What might WSU look like on D under Kent?

A GREAT DEAL has been said, with undoubtedly more to come, about Ernie Kent's offense. But what will the Cougar defense look like under Kent? If his 13-year tenure at Oregon is any indication, there's a statistical category Cougar fans are going to want to keep an eye, one other than points allowed.

Scoring margin.

Alas, the NCAA's stats ranking summary only begins with the 2001-02 season. But in looking around the internet we were at least able to find points for, and points against, on Ernie Kent's four Oregon teams before 2001-02.

Kent's Oregon teams were never among the national leaders when it came to scoring defense. Take Kent's fifth year in Eugene for example. Oregon was a somewhat lowly 213th in scoring defense.

But they were ninth in scoring margin that year.

Put another way, Oregon averaged 85.5 points per game that year. In order to do that, in order to field the No. 3 scoring offense in the nation, there was no way they could be so prolific on offense and still rank high among the leaders in scoring defense.

But what they could do was hold the opponent to 72.5 ppg, in concert with 85.5 points of their own.

That year the Ducks won the Pac-12 and went to the Elite Eight.

Another year, in 2005-06, Kent's team decreased points allowed to 65.3, but they weren't as successful in the win-loss column and had a decidedly lesser scoring margin. They corrected it the following year.

THE SECOND BEST scoring margin the Ducks put up under Kent was in 2006-07. That season they were 111th in scoring defense. But they again found that sweet spot between offense and defense, and ranked 20th in scoring margin, at 9.6 ppg.

That year culminated in Kent's second Elite Eight appearance.

UNDER KENT, Oregon's best season in points allowed settled in at 65.3 ppg, its worst was 77.3. Most years, Kent's teams allowed about 71 ppg. If that general range repeats itself at WSU, the Cougs will probably be in the lower half of NCAA teams in the points allowed stat most years.

But history also shows the Cougs, if they follow Oregon's production under Kent, will also be in the upper half of NCAA teams in scoring margin most years.

"I've not had a team yet that hasn't been an outstanding defensive team too," said Kent the day he was hired at WSU.

When WSU led the nation in scoring defense in 2008-09 (55.4 ppg), but were 110th in scoring margin that season, at 3.8.

Cougfan Top Stories