BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2010-11 Season Analytical Writings
Last Friday night, the 2010-11 version of Cal's Cats passed their first test in the friendly confines of Rupp Arena, beating a solid, experienced PORTLAND team by 23 points, 88-65. The initial performance earned them a grade of “C” for their offensive effort and a “D-“at the defensive end of the floor. The reason:
Please note that a grade of “C” in this system of grading means that the team performed “as anticipated” rather than “average” and “as anticipated” is a good outcome because the anticipated performance levels are based on average statistical performance measures. Grades better than “C” mean A Team must perform at elevated levels to earn grades better than “C.” Similarly, when teams perform at depressed levels, they will receive grades below “C.” As the average performance measures improve over time, the anticipated levels of performance increase, and vice versa. Therefore, the grading scale is not static.
In the first game, Kentucky had some bright spots, but the overall performance also identified areas of concern. The most significant observations from the PORTLAND game include:
Components of the game that contribute to this weak defensive showing include:
Overall, a 23 point win over PORTLAND is sufficient to keep my outlook for 2010-11 high for this team. As we saw last year, Coach Calipari places his early coaching emphasis upon teaching his offense, and defensive teaching [and efficiency] lags. The PORTLAND performance is completely consistent with this coaching approach, and we all know from Coach Calipari's record that he not only knows how to coach great defense, his teams in the recent past have performed at the best levels at the defensive end of the court. Furthermore, Coach Calipari has said that he wants [read expects] this team to be the best defensive unit in the country this year.
This Friday night, the Cats will stop in Portland, Oregon on their way to Hawaii for the Maui Classic. This stopover serves a dual purpose. First, the Portland stop breaks up the long western journey and will reduce the impact of jet lag once the Cats reach Hawaii. Second, the Portland stop is a tailor made game to display Portland, Oregon's own Terrence Jones and to bolster UK's west coast recruiting futures. The teams will meet at the Rose Garden, a “neutral” venue, but essentially, this game will be a high profile home game for Portland.
Last year, Portland finished 21-11 with a Pomeroy rating of #90. By comparison, PORTLAND finished 2010 with a Pomeroy rating of #142. During the regular season, this team beat Oregon [88-81] at home, UCLA [74-47] in LA, Minnesota [61-56] at a neutral location. Among their losses are losses to West Virginia [66-84] at a neutral location, at Washington [54-89], and twice to Gonzaga, at home by 3 ponts [81-78] and at Gonzaga by 27 points [49-76]. Portland's post season ended with a 14-point loss to St. Mary's in the second round of the West Coast Conference Tournament and an 8-point loss to Northern Colorado in the first round of theCollegeinsider.com Tournament.
Five seniors are gone from last year's Portland team , but they return four former juniors and one former sophomore, each of whom contributed last season on the floor. Portland has already played, and won, three games this season. Portland has defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee, UC Davis, and Florida Atlantic by 20, 15, and 14 points respectively. Portland has played these games at a pace of about 68 possessions per game while averaging 81.3 ppg and allowing 65.0 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.21 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.95 ppp. Portland's turnover rate has been 19% while they have only forced turnovers at an 11% rate. On the Boards, Portland's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 34.2% and 73.4% respectively. Based on the manner in which Portland has won these games, this team will provide these Cats all that they want in their first performance away from Rupp.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its only opponent produced 72 possessions, and a score of 88-65 for efficiencies of 1.248 ppp and 0.884 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. UK's turnover rate was 11% but UK only forced turnovers at a 12% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 42.2% and 82.1% at the offensive and defensive ends.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 69 possessions with the Cats winning by 8 points, 76-68. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.101 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.986 ppp.
For the second game in a row, Coach Calipari will start Knight, Jones, Miller, Liggins, and Harrellson.
The Cats open by making their first 2 shots, and 4 of their first 8 as they eased out to an 8-0 lead at the under 16 TV timeout. The Cats missed both of their 3 point attempts, committed one turnover, and grabbed 2 offensive rebounds good for 2 second chance points. Portland missed on their first 6 shots, including all three of their 3 point attempts. The Cats continued to throw the shutout to a score of 15-0 before Portland finally made a basket and a foul shot to close to 15-3 at the under 12 TV timeout with 11:35 to play in the first half.
