BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2010-11 Season Analytical Writings
This past Friday night, the Cats stopped in Portland, Oregon on their way to a Maui date to allow Terrence Jones a rare opportunity to play before his friends and family, to showcase Kentucky basketball in the greater Northwest, and to soften the impact of Jet Lag once the team arrived in paradise. Well, the friends and family were not disappointed, those interested in such things in the greater Northwest must have been impressed, and the Cats handily defeated a previously unbeaten, experienced and solid Portland team by 31 points, 79-48.
Make no mistake, the Portland game was a very impressive outing for this young Kentucky basketball team. On the road [perhaps in name only given the magnitude of the Big Blue Mist in the Rose Garden, and the overall size of the audience], many UK fans, including this one, believed Portland would present this team its first stiff test of the season. They had won their first 3 games in impressive fashion, they had world class perimeter shooters, and as it turned out on Friday night, Portland dictated the pace of the game, with only 60 total possessions for the game. However, Kentucky was not bothered by the slow pace in any respect, scoring a phenomenal 79 points [1.32 points per possession].
That is a truly outstanding offensive efficiency. Last year's team only managed 1.30 points per possession or better 6 times in rolling to a 35-3 record.
Only once in 38 tries did last year's team play significantly better than 1.32 ppp on offense, and that was against Hartford, and that 1.49 ppp is on par with the offensive outburst this year against Dillard in the second exhibition game. Last night's offensive effort is one of those rare, special performances. How many times will this team play at that or better level this season remains to be seen; Stay Tuned!!!!
As impressive as the offense was last night, the defensive effort was equally so, holding Portland's potent offense to only 48 points on its 59 possessions [0.81 points per possession. Last year's team only managed 0.81 ppp or better defense 8 times:
Only 2 times last year did that team combine these great offensive and defensive efforts in a single game as we witnessed last night; Asheville @ Freedom Hall [Game NGE 0.51 ppp] and Drexel, for UK's 2000 th all time win [Game NGE 0.63 ppp].
I know that this is just the second game of the year, but this team has rolled through three Canadian opponents in August, the traditional two exhibitions, and these first two regular season games in a very impressive manner. The three games next week in Maui will reveal much more about this emerging team.
Next up, Oklahoma!!
Last year, Oklahoma finished 13-18, losing in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament to Oklahoma State by 14 points. Oklahoma ended the season with a Pomeroy rating of #100. During the regular season, this team beat #19 Missouri [66-61] at home, and #18 Texas [80-71] home. Among their losses are losses to #119 San Diego [64-76] and #89 Houston [93-100] both at neutral sites in November.
Three seniors are gone from last year's Oklahoma team, Crocker started all 30 games, an Wright played in all 30 games, starting 13. However, Gerber only logged 15 total minutes of play. Also gone is Willie Warren, a sophomore that led the team. The current roster includes 5 freshmen, 4 sophomores, 5 juniors, and 1 senior.
Oklahoma has already played, and won, three games this season. Oklahoma has defeated #321 Coppin State, #294 North Carolina Central, and #337 Texas Southern. , UC Davis, and Florida Atlantic by 20, 15, and 14 points respectively. Oklahoma has played these games at a pace of about 68 possessions per game while averaging 76.7 ppg and allowing 57.3 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.130 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.854 ppp. Oklahoma's turnover rate has been 21% while they have forced turnovers at an 21% rate. On the Boards, Oklahoma's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 38.1% and 75.2% respectively.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first two opponents produced 66 possessions, and a score of 83.5 to 56.5 for efficiencies of 1.270 ppp and 0.846 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. UK's turnover rate is 16% but UK only forced turnovers at a 14% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 41.7% and 73.4% at the offensive and defensive ends. Kentucky's current Pomeroy SOS value is 0.6716 while Oklahoma's is only 0.1084.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 69 possessions with the Cats winning by 19 points, 79-60. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.162 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.870 ppp. This apparent UK advantage stems primarily from the disparity between the teams' early season schedule strength.
For the third game in a row, Coach Calipari will start Knight, Jones, Miller, Liggins, and Harrellson.
The Cats opened red hot, hitting their first 4 shots, and 7 of their first 8 shots as they raced out to a very quick 13 point lead, but Oklahoma responded to the challenge and cut that lead back to 5 points, 21-16 before the Cats extended the lead back to double figures, 10 points, 28-18 at the under 8 TV timeout. In the fourth segment, Oklahoma outscores the Cats 8-5, and will have a free throw when play resumes to complete a three point play with the Cats leading by 7, 33-26 at the under 4 TV timeout.
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. Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma 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. In the final segment, the Cats finished strong to take a 14 point lead, 42-28, to the locker room at the half.
UK scored its 42 points in a total of 31 possessions for the half, and OKLAHOMA scored its 28 points on a total of 32 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the boards 20-12 primarily on the strength of an 7-3 advantage on the offensive glass. The Cats used their 7 second chance possessions to score 8second chance point while OKLAHOMA used its 3 second chance to score 6 second chance points. OKLAHOMA had an offensive efficiency of 0.688 ppp on its 32 first chance possessions and 2.000 ppp for its 3 second chance possessions. UK had 1.097 ppp on its 31 first chance possessions and 1.143 ppp on its 7 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed an impressive 43.8% of its misses as offensive rebounds while OKLAHOMA was able to convert a weak 18.8% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit none of its free throws in the first half, making 0-5 [0.0%]. OKLAHOMA also was not effective from the line, making 4-9 [44.4%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 18-32 overall [56.3%] and 6-13 from long range [46.2%]. For OKLAHOMA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 12-20 [60.0%] and from long range, Oklahoma hit 0-5 [0.0%].
Turnovers were in short supply in this first half. The Cats committed 4 turnovers, one for every 7.8 possessions. The Cats forced 6 OKLAHOMA turnovers, one for every 5.3 possessions.
The Cats opened the second half by extending their 14 point halftime lead to 15 points, but the teams traded baskets for the opening segment, and Oklahoma trimmed the lead back to 13 points, 52-39, at the under 16 TV timeout and Oklahoma will have possession when play resumes. In the second segment, the Cats outscored Oklahoma 7-2 to extend the lead to a game high 18 points, 59-41, at the under 12 TV timeout.
In the third segment, Oklahoma used a pair of UK turnovers, and a missed 3 pointer combined with 3-3 shooting of their own to trim the lead to 11 points, 59-48, prompting a Kentucky timeout with 9:49 to play in the game. Oklahoma cut the lead to 9 points, 59-50, and the Cats finally scored at the end of the segment to ease back up to an 11 point lead, 61-50 at the under 8 TV timeout with 7:30 to play and Oklahoma in possession of the ball when play resumes. The teams essential trade baskets for the last two segments as the Cats will by 12 points, 76-64.
UK scored its 76 points in a total of 68 possessions for the game, and OKLAHOMA scored its 64 points on a total of 71 possessions.
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 40-33, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 12-8. Kentucky won the second chance points battle 17-8. OKLAHOMA had an offensive efficiency of 0.789ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 0.868 ppp on its 68 first chance possessions and 1.417 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a weak 32.4% of its misses as offensive rebounds while OKLAHOMA was able to convert an even weaker 22.2% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 11-22 [50.0%]. OKLAHOMA made 9-18 [50.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 29-58 overall [50.0%] and 7-20 from long range [35.0%]. For OKLAHOMA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 23-46 [50.0%] and from long range, OKLAHOMA hit 3-11 [27.3%].
Turnovers were in rare supply in this game. The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 6.2 possessions. The Cats forced 14 OKLAHOMA turnovers, one for every 5.1 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 19 point UK win, 79-60 at a pace of 68 possessions for UK and 69 possessions for Oklahoma. The final score was 76 (79) to 64 (60) at a pace of 68 possessions for the Cats and 71 possessions for OKLAHOMA. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.118 ppp (D+) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.901 ppp (D+).
Next Game On Schedule: Tomorrow night in Maui, Hawaii in the Semi-final round against the winner of tonight's Washington/Virginia game.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks