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Andy mentioned USC's defense held its opponent to 40% or below for 4th straight game

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  • Andy mentioned USC's defense held its opponent to 40% or below for 4th straight game

    In the post-game press conference, Andy mentioned that he felt the defense was improving and this was the 4th straight game that USC had held its opponent to 40% or under from the field:

    I'm not sure this stat is actually correct, because I believe ASU shot 42.9% from the field. Here's a look at FG% allowed those last four games:

    Arizona: 28/70 40.0%
    ASU: 30/70 42.9%
    UCLA: 20/56 35.7%
    Oregon: 24/65 36.9%

    There are a couple reasons I don't think this stat demonstrates the USC defense is getting better. First, while overall FG% allowed is down, 3-pt FG% allowed is still high. As a result, the effective field goal percentage (eFG%) allowed is still not great:

    Arizona: 47.1%
    ASU: 48.6%
    UCLA: 42.0%
    Oregon: 46.2%

    But the bigger issue, and Andy discusses this, is the defensive rebounding. In those four games, USC's defense gave up 39.9% of rebounds (67 out of 168) to offensive rebounds for its opponents. It added up to 17 extra possessions for its opponents in those four games.

    The final piece is the free throw attempts. In each of those four games, USC's opponents shot more free throws (90 in total) than USC did (47 in total). Indeed, in three of the four games, SC's opponents made more free throws than USC attempted. In total, it accounted for a 34-point discrepancy over four games.

    Putting these factors together over these four games --

    3-pointers allowed: 37/100 (37%)
    offensive rebounds allowed: 67/168 (39.9%)
    free throw attempts allows: 90 (22.5/game)

    -- I'm not a buyer on USC's defense having improved.

    I think what has happened is that we have over-compensated on stopping offense inside the arc -- allowing open 3s, offensive rebounds, and easy and bad fouls.