The early pace of the game is in the mid 60s possessions, and the Cats has scored their 15 points on only 13 possessions, while Portland has had 12 possessions through the first 2 segments. In the third segment, Portland used back to back 3 pointers to cut the Cats' lead into single digits, 18-9, and a Kentucky basket by Knight extended the lead back to 11 points at the 8:11 to play at a Portland timeout. Out of the timeout, Knight hit a 3 pointer to take the lead back to 12 points, 23-11, but a Portland layup cut the lead to 10 points prompting a UK timeout with 7:18 to play in the half. In the fourth segment, the Cats advanced their maximum lead in the game to 18 points, 31-13 before Portland used back to back baskets to trim the lead back to 14 points, 31-17 at the under 4 TV timeout with 3:24 to play in the first half.
The pace of the game has slowed considerable from the mid 60's start. Through 16 ½ minutes, each team has had only 24 possessions, a 60 possession pace for the game. The teams traded baskets in the final segment as the Cats took a 14 point lead, 38-24 at the half.
UK scored its 38 points in a total of 30 possessions for the half, and PORTLAND scored its 24 points on a total of 30 possessions. Portland won the battle of the boards 17-16 primarily on the strength of an 8-2 advantage on the offensive glass. The Cats used their 2 second chance possessions to score 2 second chance point while PORTLAND used its 8 second chance to score 2 second chance points. PORTLAND had an offensive efficiency of 0.733 ppp on its 30 first chance possessions and 0.250 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 1.200 ppp on its 30 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 2 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed an anemic 18.2% of its misses as offensive rebounds while PORTLAND was able to convert a strong 36.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit all of its free throws in the first half, making 4-4 [100.0%]. PORTLAND also was perfect from the line, making 3-3 [100.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 15-26 overall [57.7%] and 4-10 from long range [40.0%]. For PORTLAND, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 6-21 [28.6%] and from long range, Portland hit 3-11 [27.3%].
Turnovers were in short supply in this first half. The Cats committed 4 turnovers, one for every 7.5 possessions. The Cats forced only 5 PORTLAND turnovers, one for every 6.0 possessions.
The Cats open the second half by extending their lead to a game high 19 points, 45-26 at the under 16 TV timeout. Liggins will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes. In the second segment of the second half, the Cats moved out to a 24 point lead, 54-30, and a Portland basket trimmed the lead to 22 points at the under 12 TV timeout. In the third segment, the Cats extended the lead to 30 points, 64-34 at the under 8 TV timeout. At the under 4 TV timeout the Cats lead 72-43. The final score is 79-48.
UK scored its 79 points in a total of 60 possessions for the game, and PORTLAND scored its 48 points on a total of 59 possessions.
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 37-30, but Portland won the battle of the offensive glass 14-11 after dominating on the offensive glass 8-2 in the first half. Kentucky won the second chance points battle 7-6. PORTLAND had an offensive efficiency of 0.712 ppp on its 59 first chance possessions and 0.429 ppp for its 14 second chance possessions. UK had 1.200 ppp on its 60 first chance possessions and 0.636 ppp on its 11 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 40.7% of its misses as offensive rebounds while PORTLAND was able to convert a strong 35.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 15-20 [75.0%]. PORTLAND made 8-12 [66.7%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-51 overall [54.9%] and 8-18 from long range [44.4%]. For PORTLAND, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a fair 14-39 [35.9%] and from long range, PORTLAND hit 4-20 [20.0%].
Turnovers were in rare supply in this game. The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 5.5 possessions. The Cats forced 9 PORTLAND turnovers, one for every 6.6 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 8 point UK win, 74-66 at a pace of 70 possessions for each team. The final score was 79 (74) to 48 (66) at a pace of 60 possessions for the Cats and 59 possessions for PORTLAND. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.317 ppp (B-) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.814 ppp (B-). Remember the “grades” discussion at the top of this analysis?
Next Game On Schedule: Monday afternoon, in Maui, Hawaii when the Cats will play Oklahoma in the first round of the Maui Invitational Tournament.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks