Dominant defensive performance

Arkansas played an almost perfect game at both ends. Samford was bad defensively last season. That perhaps means that “cautious” should be thrown in when assessing the multitude of reasons they gave us for optimism on offense last night.

However, Samford was a good offensive team last season with virtually their entire roster back plus valuable additions. Pomeroy projected Samford in the top-75 in offensive efficiency, ahead of many SEC teams in that regard. I’m truly shocked by the degree to which our guys shut them down, and it wasn’t Samford just having a cold shooting night. They had few uncontested looks when it mattered.

The defensive numbers were equivalent to a shutout in football. We held them under 40% on 2’s, under 30% on treys, and and under 40% in eFG%. The overmatched mid-major rebounded only 25% of their misses by bb-reference stats, which don’t include team rebounds. The Bulldogs also suffered a hefty 19 TOs. There isn’t much else you can accomplish on defense. Samford only converted about 0.75 points per possession. That was a notch or two below their performances at Cincy (0.86 ppp, #15 Pomeroy defensive efficiency) and at FSU (0.94 ppp, #31 PDE) last season.

The staff seems to have gotten this bunch to buy-in on D, and they have the length, athleticism, and energy to execute. Bottle that, please. Great team effort by the entire squad.

Good stuff.

Some Synergy numbers:

On offense, 1.176 ppp in the halfcourt. That is absurd. In the 94th percentile. Actually didn’t do that great comparatively in transition but they shredded the zone (1.4 ppp). Had zero of what Synergy defines as isolation possessions.

On defense, held them to 0.6 ppp in the halfcourt, 90th percentile. Dipped to 0.536 in man, really shows how good their ball pressure was at times. Good start against the PnR, 0.636, which is in the 72nd percentile a year after being in the 20th. Were fortunate Samford hit only 2-7 unguarded shots, but it wouldn’t have mattered.

Obviously just one game but a very encouraging start.