How the defense has improved...

relative to last year.

The D has obviously been much improved this season despite losing our two best defenders from last season. We’re currently top-40 in Pomeroy defensive efficiency, and that may be a high for a CMA team at Arkansas.

Interestingly our defensive FG percentages are almost identical to last season so far, actually slightly worse. That’s okay since we were #58 in the nation last season in that area. It wasn’t a problem. However, this team has made significant strides in shoring up weaknesses elsewhere. The defensive rebounding has improved significantly. We’re close to top 100 instead of in our customary position near the bottom of the nation in that regard. Even more surprising is that improvement coincides with forcing more TOs than last season. Generally rebounding position has to be sacrificed to create pressure on the ball. The uptick in length and athleticism has allowed us to avoid a tradeoff and get better in both categories. Furthermore, we’re forcing more TOs but fouling much less often, two other areas that are difficult to improve simultaneously. The opposition is not able to remain in contact by getting to the line this season.

Losing Kingsley has not cost us much in forcing misses, and we have managed to improve significantly in most other major categories. We don’t excel in any one area, but we aren’t deficient anywhere either. The D is solid to good in all respects. That adds up to a salty defensive team. It also implies that the defense may be flexible enough to adapt to a wide variety of strengths and weaknesses of individual opponents. For instance, we can dial up the pressure on poor ballhandling teams or seal off the glass if putbacks are a significant part of the opponent’s offense.

Another thing I saw on kenpom was we’ve faced the strength of the opposing offenses we have played so far is ranked 18th. Makes me think our defense could look even better.

Give the team another 4 to 5 games and they will improve. They rebound better because of height. Once Gafford is able to stay on the floor and avoid foul trouble the defense will greatly improve.
This team can compete with any opponent and will cause havoc in comference play.
It would be great to beat Kentucky!

Yep it’s imperative Gafford stays in games during the conference stretch. Just his presence in the middle can be disruptive to opponents offense & he gives us much higher percentage for offensive rebounding & put backs.
The length & speed of this team is what MA depends on for his style. They really haven’t fully meshed yet, so it’s going to get more n more exciting.

Good stuff.

One thing for sure the hogs look good and will be fun to watch. They are under the radar nationally but that’s going to change.