BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2010-11 Season Analytical Writings
The midpoint of the critical seven game sequence that includes 5 road games and home games against Georgia and Tennessee will occur on Tuesday night in Oxford, Mississippi. The Cats have Split their first two road games in this sequence, and need to project their talent superiority against Mississippi to set up the critical three games against the top opponents of the SEC East, at Florida, Tennessee, and at Vandy.
On Saturday evening, the Cats got a measure of revenge against Georgia, but the satisfaction of that revenge was tarnished by a lack luster second half that allowed Georgia to cut the Cats' 17 point half time margin to only 6 points late in the game. Nevertheless, a win is a win. However, the pattern of only playing partial games at the top of their game has become persistent and obvious to the fan base, and despite the last 2 wins, the grass roots are rumbling unhappy sounds. On the season, this team established an early trend of over performing and underperforming its average effort on alternating games, but in the process, the average that the team established was very impressive. However, since the Cats' huge win over Louisville way back on New Years' Eve, the Cats have underperformed their average in five of the seven games, including the past Saturday against Georgia.
It is time for the Cats to wave good-bye to January, and the thoughts of January slumps, and return its focus to sustained improved play. Not just sustained throughout a game, but sustained over the course of multiple games. With road games at Mississippi, Florida, and Vandy on the schedule for three of the first four games in February, there is no better time than the present for this team to get it done.
Mississippi has played twenty-one games posting a record of 13-8; 1-5. The Rebels managed to win 12 of its 15 non-conference games, but since the beginning of SEC play, Mississippi has lost 5 of its 6 contests, including 3 home losses to Mississippi State, Georgia, and Tennessee. Mississippi does have one SEC road win to its credit over hapless LSU by 27 points. In non-conference play, Mississippi's most impressive wins were by 13 over #46 Penn St and by 5 over #82 Southern Mississippi. Ole Miss lost to #98 Dayton by 7 in overtime, at #68 Miami of Florida by 13, and to #74 Colorado State by 7 on a neutral court. Mississippi has played two non-conference opponents in common with the Cats, beating #123 ETSU by 21 and #294 Mississippi Valley State by 32.
MISSISSIPPI has played these games at an average pace of about 69 possessions, averaging 75.8 ppg and allowing 69.4 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.101 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 1.010 ppp. MISSISSIPPI's turnover rate has been 18.3% while they have forced turnovers at a 19.2% rate. On the Boards, MISSISSIPPI's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 35.0% and 69.0% respectively.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first six opponents produced 69 possessions, and a score of 78.0 to 62.0 ppg for efficiencies of 1.128 ppp and 0.897 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. UK's turnover rate is 16.0% but UK only forced turnovers at a 19.0% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 35.8% and 69.8% at the offensive and defensive ends.
Kentucky's current Pomeroy SOS value is 0.6667 while Mississippi's is 0.5124.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 69 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for the Rebels, with the Cats winning for the seventeenth time in twenty-one starts this season by 6 points, 74-68. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.072 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.986 ppp.
For the first 15 games, the same starting lineup posted a 12-3 record, but the loss to Mississippi was enough for Coach Calipari to make a change, sitting Jones and moving Lamb into a starting role. Since he made that change, his Cats are 2-1, beating very weak Auburn and LSU at Rupp but losing again on the SEC road, this time at Alabama. Coach Calipari returned to his original starting lineup for the South Carolina game, and that lineup now has a record of 14-3. Against MISSISSIPPI, Coach Calipari starts Knight, Jones, Miller, Liggins, and Harrellson. There is little doubt that Lamb will be the first player off the bench, followed by Vargas. In the Georgia game, Hood did not make an appearance for the first time all season, and Poole and Polson remained on the bench as well.
The Cats open with the first possession, but it does not produce points after a Jones shot is blocked and a Knight charge. Following a Mississippi turnover, Knight makes the first basket of the game, but Ole Miss matched the scoring at 2-2, 4-4, and after Jones only makes 1 of 2 free throws, Ole Miss moves into the lead on a 3 pointer, 7-5 with 16 minutes to play and at the under 16 TV timeout. Each team had 8 possessions in the initial segment of the game, and the Cats committed an uncharacteristic 3 quick turnovers. In the second segment, it was all Cats, as they scored 6 points to return to the lead, 11-7, and after an Ole Miss 3 pointer, the Cats closed the segment scoring with 4 more to take a 15-10 lead at the under 12 TV timeout with 11:07 to play, and Knight set to shoot a pair of free throws when play resumes. The place continues in the high 70s range in the early going.
Out of the timeout, Knight makes both, but a 3 point play at the other end trims the lead back to 4 points. The teams traded baskets from that point to the under 8 TV timeout with the Cats leading 21-17 and Ole Miss has possession when play resumes with 7:46 to play in the first half. Out of the timeout, after the teams trade turnovers, Ole Miss makes a 3 point play to trim the lead to 1 point, as Harrellson committed his second foul. After a 3 pointer by Lamb, a Knight foul brings Hood into the game with 6:00 to play. After Knight left the game, Ole Miss ran 10 points to only 4 for the Cats to take a 2 point lead, 30-28, and prompting a UK timeout with 4:11 to play in the first half. Out of the timeout, the Cats' offense stalls and Jones fails to draw iron on a long 3 point attempt near the end of the shot clock, taking the game to the under 4 TV timeout with the Cats down by 2, 30-28 with 3:39 to play. After Ole Miss established their largest lead of the half, 4 points, 34-30, the Cats scored the last 5 points of the first half to take a 1 point lead to the locker room, 35-34.
UK scored its 35 points with 36 possessions for the half, and MISSISSIPPI scored its 34 points on 36 possessions. UK won the rebounding battle, 18-17, but Ole Miss won the offensive glass 7-5. Ole Miss used their offensive rebounding advantage to generate a 4 point advantage with the second chance points, 7-3. MISSISSIPPI had an offensive efficiency of 0750 ppp on its 36 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 7 second chances. Kentucky had an efficiency of 0.889 ppp on its 36 first chance possessions and 0.600 ppp on its 5 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 33.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI was able to convert 35.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 6 of its 8 free throws in the first half [75.0%]. MISSISSIPPI hit 4-4 [100.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 13-27 overall [48.1%] and 3-7 from long range [42.9%]. For MISSISSIPPI, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 9-23 [39.1%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI hit 4-11 [36.4%].
The Cats committed 10 turnovers, one for every 3.6 possessions. The Cats forced 8 UGA turnovers, one for every 4.5 possessions.
Kentucky opens the second half with an offensive foul turnover, their 11 th of the game, and Ole Miss converts at the other end to regain the lead. The teams trade baskets and the lead swings at least 2 times before the under 16 TV timeout with the score tied, 41-41 and Ole Miss in possession with 8 seconds on the shot clock. Out of the timeout, a Lamb basket on a runner was allowed even though he charged after the shot. Ole Miss answered with a basket at the other end, and on the in bounds play, Miller steps over the baseline, and Ole Miss scored on the in bound play, and following a Harrellson turnover, Ole Miss converted again to take their biggest lead, 5 points, 48-43 prompting a UK timeout with 14:20 to play in the game. The Cats' fortunes do not get any better following the timeout as Ole Miss run goes to 13 straight points, and an 11 point lead, 54-43 at the under 12 TV timeout.
Out of the timeout, Brandon Knight goes to war for the Cats, and scores 8 straight points, to trim the lead to 3 points, 56-53, with 9:18 to play in the game. Ole Miss takes a timeout. Out of the timeout, Ole Miss converts 2 UK misses into 5 more points to send the lead back to 9, 64-55, points with 6:31 to play in the game. The Cats trim the lead back to 5 points, but missed opportunities allow Ole Miss to extend the lead back to 7 points, 66-59, at the under 4 TV timeout with 3:31 to play, and Ole Miss will have one free throw to complete a 3 point play when play resumes.
Out of the timeout, Jones makes a 3 point play, and Lamb follow that with a 3 pointer to trim the lead to a single point, 66-65. An Ole Miss layup sends the lead back to 3 points. A pair of Jones free throws trims the lead back to one point with about 2 minutes to play in the game. Jones makes 2 more free throws to give UK their first lead since early in the second half, and after a Mississippi miss, UK has the ball with 50 seconds to play. However, the Cats fail to get a shot off, on a shot clock violation with 14 seconds to play. After moving the ball into front court, Ole Miss takes a timeout to set up their final play with 10 seconds to play.
Warren hit a three pointer, under pressure from 25 feet with 2.9 seconds to play. The 11 th lead change of the game. The Cats fail to get the shot to go, and lose for the 5 th time, 71-69.
UK scored its 69 points on 69 possessions for the game, and MISSISSIPPI scored its 71 points on 69 possessions.
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 36-27, and MISSISSIPPI won the offensive glass 9-8. MISSISSIPPI won the second chance points battle 9-5. MISSISSIPPI had an offensive efficiency of 0.899 ppp on its 69 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.928 ppp on its 69 first chance possessions and 0.625 ppp on its 8 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed only 30.8% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI was able to convert 24.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit very well from the free throw line in this game, making 14-18 [77.8%]. MISSISSIPPI made 9-11 [81.8%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 25-51 overall [49.0%] and 5-13 from long range [38.5%]. For MISSISSIPPI, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 19-46[41.3%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI hit 8-17 [47.1%].
The Cats committed 18 turnovers, one for every 3.8 possessions. The Cats forced 11 MISSISSIPPI turnovers, one for every 6.3 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 6 point UK win, 74-68 at a pace of 69 possessions for UK and 69 possessions for MISSISSIPPI. The final score was 69 (74) to 71 (68) at a pace of 69 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for MISSISSIPPI. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.000 (D+) and the UK defensive efficiency was 1.029 ppp (D+).
Next Game On Schedule: The Cats will Travel to Florida on Saturday, February 5.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks