BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2010-11 Season Analytical Writings
That's right, five of seven games on the road in the SEC, and even though the SEC scheduler provided the Cats a home “breather near the end of this sequence, it “On The Road Again” as Willie Nelson would croon, and this time, the firth in the last seven games, the destination is Nashville, Music City, and the opponent is Vanderbilt. The SEC Road has not been kind to this group of Cats, and Saturday's appearance in Nashville proves to be more of the same for the Kentucky team.
Much is written and said about the difficulty of playing Vanderbilt in their infamous Memorial Gymnasium. However, not being one to let facts escape, the Kentucky Wildcats have played Vandy in Nashville 78 times, and Kentucky has left Nashville with a win 52 times. That is a winning percentage of 67%, and over the last 20 years, the record has been 12-8.
This meeting carries very high stakes, as both Vandy and UK are now two games behind Florida in the loss column with only 6 [Florida] or 7 [Vandy and UK] games remaining this season. Therefore, the winner of this game should remain within contention, with a chance of at least catching the Gators while the loser will probably be relegated to no better than 2 nd place and probably 3 rd place in the SEC East this season.
Vanderbilt has played twenty-three games posting a record of 17-6; 5-4. The Commodores were impressive early this season, racing out to a 7-1 start that included wins over #35 Belmont by 9, #11 North Carolina by 7 on a Neutral Court, and a neutral court loss to #19 West Virginia by 3. Vanderbilt completed its non-conference schedule 12-2 and while Vandy did lose at #21 Missouri, the Commodores also claim a victory over #27 Marquette by 1 point. In the SEC, Vandy has lost 3 of their 4 road games so far, and they allowed Arkansas to escape Nashville with a win in this very same invincible Memorial Gymnasium.
VANDERBILT has played these games at an average pace of about 71 possessions, averaging 78.0 ppg and allowing 67.3 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.102 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.950 ppp. VANDERBILT's turnover rate has been 19.9% while they have forced turnovers at a 18.1% rate. On the Boards, VANDERBILT's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 33.1% and 68.2% respectively.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first six opponents produced 69 possessions, and a score of 76.9 to 62.7 ppg for efficiencies of 1.119 ppp and 0.911 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. UK's turnover rate is 16.8% but UK only forced turnovers at a 18.7% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 35.4% and 70.3% at the offensive and defensive ends.
Kentucky's current Pomeroy SOS value is 0.6992 while Vanderbilt's is 0.6512
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 70 possessions for the Cats and 70 possessions for the Commodores, with the Cats losing for the seventh time in twenty-four starts this season by 2 points, 70-72. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.000 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 1.029 ppp.
For the first 15 games, the same starting lineup posted a 12-3 record, but the loss to Georgia 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 went 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 15-5. Against VANDERBILT, 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 Tennessee game, Hood did also played, but Poole and Polson remained on the bench.
The Cats open with the game's first 4 points, and then trade baskets with Vandy to a 9-5 lead at the under 16 TV timeout with 15:00 to play in the first half. In the opening segment, the Cats hit 4 of 8 shots, while Vandy managed to make only 2 of their first 7 shots. Neither team made it to the line in the opening 5 minutes. Josh Harrellson has grabbed two early offensive rebounds, and each team has committed one early turnover. Out of the timeout, Vandy scores 4 quick points to tie the game at 9-9. However, the Cats respond with an 8-2 run to take their largest lead, 17-11 at the under 12 TV timeout, and Lamb will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes.
In the first two segments, the Cats have hit 8-14 shots and limited Vandy to 5-12 shooting. Out of the timeout, Vandy hits a 3 pointer at the end of the shot clock, and Miller then commits his second foul, with 10:08 to play, as Vandy trimmed the lead back to 3 points, 19-16. Back to back 3 pointers pulled Vandy to within 2 points in the game at 24-22, but following a blocking foul on Jenkins, Knight made both free throws to ease the lead back to 4 points. However, Vandy's 4 th straight 3 pointer of this segment trimmed the lead to a single point at the under 8 TV timeout. Liggins will be shooting free throws when play resumes following Taylor's second foul of the game.
Liggins missed the first of his shots, and the Cats lead eases back to 2 points. During the remainder of the 4 th segment, Vandy used 4 offensive rebounds to put up 7 second chance points, and 5-6 free throw shooting to move ahead of the Cats by 3 points, 37-34, at the under 4 TV timeout, and Vandy will be shooting a free throw to complete a 3 point play when play resumes. In addition, Liggins picked up his second foul and Harrellson his second during this segment, as Miller has returned to action carrying 2 fouls.
In the final segment of the half, Vandy played in the lead, between 2 and 5 points, and after a Jones miss with 49 seconds to play, and Vandy up by 4 points, Vandy takes a timeout to plan its final possessions of the half. Vandy misses its shot, and Kentucky takes a timeout with 24 seconds to play to plan its last possession. Vandy picked Knight's pocket at mid court for a layup, and Miller sinks a 15 footer at the buzzer to send the game to the half with the Cats down 4, 44-40.
UK scored its 40 points with 33 possessions for the half, and VANDERBILT scored its 44 points on 33 possessions. Vandy won the rebounding battle, 16-13, and Vandy won the battle of the offensive rebounds 6-4 and Vanderbilt won a 4 point advantage with the second chance points, 11-7. VANDERBILT had an offensive efficiency of 1.000 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 1.833 ppp on its 6 second chances. