ESPN Article - Top 10 Defenses | The Boneyard

ESPN Article - Top 10 Defenses

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http://insider.espn.go.com/mens-col...ist-nation-top-10-defenses-college-basketball
Coming at # 5(below for those who don't have Insider)
1. Arizona Wildcats

I'd feel even more confident with this pick if Aaron Gordon were still in Tucson. Nevertheless, with a healthy Brandon Ashley on hand to go along with Kaleb Tarczewski, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, T.J. McConnell and highly acclaimed freshman Stanley Johnson, I trust Sean Miller will have what he requires to put together another outstanding defense.

Keep in mind the Wildcat D can be "worse" than it was in 2013-14 and still be excellent. Last season, Arizona held Pac-12 opponents to just 0.91 points per possession. No other defense in the league allowed less than one point per trip. Miller and the Cats took their defense to a different level, and even without Gordon that D projects to be very good again in 2014-15.




2. Virginia Cavaliers

After five seasons in Charlottesville, Tony Bennett has instilled his values so thoroughly that Virginia fans now applaud good defensive rotations. And there was a good deal of that applause being generated last season, because the defense we saw from this group was about as good as you can get. (Favorite stat: Virginia's in-conference defense even on "effective" or turnover-less possessions was significantly better than Boston College's actual defense.) This season the Hoos have lost their best defender from a year ago (Akil Mitchell), so a correction toward normalcy is to be expected. Still, this is Bennett we're talking about, and he returns seven of his top nine players. I expect said correction will be small.




3. Louisville Cardinals

Replacing Russ Smith and his consistently high steal rate will be a challenge, but, speaking of consistency, Rick Pitino has put statistically outstanding defenses on the floor in each of the past four seasons. I expect that streak to continue, thanks to the coach's deft use of the press, a few timely blocks from Mangok Mathiang and Chris Jones' own consistently high steal rate.




4. San Diego State Aztecs

SDSU faces a huge question mark at the point guard position in the wake of Xavier Thames' departure. Then again, Steve Fisher returns six veterans from last season's eight-man rotation and adds Arizona transfer Angelo Chol and three top-100 freshmen. VCU gets all the publicity for takeaways but SDSU creates a similar degree of statistical havoc, albeit at a less frenzied pace.




5. Connecticut Huskies

I for one won't be shocked if Amida Brimah takes a big step forward this season, and if he does it will be very bad news for opposing offenses. His astronomical foul rate (seven per 40 minutes) is all that stands between the 7-foot sophomore and the proverbial breakout. And even with Brimah averaging just 16 minutes a night in conference play, UConn still held American Athletic opponents to 42 percent shooting inside the arc. If Kevin Ollie's big man can stay on the floor, this will be a very tough defense.




6. Virginia Commonwealth Rams

VCU is widely admired for forcing turnovers, and, to be sure, the Rams sure do force turnovers: Atlantic 10 opponents gave the ball away on 24 percent of their possessions in 2013-14. That number should be high again this season, courtesy of Briante Weber and his Division I-best steal percentage. (Weber will have to serve a one-game suspension before he returns to action.) But if all Shaka Smart's team did was force turnovers this defense would be markedly less effective. VCU records those takeaways without fouling at a high rate and without giving up too many easy looks. Yes, the Rams' A-10 opponents in 2014-15 will surely do better than last season's 27 percent 3-point shooting, but this will still be a very good defense.




7. Kansas Jayhawks

Relatively speaking, Bill Self had a down year as far as his defense was concerned in 2013-14. True, KU was tied for first on that side of the ball with Oklahoma State in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks, however, are accustomed to unchallenged preeminence on D, and a return to form this season won't surprise me. Who knows, if he can crack the rotation maybe Arkansas transfer Hunter Mickelson can be the next Jeff Withey, albeit a less awesome version thereof. As a freshman with the Razorbacks in 2011-12, Mickelson posted one of the best block percentages in D-I.




8. Ohio State Buckeyes

Shannon Scott might be the best defensive guard in the country, and Thad Matta has built a body of work on defense that someday soon will land him up there on the same bleachers with Jim Boeheim and Self. I don't know if the Buckeyes will score points this season, but I do expect that they will be able to prevent them.




9. Syracuse Orange

Trevor Cooney will continue to record way more steals than people seem to realize, Michael Gbinije will see minutes (possibly off the bench) as a 6-7 pest on the top line of the 2-3 zone, Rakeem Christmas will block shots and opponents will once again be confronted with a defensive scheme that makes them deeply uncomfortable.




10. UC Irvine Anteaters

Be afraid, Big West: Mamadou Ndiaye is back for his sophomore season. Years of highly advanced studies in basketball have taught me there might be some correlation between: (a) a guy being 7-6; and (b) opponents shooting 39 percent on their 2s. Ndiaye and the Anteaters will dominate on D once again in 2014-15.
 
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How the hell does a team get in the Top 10 after losing in the first round of the NCAA tourney because of their defense? That's a joke........Trevor Cooney couldn't guard a chair if he had to!
 
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How the hell does a team get in the Top 10 after losing in the first round of the NCAA tourney because of their defense? That's a joke...Trevor Cooney couldn't guard a chair if he had to!

What? Dayton only shot 40% on 2's in that game. That's great, not good. UConn's defense was also great in the tourny last year, but we didn't do that to a single team. Dayton also turned the ball over 14 times in a 58 possession game, which is good D. Dayton did make almost half their 3's... but that happens sometimes in a small sample size single game tourny.
 
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What? Dayton only shot 40% on 2's in that game. That's great, not good. UConn's defense was also great in the tourny last year, but we didn't do that to a single team. Dayton also turned the ball over 14 times in a 58 possession game, which is good D. Dayton did make almost half their 3's... but that happens sometimes in a small sample size single game tourny.[/QUOT

They couldn't play man to man when they needed to though. Let's not pretend that losing in the first round again to a lower ranked team is acceptable. Especially when they couldn't get a stop when they need to and sat back in that 2-3. You can have them in your top 10 not me.
 

Waquoit

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Not bad, one spot ahead of Shaka Smart.
 
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How the hell does a team get in the Top 10 after losing in the first round of the NCAA tourney because of their defense? That's a joke...Trevor Cooney couldn't guard a chair if he had to!
You think Syracuse's problem last year was defense.........................
 

Waquoit

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What? Dayton only shot 40% on 2's in that game. That's great, not good. UConn's defense was also great in the tourny last year, but we didn't do that to a single team.

Not so fast, grasshopper!
 
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You think Syracuse's problem last year was defense.....

No but it's not Top 10 to me? No one said it's not somewhat successful but it's also their undoing every year they leave early. They run into a team not half as good who makes some shots and they do not get out of that zone - is that top 10? I mean I'm ok with those who agree I just don't!
 

Silk31

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They only focused on Brimah but no mention of how disruptive Boat is when he bought into playing in your face defense on every possession. Our D will be scrappy on the perimeter again and we are long inside as usual, being that Brimah will get more run this year that can only stand to improve our overall defense
 
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No but it's not Top 10 to me? No one said it's not somewhat successful but it's also their undoing every year they leave early. They run into a team not half as good who makes some shots and they do not get out of that zone - is that top 10? I mean I'm ok with those who agree I just don't!
Dayton scored 55 points last year and won, so I don't think defense is Syracuse's undoing every year they leave early. Their defense has been pretty great the last few years, they just can't throw the ball in the ocean.
 
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Dayton scored 55 points last year and won, so I don't think defense is Syracuse's undoing every year they leave early. Their defense has been pretty great the last few years, they just can't throw the ball in the ocean.

Ok forget it they should be Top 5.

But the 55 points wouldn't have happened had they been able to play a man vs Dayton and Vermont and so many others in the past. :rolleyes:
 
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Boat deserves mention, but brimah is a defensive anchor. he will have to deal with the big boys. when he was on the floor last year our defense was stifling.
 

intlzncster

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I'm a little surprised at being Top 5 to start out. I know we have the potential, but right now, we've got a an unknown at PF, and a potential hole at SG if Hamilton doesn't play much D. I've no idea how Purvis' D at the 2 spot is.

All in all, I think we'll be right there at the end of the year.
 
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Ok forget it they should be Top 5.

But the 55 points wouldn't have happened had they been able to play a man vs Dayton and Vermont and so many others in the past. :rolleyes:
I don't even know what this means. You've decided that if Syracuse hypothetically played man defense last year against Dayton they would have scored less than 55 points? Is that right?

Maybe you just don't watch any games outside of UCONN, because Syracuse's defense has been pretty incredible the last couple of years. It's basically they only reason they've been successful, because their offense has been a train wreck.
 
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I don't even know what this means. You've decided that if Syracuse hypothetically played man defense last year against Dayton they would have scored less than 55 points? Is that right?

Maybe you just don't watch any games outside of UCONN, because Syracuse's defense has been pretty incredible the last couple of years. It's basically they only reason they've been successful, because their offense has been a train wreck.

I watch games every night so that theory is out the window. But nice try.

Anyway if you watched that game (maybe you only watch Syracuse and UConn I don't know? :rolleyes:) if the Cuse had the ability to go to man down the stretch they may have been able to stop them is all I am saying. But you are probably right, they play amazing defense. Sorry I had a different opinion than you.
 
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Looking at last years schedule and the points they gave up would seem to tell a story of a good defensive team for sure. Still not Top 10 to me seeing they only play one defense but certainly better than I gave them credit for.
 
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Syracuse's problems have been offensive recently. The zone has actually been pretty damn good but it's always going to be exposed by teams with multi-positional guys who know how to move the ball.
 
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I'm a little surprised at being Top 5 to start out. I know we have the potential, but right now, we've got a an unknown at PF, and a potential hole at SG if Hamilton doesn't play much D. I've no idea how Purvis' D at the 2 spot is.

All in all, I think we'll be right there at the end of the year.
You can also argue we have the best defensive point guard and center in the country, that's pretty good.
 
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I watch games every night so that theory is out the window. But nice try.

Anyway if you watched that game (maybe you only watch Syracuse and UConn I don't know? :rolleyes:) if the Cuse had the ability to go to man down the stretch they may have been able to stop them is all I am saying. But you are probably right, they play amazing defense. Sorry I had a different opinion than you.

They don't have a problem with defense, they just really struggle on offense in the years they've had trouble in the tournament.
 

pj

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What? Dayton only shot 40% on 2's in that game. That's great, not good. UConn's defense was also great in the tourny last year, but we didn't do that to a single team. Dayton also turned the ball over 14 times in a 58 possession game, which is good D. Dayton did make almost half their 3's... but that happens sometimes in a small sample size single game tourny.

When you're conceding 3 pointers, 40% on 2s is not that good.
 

intlzncster

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You can also argue we have the best defensive point guard and center in the country, that's pretty good.

Absolutely, but if you have holes at other positions (and I don't know if we do), it's still going to be a problem. Team D. Obviously, I think we'll be good.

In any event, those are the two spots you want to have your best defenders at. Harass the ball and then have the cleaner to fix everyone else's messes.
 
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pj

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Dayton scored 55 points last year and won, so I don't think defense is Syracuse's undoing every year they leave early. Their defense has been pretty great the last few years, they just can't throw the ball in the ocean.

55 points in 58 positions is a pretty typical point per possession rate. Kentucky had 54 points on 59 possessions in the title game. UConn had 60 points on 60 possessions.
 
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