It’s no secret that Arizona’s defense is one of the top units in the country, even if it wasn’t on full display in the Wildcats’ 93-72 round of 64 victory against Texas Southern. Here’s a look at the top 5 defenses in the NCAA Tournament from our friends at numberFire.com, which includes a spotlight on freshman Stanley Johnson.
Arizona, despite being more of an uptempo team (in the 70th percentile in Pace), is one of the most defensively skilled teams in the country. They really don’t block a ton of shots or steal a lot of passes, but they do defend and rebound at a high level. Even with an elevated pace of play, the Wildcats allow their opponents to shoot just 39.2% from the field, good enough for 27th in the country.
When it comes to defensive rebounding, Sean Miller’s bunch is elite. They’re eighth in the country in total defensive rebounds and are 11th in total offensive rebounds allowed to their opponents.
Highlighted Player: Stanley Johnson
There are a few great defenders on this Arizona squad — T.J. McConnell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and even Brandon Ashley. But freshman Stanley Johnson is as good as any. He has 1.5 thefts per game and is in the top 10 in the country in both Defensive Rating (85.4, 9th) and Defensive Win Shares (2.8, 12th). He’s one of the single best defenders in the country. And he’s a freshman.