BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2010-11 Season Analytical Writings
Some people want me to believe some things about the Cats and the Cards that I simply do not buy.
First, they want me to believe that this old rivalry has lost its shine, and that this game does not mean nearly as much in the big picture as the respective fan bases of these programs say it does. However, CBS will be in Louisville, Kentucky for a noon basketball game on a weekday, on New Year's Eve for crying aloud. Furthermore, this game will put two of the nation's top 10 teams on the same floor. I heard earlier this year that last season's 10,000+ D1 college basketball games only saw two of the top 10 teams on the same floor for the same game about 15 times all season, including the tournament. This game is a huge match up of the bitterest of rivals, and Pomeroy currently has the Cats at #6 and the Cards at #10.
Second, when I listen to the bravado spewing forth from both camps of fans, neither group sees this game as close. The Red side believes that their Cards will manhandle the Cats in a war of attrition and that the superior coaching of Pitino will be the difference maker. The Big Blue Nation is saying that the Cats will separate themselves from these Cards and leave the YUM Center with a huge double-digit win. I simply do not buy the bravado emanating from either camp because of the quality of both teams, the intensity that goes with this game, and the venue of the game.
The Cats and the Cards have easily digested their recent menu of cupcakes. However, now both teams must focus upon the real business of these programs, and as has become the tradition for this series, this intrastate rivalry will serve as each team's final test before they become immersed in their respective conference schedules.
LOUISVILLE has played twelve games posting a record of 11-1. However, the Cards have played 10 of their 11 games at their new home, the YUM Center, and their overall schedule strength has been anything but impressive, ranking as #194 by Pomeroy following their most recent game. LOUISVILLE'S loss came at the hands of Calipari protégé' Bruiser Flynt's #87 Drexel team by 6 on December 14 in a very low scoring game. LOUISVILLE'S most impressive wins have been by 8 over #22 UNLV and by 15 over #26 Butler in the opening game of the season. Other than those three opponents, the Cards strongest opponent thus far has been #122 Marshall, a 14-point win.
LOUISVILLE has played these games at an average pace of about 73 possessions, averaging 83.8 ppg and allowing 61.3 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.139 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.843 ppp. LOUISVILLE's turnover rate has been 19.2% while they have forced turnovers at a 26.1% rate. On the Boards, LOUISVILLE's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 36.7% and 68.1% respectively.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first six opponents produced 70 possessions, and a score of 80.5 to 62.8 ppg for efficiencies of 1.145 ppp and 0.888 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. UK's turnover rate is 15.6% but UK only forced turnovers at a 17.6% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 35.4% and 72.5% at the offensive and defensive ends.
Kentucky's current Pomeroy SOS value is 0.6960 while LOUISVILLE's is 0.5004.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 71 possessions for the Cats and 72 possessions for the Cards, with the Cats falling for the third time in thirteen starts this season by 4 points, 74-70. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 0.986 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 1.028 ppp.
For the thirteenth game in a row, Coach Calipari will start Knight, Jones, Miller, Liggins, and Harrellson. There is little doubt that Lamb will be the first player off the bench, followed by Vargas. After those top seven players, Coach Calipari has said that Poole has moved up on the depth chart and will be getting Hood's minutes as the season moves forward.
The Cards take the tip and draw first blood with a three pointer by Knowles, and following a pair of Lamb free throws, Louisville's second three pointer on transition gave the Cards a 4 point early lead, but a put back basket by Lamb and a basket by Harrellson on the break off an assist from Knight tied the score at 6-6 at the under 16 TV timeout. Louisville will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes. After the timeout, the Cards make 1 of 2, an then a basket off a turnover, and a three pointer to run out to a 6 point lead, 12-6, and Lamb picked up his second early foul. However, a second chance three point play by Harrellson, and a three pointer by Knight tied the score at 12-12. The teams then traded baskets to a 14-14 tie at the under 12 TV timeout. Darius Miller, who score and was fouled leading into the timeout will be trying to give the Cats their first lead of the game with a free throw when play resumes.
Miller converts, and following one Louisville miss and 2 Louisville Turnovers, the Cats extend their lead to 5 points, 19-14, prompting a Louisville timeout with 9:52 to play in the first half. Out of the timeout, Liggins steals a pass for a runout basket and a 7 point UK lead, 21-14. Louisville stops the UK run at 9 points and pull back to within 5 points, 21-16, at the under 8 TV timeout. Through 12 minutes, the pace of this game is over 80 possessions, and the efficiencies of both teams are suffering from the combination of good defense, turnovers, and effective defenses by both teams. The Cats have committed 7 turnovers to Louisville's 6. Each team has one key player sitting with two fouls, Lamb and Kuric.
Out of the timeout, the Cats converted 3 Louisville missed shots into 5 points by Knight to stretch their lead to double digits for the first time, 26-16, prompting a second Louisville timeout with 6:50 to play in the half. The Cats run totaled 20-4 from a 6-12 deficit to a 26-16 advantage. Out of the timeout, Louisville hit back to back baskets to trim the lead back to 6 points, 28-22, prompting coach Calipari to take a timeout to settle his team down. With the margin at 6 points, Knight picked up his second foul sending Knight to the bench as Lamb returns to the action carrying 2 fouls. That is how the game remained, Cats leading 30-24, at the under 4 TV timeout and the Cats in possession when play resumes.
Kentucky used a Louisville miss and turnover to score 5 second chance points, including a three pointer by Lamb to stretch the lead back to double digits, 35-24, the halftime score. The Cats end the half with three players carrying 2 fouls into the second half, Lamb, Knight, and Miller.
UK scored its 35 points in a total of 35 possessions for the half, and LOUISVILLE scored its 24 points on a total of 36 possessions. Kentucky won the rebounding battle, 25-19, and the Cats won the offensive glass 8-7. Kentucky used their offensive rebounding advantage to generate a 5 point advantage with the second chance points, 9-4. LOUISVILLE had an offensive efficiency of 0.556 ppp on its 36 first chan743 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 1.125 ppp on its 8 second chance possession. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 40.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LOUISVILLE was able to convert an only 29.2% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 4 of its 4 free throws in the first half [100.0%]. LOUISVILLE hit 1-4 [25.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 14-34 overall [41.2%] and 3-10 from long range [30.0%]. For LOUISVILLE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 7-21 [33.3%] and from long range, LOUISVILLE University hit 3-11 [27.3%].
The Cats committed 8 turnovers, one for every 4.4 possessions. The Cats forced 8 LOUISVILLE turnovers, one for every 4.5 possessions.
The Cats not only draw first blood in the second half, after Louisville answered to cut the lead back to 11, the Cats scored 7 straight point, 6 by Harrellson, to extend the lead to 18 points, 44-26 at the under 16 TV timeout. Harrellson hit one of two free throws, his first miss from the line this season, and the team's first miss of this game, and then he hit an 18 foot set shot and a 3 pointer from the top of the circle. Out of the timeout, Miller picked up his 3 rd foul of the game. The teams trade baskets to a 48-31 score, but back to back turnovers by the Cats allowed Louisville to quickly cut the lead to 12 points, 48-36, prompting a UK timeout with 12:34 to play in the game.
The Cats scored a Harrellson basket on the break, and Louisville was only able to make 1 of 2 free throw attempts, giving the Cats a 13 point lead, 50-37, at the under 12 TV timeout. The Cats will have the ball when play resumes. Back to back 3 pointers by Knowles and an 18 footer by Knowles cuts the lead into single digits for the first time in the second half, 54-45. A Knight 3 pointer is countered by a Knowles 18 footer, his 4 th straight basket to give the Cats a 10 point lead, 57-47. A pair of free throws by Knight are offset by another Louisville basket, their 9 th consecutive basket as a team to continue the 10 point game, 59-49 at the under 8 TV timeout, and Knight will be at the line shooting the bonus when play resumes.
After Terrence Jones makes a pair of free throws and a baseline jump shot, the Cats ease back out by 14 points, 66-52, prompting a Louisville timeout with 5:32 to play in the game. After a 3 point play by Jones extended the lead back to 17 points, 69-52, Louisville scored 1 of 2 free throws and another 3 pointer by Knowles to trim the lead back to 13 points with 4:02 to play, and Louisville took their last timeout of the game. The score remained the same at the under 4 TV timeout with 3:43 to play and Knight will be shooting free throws when play resumes.
The Cats play out the final segment to secure their 11 th win on the season, 78-63.
UK scored its 78 points in a total of 64 possessions for the game, and LOUISVILLE scored its 63 points on a total of 64 possessions.
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 36-25, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 13-9. Kentucky won the second chance points battle 18-9. LOUISVILLE had an offensive efficiency of 0.844 ppp on its 64 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.938 ppp on its 64 first chance possessions and 1.385 ppp on its 13 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 44.8% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LOUISVILLE was able to convert 28.1% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 14-16 [87.5%]. LOUISVILLE made 5-11 [45.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 29-57 overall [50.9%] and 6-16 from long range [37.5%]. For LOUISVILLE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 17-34[50.0%] and from long range, LOUISVILLE hit 8-20 [40.0%].
The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions. The Cats forced 13 LOUISVILLE turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 4 point UK loss, 70-74 at a pace of 72 possessions for UK and 73 possessions for LOUISVILLE. The final score was 78 (70) to 63 (74) at a pace of 64 possessions for the Cats and 64 possessions for LOUISVILLE. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.219 (A) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.984 ppp (B-).
Next Game On Schedule: Next Monday, January 3, 2011 against Penn at Rupp.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks