The Southern Jaguars enter this evening’s game with a 3-5 record after Saturday’s loss at Akron. Former Kentucky great Sean Woods, now Southern’s head coach, will return to Rupp Arena with a group stocked full of transfers. His team will play fast and really get after you defensively, but things are not going well on the offensive end.
The Jaguars are currently ranked 326th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per KenPom. As we will touch on later, this team settles for a lot of very tough jump shots. Southern will be Kentucky’s fifth opponent in the last seven matchups to be ranked outside of KenPom’s top 300. However, with a trip to Notre Dame on Saturday, this is an important tune up for a hopefully fully healthy roster.
This scouting report will be a little bit different than some that we have put out this season. Each year, there are some teams where the personnel scout is simply much more important than watching film and knowing their actions. The Southern Jaguars are the first such team on Kentucky’s schedule. If the Wildcats can simply “KYP” (know your personnel) they should find a lot of success tonight.
Southern Jaguars Personnel
#3 P.J. Byrd: 6’1″ 175 lbs, Junior Guard
8.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.4 apg
Point Guard. Small, quick ball handler that will push the pace in transition. Very good shooter. No 3’s!!! Better from 3 than he is from 2. Get over the ballscreens and handoffs. Chase him off of downscreens and flares. Switch if there is space to take away the 3’s. Tighten up as the ball is driven towards you. Will drive it right when you take away the 3’s. Make him finish over you in the paint. Pressure him as much as you can without getting smoked to his right. Do not over help as he drives it. The deeper he takes it the more he is driving to pass. Don’t help too much off of him and then closeout aggressively. Aggressive on-ball defender. No 3’s!
#5 Jayden Saddler: 6’1″ 195 lbs, Senior Guard
10.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.0 apg
Non-shooter. Closeout short! He is not looking to shoot from 3-point range. Closeout short so he can not attack off of the dribble. NO RIGHT HAND DRIVES!!! Keep him in front of you by closing out short. Help off of him when he doesn’t have it. Go under the ballscreens and handoffs to stay between him and the basket. Uses the left to right crossover a lot. Shoots the pull-up jump shot off of the left to right cross. Give it a hard contest. Keep him out of the paint and give him space off of the bounce. No layups! No right hand drives!
#0 Terrell Williams: 6’6″ 200 lbs, Redshirt Sophomore Forward
8.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.9 apg
Willing shooter. 6/20 from deep this season. Better as a driver than a shooter. Just be there to contest the obvious catch and shoot. Tighten up as the ball is driven towards you. Still closing out a step or two short so he can’t attack your closeout. Wants to drive it right. No right hand drives!!! Throw a hand up to contest if he shoots it. We will adjust if he makes a couple. Do not let him attack your closeout. Bounce back to guard the right hand drive. Switch if he ballscreens. Wants to finish everything inside with his right hand. Make him score over you. No layups! No right hand drives!
#35 Tyrone Lyons: 6’7″ 190 lbs, Redshirt Junior Forward
14.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.5 apg
Lefty. Physical driver from the perimeter. Really wants to drive it left. NO LEFT HAND DRIVES!!! Looking to attack your closeout and drive it left. Good shooter. 11/19 from 3. Need to closeout to takeaway the initial catch-and-shoot and then bounce back. Once he dribbles it you can give him space to guard the drive. Just will shoot the open catch-and-shoot ones. Always coming back to his left to finish. Switch if he ballscreens. Left hand, right shoulder inside. Make him finish over you. No left hand drives! You can bring some help when he drives it. Be aggressive and come take it off of him. More likely to turn it over than he is to pass it out.
#12 Damien Sears: 6’7″ 245, Redshirt Senior Forward
5.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 0.4 apg
Physical forward. Looking to post up and get it on the block. Right hand, left shoulder in the post. Need to be physical on his left shoulder and make him finish it back into you with his right hand. Make him score over you. Will try to quick spin to either shoulder. Don’t let him get around you. If he faces you up he will drive it right. Finishes everything with his right hand. Stay between him and the basket. No left shoulder baskets. Excellent offensive rebounder. Box out!!!
#22 Brion Whitley: 6’4″ 200 lbs, Redshirt Junior Guard
13.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.3 apg
SHOOTER!!! NO 3’s!!! 52 of 80 shots have been 3’s. Have to be tight to him at all times to take away his attempts. Chase him off of downscreens and flares. Get over ballscreens and handoffs. Tighten up as the ball is driven towards. you. Absolutely no help off of him. If he isn’t dribbling you aren’t close enough. Over 40% from 3. Take him away. No 3’s! Really pressure him on the perimeter.
#2 J’Quan Ewing: 6’9″ 195 lbs, Redshirt Freshman Forward
5.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.0 apg
Talented backup forward. Right hand, left shoulder in the post. Be physical with him and get him off of the block. His percentages will go down the further off the block you make him catch it. Willing to face up and shoot the jumper. Need to get a hand up to contest it. Be physical with him and make him score over you. Make him score it back into you with his right hand.
#4 Isaiah Rollins: 6’3″ 185 lbs, Senior Guard
5.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.6 apg
Solid backup guard. Need to play him straight up. Good, willing shooter. Be there on the catch to give a hard contest to the obvious catch and shoot. Once you closeout you need to bounce back to guard against the right hand drive. No right hand drives! Tighten up to him as the ball is driven towards you. Get over the ballscreens and handoffs. Chase off of downscreens and flares. Stay between him and the basket. No right hand drives! No layups!
#30 Brendon Brooks: 5’10” 165 lbs, Redshirt Senior Guard
2.1 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.1 apg
Backup point guard. Will handle the ball when he is in there. Shooter! No 3’s! Over half of his shots have been 3’s. Get up and pressure him to make him uncomfortable. Get over the ballscreens and handoffs. Be tight to him when he doesn’t have it. No help off of him. Chase off of downscreens and flares. Just make him put it on the floor and drive it. Pressure him! No 3’s!
Southern Jaguars Offense
As noted earlier, the Jaguars offense has not been pretty this season. They rank 326th in adjusted efficiency per KenPom and are just 42.2% from two-point range. That is in large part due to the amount of long, contested jump shots that they take. This is why tonight’s game is all about “KYP.” If the Wildcats know the personnel and execute in their individual assignments they should force Southern into taking a lot of those contested long two-point shots.
There isn’t a whole lot to what Coach Woods’ group does on the offensive end. That is another reason why the personnel scout is more important than breaking down hours of film tonight. Southern is a 4-around-1 Motion team that will rely heavily on the dribble-drive from the perimeter. There is not much off-ball screening, it is more pass and cut action with the post looking for opportunities to duck in. We will take a look at a few possessions and a couple set plays, but focus on knowing the personnel.
Jaguars Motion Drive-and-Kick
This is really what Southern is looking to do offensively. Their 5-man will venture out to the perimeter to ballscreen as you see here, but primarily they are a drive-and-kick team. There was no need to leave #0 in the corner this aggressively to stop #3 driving it going to his left. Just stay on his hip and make him try to finish that. Tighten up to #0 on the perimeter as the ball is driven towards you.
1-4 High Iverson Entry
If Coach Woods make an offensive call, this is generally what the Jaguars are going to. They like this 1-4 High Iverson action as an entry into their motion. Anytime they run the Iverson cut we need to try and slide underneath so they can’t curl to the basket for a layup (see next clip). This is where KYP, know your personnel, comes in. If it is someone like #3 Byrd or #22 Whitley then we need to chase over the top and just give some help off the forward towards the rim. However, on anyone else we can run underneath and just meet at the wing. Switch when #35 ballscreens and make him bounce it on the perimeter. He won’t shoot the 3 after he bounces it.
1-4 High Iverson Curl
This is the type of curl we talked about in the previous clip. Give help off of #0 on the elbow towards the basket if we have to chase the Iverson cut over the top. Or, in this situation when it is forward-on-forward, we could switch the curl. Either way, don’t give up this layup at the rim.
Cross Screen to Double
Here is one of the few set plays that the Jaguars will call. It is a screen-the-screen play where they cross screen down low and then run the screener off of a double looking for a 3. When they don’t have anything they will turn into the staggered downhill ballscreen which we need to switch. At that point they are into motion. #12 is posting up hard, but Akron does a great job of being physical on his left shoulder to make him try to finish further from the basket.
Southern Jaguars Defense
We are going to face some pressure this evening on the Rupp Arena floor. Southern will likely show a man-to-man press at times and they will run-and-jump out of it. Expect to face a trap in the backcourt anytime they pick up full court. The Jaguars are 32nd in the country with a 23.6% turnover rate defensively.
We need to be strong with the ball and get ready to take contact. Southern fouls a lot as part of their aggressive style of play. A big reason for their tempo ranking so high nationally is because their defensive possessions are quick thanks to the high-risk, high-reward nature of their game plan. If we can take care of the ball there will be easy baskets to be had.
Keys to the Game
- KYP. Know Your Personnel. No 3’s for #22 Whitley and #3 Byrd. No left hand drives for #22 Lyons or right hand drives for #5 Saddler.
- Take care of the ball. Southern forces turnovers and creates steals. Limit our turnovers to 12 or fewer and it will lead to easy baskets.
- Dominate the glass. This is always a key for us because it is such a strength. Need 12 or more offensive rebounds and limit them to single-digit second chances.
- Play at full strength. This could be our first game at full strength since the Duke game. It is important for everyone to get some reps together before Saturday’s game at Notre Dame.