BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2010-11 Season Analytical Writings
The Cats returned to Rupp Arena for one game to regroup and lick some Hawaiian wounds before taking their act on the road against one of the most prestigious programs in college basketball, North Carolina. The Cats used their time at home and their game against Boston University effectively to taste winning again and reassure themselves that their impressive early season numbers are more important that their two obvious short comings, depth and interior defense. Now it is time to perform on one of the nation's big stages, before a hostile crowd on national television, in a true “Program Game” that is all about the pride in the name on the front of the jerseys that these players will wear.
The Cats earned a 34-point win at Rupp, and they will put their 5-1 overall record on the line. In contrast, North Carolina will be bringing a disappointing 4-3 record into this game, off a double-digit loss at Illinois by double digits. Despite these most recent outcomes, I have little doubt that North Carolina will be at the top of their game, whatever that means, to protect their home court, to avenge their loss to the Cats last year, and to avoid dropping to 4-4, and completely out of the national discussion for the rest of this season.
NORTH CAROLINA has played seven games, winning four. They have defeated #107 Lipscomb by 14, #191 Hofstra by 44, #207 NORTH CAROLINA Asheville by 11, and #106 College of Charleston by 5. All of these wins were in Chapel Hill except the neutral court win over Hofstra. NORTH CAROLINA has lost to #37 Minnesota by 5 and #24 Vanderbilt by 7, both on neutral courts, and this Tuesday at #7 Illinois by 12.
NORTH CAROLINA has played these games at an average pace of about 75 possessions, averaging 77.1 ppg and allowing 70.0 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.023 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.941 ppp. NORTH CAROLINA's turnover rate has been 22.0% while they have forced turnovers at a 21.3% rate. On the Boards, NORTH CAROLINA's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 39.1% and 68.4% respectively.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first six opponents produced 69 possessions, and a score of 79.2 to 64.2 ppg for efficiencies of 1.152 ppp and 0.929 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. UK's turnover rate is 17.2% but UK only forced turnovers at a 17.6% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 39.9% and 69.8% at the offensive and defensive ends.
Kentucky's current Pomeroy SOS value is 0.7906 while NORTH CAROLINA's is 0.7595.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 72 possessions with the Cats winning for the sixth time in seven starts this season by 4 points, 74-70. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.028 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.972 ppp.
For the seventh game in a row, Coach Calipari will start Knight, Jones, Miller, Liggins, and Harrellson.
The Cats open the game getting into early foul trouble in the first 2 minutes of the game. Harrellson picked up 2 quick ones, and Vargas got his first one his first defensive possession. When Harrellson left the game, the Cats led 5-2, and Carolina then ran off 6 straight points to take a 8-5 lead over the Cats with 15:40 to play, prompting Calipari to take a timeout. On the possession after the timeout, the UNC defensive pressure nearly forced another UK turnover before the under 16 TV timeout with 15:21 to play in the first half and the score holding at 8-5.
The early pace of this game is frantic, with Carolina getting 10 possessions, and Kentucky working on its 10 th possession at the timeout. This is not a pace that favors UK in this game. Out of the timeout, Knight hit a 3 pointer to tie the game at 8-8, and after UNC missed, Lamb put the Cats back on top, 10-8. The teams traded baskets for the rest of the segment with the Cats holding on to a 2 point lead, 16-14 at the under 12 TV timeout. The Cats will have possession when play resumes. In the second segment, each team had 8 possessions, a pace that is probably still faster than UK would prefer in this particular game. The Cats have an early offensive efficiency of 0.941 ppp and an early defensive efficiency of 0.778 ppp.
As the third segment began, UK hit 4 quick baskets to run out to an 8 point lead, 25-17, but back to back baskets by UNC cut the lead back to 4 points, 25-21, prompting Calipari's second timeout with 9:04 to play in the half. Out of the timeout, UK missed on back to back trips and UNC converted for 5 more points to regain the lead, 26-25. A Liggins basket stopped the UNC run at 9-0 as UK eased back into the lead, 27-26 at the under 8 TV timeout with 7:32 to play and the Cats in possession. The pace continues in the upper 80s to 90 range for this game.
Vargas picked up his second foul with 7:10 to play. Vargas returned to the game after a brief rest, and quickly committed a turnover and his 3 rd foul, bringing Harrellson back into the game with 2 fouls with 4:30 to play in the half. When the Cats were unable to make the inbounds pass from their own baseline, Liggins called UK's 3 rd timeout of the game, leaving on 2 more for the remainder of the game. As UNC continues to push the pace, they race out to their biggest lead of the game, 38-34 at the delayed under 4 TV timeout with 2:48 to play as Harrellson picks up his 3 rd foul, and UNC will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes.
UNC made one of 2 to extend their lead to their game high 5 points, but the Cats roared back with a 3 pointer by Knight and back to back baskets off UNC turnovers to regain the lead at 40-39. The Cats held on for the remainder of the half to take a 2 point lead, 42-40 at the half.
UK scored its 42 points in a total of 42 possessions for the half, and NORTH CAROLINA scored its 40 points on a total of 43 possessions. UNC won the battle of the boards 24-14, and North Carolina won the battle of the offensive glass 6-1. The Cats used their 1second chance possessions to score 0second chance point while NORTH CAROLINA used its 6 second chance to score 7 second chance points. NORTH CAROLINA had an offensive efficiency of 0.767 ppp on its 43 first chance possessions and 1.167 ppp for its 6 second chance possessions. UK had 1.000 ppp on its 42 first chance possessions and 0.000 ppp on its 1 second chance possession. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a weak 5.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while NORTH CAROLINA was able to convert an NCAA average 31.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 7 of its 10 free throws in the first half but Jones made all three misses, 2 on the front end of the bonus, making 7-10 [70.0%]. NORTH CAROLINA also was less effective from the line, making 9-14 [64.3%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 15-32 overall [46.9%] and 5-9 from long range [55.5%]. For NORTH CAROLINA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was strong, 14-26 [53.89] and from long range, North Carolina University hit 1-7 [14.3%].
The Cats committed 5 turnovers, one for every 8.4 possessions. The Cats forced 9 NORTH CAROLINA turnovers, one for every 4.8 possessions.
The second half opens with UNC drawing even at 42-42, and after the Cats reestablished a 3 point lead at 47-44, UNC scored the last 5 points of the segment to regain the lead, 48-47 at the under 16 TV timeout and UK in possession. The pace in the opening minutes of the second half remained at the mid 80s range. The teams traded points to a UNC 51-50 lead. Then the Cats ran off 7 straight points to take a 6 point lead, 57-51 prompting UNC's first timeout of the game with 11:40 to play in the game. The pace continues in the 80+ range for this game. In the third segment, UNC out scores the Cats 8-3 to trim that brief 6 point lead to a single point, 60-59 at the under 8 TV timeout. On the last play prior to the timeout, Lamb was fouled while driving to the basket, and will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes.
Lamb made 1 of 2 and UNC missed on their first chance after the break. The teams played the 4 th segment on essentially even terms, with the Cats clinging to a 2 point lead, 65-63 as the Cats take their next to last timeout with 4:01 to play in the game and the Cats in possession of the ball. The Cats miss, and Jones fouled Zeller at the under 4 TV timeout with 3:38 to play. Zeller will be shooting a pair when play resumes. Zeller makes them both to tie the score, 65-65, the 14 th tie of the game. After the free throws, the Cats turn it over, and then Jones fouls out of the game, sending Henson to the line for the bonus. He made the first to give UNC the lead, but he missed the second, Knight was fouled on the rebound. However, Knight missed the front end. UNC missed on its next trip, and Lamb is fouled with a chance to put the Cats back on top. He succeeds, and UNC furns it over, but Lamb misses on a runner, and UNC takes a timeout with 1:36 to play in the game, down a point and in possession of the ball.
UNC goes straight inside to Zeller, guarded by Harrellson, and Miller fouled Zeller. Zeller hit both to give UNC the lead again. Harrellson gets a put back basket to give the Cats a 1 point lead, but Harrellson fouled out on the next trip, giving Zeller a pair of free throws, and yet another chance to put UNC back on top with 47 seconds to play in the game. Lamb missed his floater, and Vargas fouled out on the rebound, sending Drew to the line for a pair with UNC up by 1 point. Drew makes them both to raise the lead to 3 points with 20.9 seconds to play, and the Cats with one last chance to tie the score with a 3 point shot.
Knight gets a 12 foot jumper to trim the lead back to a single point with 12.3 to play. The Cats have used their last timeout of the game. UNC gets the ball in bounds to Zeller, and the Cats foul him immediately with 10.3 to play. Zeller is 9-10 from the line today. He made them both, 74-71 UNC with 10.3 to play.
UNC fouls Lamb before he can get a 3 point attempt off with 6.1 seconds. Lamb made both, and the Cats foul Strickland with 5.6 to play. He makes the first, misses the second, and Lamb's attempt from midcourt was off the mark. UNC wins 75-73.
UK scored its 73 points in a total of 77 possessions for the game, and NORTH CAROLINA UNIVERSITY scored its 75 points on a total of 79 possessions.
UNC won the boards, with a rebounding edge 43-37, and North Carolina won the battle of the offensive glass 9-8. UNC won the second chance points battle 12-5. NORTH CAROLINA had an offensive efficiency of 0.797 ppp on its 79 first chance possessions and 1.333 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.883 ppp on its 77 first chance possessions and 0.625 ppp on its 8 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a weak 19.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while NORTH CAROLINA was able to convert 23.7% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 16-21 [76.2%]. NORTH CAROLINA made 26-37 [70.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 24-62 overall [38.7%] and 9-21 from long range [42.9%]. For NORTH CAROLINA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 23-47 [48.9%] and from long range, NORTH CAROLINA hit 1-11 [9.1%].
The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 7.0 possessions. The Cats forced 12 NORTH CAROLINA turnovers, one for every 6.6 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 4 point UK win, 74-70 at a pace of 72 possessions for UK and 72 possessions for North Carolina. The final score was 73 (74) to 75 (70) at a pace of 77 possessions for the Cats and 79 possessions for NORTH CAROLINA. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 0.948 (D+) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.949 ppp (B-).
Next Game On Schedule: December 8 agaiinst Notre Dame at Freedom Hall in Louisville as part of the SEC-Big East Challenge.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks