Ranking the nation's best defenses 

June, 20, 2013
6/20/13
10:37
AM ET


Russ SmithKevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesLouisville senior guard Russ Smith is arguably the best on-ball defender in the country.
There are many ways to define an elite defensive team. Is it points per game? Is it points per 100 possessions? Is it defensive field goal percentage or adjusted field goal percentage? Is it points off of turnovers or the number of transition points allowed?

For me, it's about more than numbers. It's about getting the offense to react to you and about the ability to take away the best opposing player.

Great defensive teams control the pace of the game. They are difficult to prepare for and make it hard for the offense to play in a comfort zone. Not all defenses have the same philosophy; some deny, and others shrink the court.

Let's look at my early picks for the top five defensive teams in the country this season.