Panthers look to improve defense against Trinity

For the first time in the 2015-16 season, the Milwaukee Panthers will get to experience the comforts of Panther Arena in Friday night’s home opener against the Trinity Trojans. This game should not be remotely challenging for the Panthers, but it will provide an opportunity for the Panthers to make improvement on the defensive end of the floor.
Why do the Panthers need to focus on defensive improvement? For the purpose of winning Friday night? No, the Panthers can likely take care of business Friday night regardless of how well they play defense in the home opener. They will be able to use their talent differential to outscore the Trojans if they need to do so in order to win the game. The Panthers need to use Friday night as an opportunity for defensive improvement not for Friday but for games like Murray State, Wisconsin, Minnesota and ultimately Horizon League games down the line.
On Tuesday night in South Bend against the Fighting Irish, the Panthers offense was good enough for them to pull the upset. They scored a season high 78 points. They posted four starters in double figures. They only had 12 turnovers. They hit 14 three-pointers or two of every three pointer attempted. They hit half of their field goal attempts and had assists on 21 of their 27 made field goals. All of these are characteristics of healthy and well balanced offenses.
The reason the Panthers did not join a national list of early season upsets rests squarely on their defense. The Panthers lost to Notre Dame by eight points. The Panthers defense allowed eight fast break point to the Irish. While eight is not an excessive number by any means, it does provide the Panthers’ losing margin.
Friday night will provide the Panthers an opportunity to work on their transition defense. The principles of good transition defense are relevant and need to be worked on throughout the season. Fast break points are cheap and easy points for the opposition and in order to beat good teams you must avoid allowing them.
Another defensive aspect the Panthers can take advantage of Friday night to work on is half-court defense. The Panthers half-court defense had two issues on Tuesday night. First, the Irish shot 57% on field goal attempts. It is almost impossible to win games when you allow teams to shoot that kind of percentage. Friday night provides the Panthers a good opportunity to work through their defensive rotations in a low pressure environment.
Lastly the Panthers only forced five turnovers against the Fighting Irish. It is hard to win games with that few turnovers being forced. Friday night provides the Panthers an opportunity to improve their defense in fast break points, opponent field goal percentage and turnovers forced. The Panthers should defeat Trinity comfortably but how they defeat them will be a more apt question than if they defeat them.
Justin Jordan to transfer
PantherU learned Thursday night that sophomore guard Justin Jordan will be transferring out of the program, effective immediately. He has not chosen a school to leave for yet, and will finish the semester at Milwaukee before making the move.
Jordan was averaging 15.8 minutes, two points and 1.3 rebounds per game.
We wish him the best in all his future endeavors. A story breaking down the effects on the program will be out Friday.

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