second half mixing it up, taking advantage of some things and getting to the rim was one of them because they took away our perimeter guys and were able to attack and get down hill. But I don’t think it was so much a weakness for them that were able to execute a little bit on the offensive end.

“We knew how certain things that they were switching. We wanted to do is just try to find some gaps in their defense and try to attack them. We were fortune enough when we did attack and they rotated right we made some pitch plays and some shots went down.”

Never mind that LSU has not been able to execute offensively against any other team like that this season.

So why did LSU shoot 62 percent in the second half?

“Believe me, I know. I watched it. I’ll tell you that with Bam (Adebayo), when he got a third foul, 94 feet from the basket, reaching for a ball he had no business (reaching for). He couldn’t have got it whether he knocked the guy over, kicked, tripped, whatever. He couldn’t have got the ball, but he fouled,” UK coach John Calipari said.

“Now he went back and didn’t want to guard because he didn’t want to get a fourth foul. If you can’t play with three fouls, then you can’t be in the game. They were shooting layups. He literally saw the guy coming and moved the other way, like, four times.

But I felt better with him in there than playing some other guys, so… Let him learn from it.
”

Calipari said way too many defensive breakdowns, even for a young team.

“We have so many breakdowns, we don’t stay connected on out-of-bounds plays. Just stay connected and chase the inbound. We’ll help you. I get hung up on the screen, the guy gets a shot in the corner.

Wait a minute, we work on that every day. Is that focus? Is that effort? Is that I’m just not very tough? I don’t know,” Calipari said.

“But we have those kind of errors.

We’re playing pick-and-roll. Why did you do it? That’s not how we’re playing it. I thought… No, you’re trying to do it the easiest possible way. You can’t.

We got Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to practice. Let’s see if we can just keep stepping up.”

 

3 comments

  1. To suggest that this team has played any defense in the second half is a distortion of the meaning of the word.

  2. This UK basketball team is either soft, or unskilled, as compared to past UK champions from what I see right now. They don’t measure up, at this point, to program standards in many ways. For one, there in no physical toughness, especially at the rim and in the paint, or pressure on the ball. Bam is supposed to be a force, but I ain’t seeing it folks. None of UK’s bigs are physical enough. Cal came out and said Bam did not defend, but he wanted to play him anyway instead of some other players, Hummm? I saw Bam turn his back on LSU players driving the ball and finishing at the rim with no effort at all to stop the ball handler. That can not happen. He also committed some uncalled for fouls. If they continue to play like this their star will fade down the stretch. There is still time, but not much.

  3. Having to go over the same things many times in practice and then the players still not getting it to the point they can’t execute it on the floor is either a sign the team is lazy or their basketball IQ is greatly lacking.
    At this point, you can’t even call this group a “good” team.

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