BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2010-11 Season Analytical Writings
Fortunately for the entire Big Blue Nation, the Kentucky Wildcats were not paying any attention to the old man behind the curtain, and they traveled to Louisville's Yum Center enjoyed a delicious serving of friend Cardinal, and returned to Lexington with another huge win over their in-state rivals. This was not just any victory, to be sure, but a 15-point victory, 78-63 on the road over a ranked rival. This win moved the Cats to 11-2 overall during the non-conference portion of their schedule, with one game remaining. I suggest that if Cat Fans had an opportunity to take this 12-2 record without playing a single game back in early November, many of the fans would have taken that rather than risk additional losses on the record books.
Now the Cats will return to Rupp for one last serving of a non-conference dessert, the Penn Quakers, before jumping fully into the 2011 SEC season next Saturday afternoon at Athens Georgia. After the satisfying fried Cardinal meal on Friday, one more sweet taste of dessert will be delightful before the bitter SEC travels and travails begin. Penn is not the weakest opponent on the UK schedule this season. That distinction will forever belong to Mississippi Valley State, with Auburn, Coppin State and Wintrhop challenging Penn for one of the bottom 5 positions on that list. Penn is more akin to Winthrop than Coppin State.
PENN has played ten games posting a record of 5-5. Their most impressive wins have been by 5 over #103 Davidson and by 16 over #270 Army on a neutral court. Penn's most impressive loss was to #13 Villanova by 12 points at home. However, Penn has also lost at #315 Manhattan by 5 and at #310 Marist by 9.
PENN has played these games at an average pace of about 64 possessions, averaging 63.8 ppg and allowing 65.7 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 0.988 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 1.023 ppp. PENN's turnover rate has been 21.1% while they have forced turnovers at a 22.4% rate. On the Boards, PENN's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 24.7% and 68.0% respectively.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first six opponents produced 70 possessions, and a score of 80.3 to 62.8 ppg for efficiencies of 1.149 ppp and 0.895 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. UK's turnover rate is 16.0% but UK only forced turnovers at a 17.8% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 36.0% and 72.4% at the offensive and defensive ends.
Kentucky's current Pomeroy SOS value is 0.7305 while PENN's is 0.4838.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 67 possessions for the Cats and 67 possessions for the Quakers, with the Cats winning for the twelfth time in fourteen starts this season by 32 points, 84-52. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.254 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.776 ppp.
For the fourteenth 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 Cats open very lethargic and Penn opens very hot from the perimeter to take an early 6-2 lead, and then a 14-8 lead prompting a Kentucky timeout with 12:31 to play in the first half. Out of the timeout, Penn hit their 5 th 3 pointer on only 6 attempts to stretch their early lead to 7 points, 17-10, at the under 12 TV timeout. As hot as Penn is from the perimeter, the Cats are cold, missing all 4 of their 3 point attempts, and only making 5 of 11 shots from inside the arc. In the third segment, Penn continued their outside shooting, hitting 1-2 during the segment, as the teams traded points, and Penn continues to maintain their 7 point lead, 22-15 at the under 8 TV timeout. When play resumes, Penn will have a pair of free throws due to Terrence Jones' second foul leading into the break in action.
The fourth segment produced more of the same, as the Cats' deficit rose to a game high 12 points twice, 31-19 the last, before closing to “only” 10 points, 31-21, at the under 4 TV timeout with 3:43 to play in the first half. Again, Penn will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes. Through the first 16 minutes, Penn has scored its 31 points on only 22 possessions, an extremely slow pace and an extremely high efficiency driven by their 7-9 3 point shooting for the game. In contrast, the Cats have only managed 21 points on 23 possessions, and still have not made a perimeter shot in this game while committing 5 turnovers.
Out of the timeout, Penn converted 1 of the 2 free shots, and UK then committed their 6 th turnover on just 24 possessions. However, Penn could not take advantage of the turnover, and the Cats then got a three point play by Lamb, and the Cats' first 3 pointer by Liggins to cut the lead to 5 points. A Penn turnover then prompts a Penn timeout with 2 minutes to play. The Cats hit another three pointer, and force another Penn turnover with 1:18 to play down 2, and a Harrellson put back tied the score at 32-32. Following another miss, Penn fouled Lamb, and Lamb hit 1 or 2 to give the Cats their first lead of the game, 33-32, with Penn having the last possession of the half, but Penn fails to get a shot off before the buzzer. The Cats lead at the half by 1 point, 33-32.
UK scored its 33 points in a total of 29 possessions for the half, and PENN scored its 32 points on a total of 28 possessions. Kentucky won the rebounding battle, 22-14, and the Cats won the offensive glass 13-6. Kentucky used their offensive rebounding advantage to generate a 7 point advantage with the second chance points, 11-4. PENN had an offensive efficiency of 1.000 ppp on its 28 first chance possessions and 0.667 ppp on its 6 second chances. Kentucky had an efficiency of 0.759 ppp on its 29 first chance possessions and 0.846 ppp on its 13 second chance possession. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 61.9% of its misses as offensive rebounds while PENN was able to convert 40.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 3 of its 5 free throws in the first half [60.0%]. PENN hit 5-6 [83.3%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 14-34 overall [41.2%] and 2-8 from long range [25.0%]. For PENN, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 3-16 [18.8%] and from long range, PENN University hit 7-9 [77.8%].
The Cats committed 6 turnovers, one for every 4.8 possessions. The Cats forced 6 PENN turnovers, one for every 4.7 possessions.
The Cats scored the first 4 points of the second half to ease out to a 5 point lead, but a three pointer by Penn following a scramble for a loose ball trimmed the lead back to only 2 points, 39-37, prompting a Kentucky timeout with 17:54 to play in the game. Out of the timeout, the Cats hit a pair of baskets and a three pointer to extend their fragile lead to 7 points, 46-39, at the under 16 TV timeout, and the Cats will have the ball when play resumes. In the opening segment of the second half, the pace of play quickened, and Penn committed 4 turnovers on 8 possessions and the Cats did not miss a shot on 5-5 shooting, and 2-2 from the line, with their only blemish being a single turnover and their failure to get the loose ball that produced the Penn three pointer.
In the second segment, the Cats extend their lead with their shooting to 12 points, 55-43, at the under 12 TV timeout. When play resumes, Penn will have the ball. Out of the timeout, Penn makes a pair of free throws, but the Cats then score 11 straight points, including 3 straight three pointers to extend their lead to 21 points, 66-45, prompting a Penn timeout with 10:06 to play in the game. Out of the timeout, the teams traded baskets to the under 8 TV timeout with the Cats leading by 21 points, 70-49, and Harrellson will be shooting the bonus free throws when play resumes. In the fourth segment, the Cats add 2 points to their lead, now at 23 points, 77-54, at the under 4 TV timeout and Jones will be shooting a pair of free throws for the Cats when play resumes. The teams play out the final 4 minutes with the Cats winning by 24 points, 86-62.
UK scored its 86 points in a total of 61 possessions for the game, and PENN scored its 62 points on a total of 61 possessions.
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 37-17, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 15-8. Kentucky won the second chance points battle 14-6. PENN had an offensive efficiency of 0.918 ppp on its 61 first chance possessions and 0.750 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 1.180 ppp on its 61 first chance possessions and 0.933 ppp on its 15 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 62.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while PENN was able to convert 26.7% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 12-14 [82.4%]. PENN made 14-16 [87.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 32-56 overall [57.1%] and 8-17 from long range [47.1%]. For PENN, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 12-37[32.4%] and from long range, PENN hit 8-12 [66.7%].
The Cats committed 12 turnovers, one for every 5.1 possessions. The Cats forced 12 PENN turnovers, one for every 5.1 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 32 point UK win, 84-52 at a pace of 67 possessions for UK and 67 possessions for PENN. The final score was 86 (84) to 62 (52) at a pace of 61 possessions for the Cats and 61 possessions for PENN. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.410 (B-) and the UK defensive efficiency was 1.016 ppp (E).
Next Game On Schedule: The Cats will open SEC play on Saturday, January 8 at Georgia.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks