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Willie Cauley-Stein blocks update: Post-Louisville

Willie Cauley-Stein blocked three shots Saturday in UK’s 73-66 win over Louisville, upping his total as a sophomore to 53 blocks through 13 games. That completes Kentucky’s non-conference schedule, and heading into SEC play, he’s keeping a reasonable pace with Anthony Davis’ school blocks record through 13 games. Davis had 58 through 13, and Nerlens Noel had 46.

Closer to keep an eye on is block percentage, which tells us more than simply blocks per game. Cauley-Stein’s 13.8 block percentage—percent of 2-point attempts blocked while he’s on the floor—equals what Davis finished his lone season as a Wildcat with. Noel’s was 13.2. Davis had such an advantage in that area, though, because Kentucky’s perimeter defense was so strong that season that opponents wouldn’t necessarily get better looks launching over the top. This season, that has not been the case to date (though Kentucky’s performance in half-court defense against the Cardinals was by far its most impressive of the season, especially stymying Chris Jones in the second half and holding him to three points in the final 20 minutes). That, of course, isn’t to say that couldn’t change.

Next up for UK is Mississippi State on Jan. 8, and the Bulldogs don’t take a ton of threes. They haven’t been blocked much this season—their 6.7 team offensive block percentage is 25th-best in Division I—but they haven’t played anyone. And by anyone, I mean the following: The Bulldogs’ 9-3 record includes eight wins against sub-200 opponents according to KenPom.com’s rankings. Their one win better than that was against no. 144 South Florida. Their top shot taker is 6-3 guard Craig Sword, and he’s 3-of-11 this season from 3-point range. So Cauley-Stein will have his chance to block plenty of shots next Wednesday.

Until then, here’s the chart. Click to embiggen.

1229 blocks

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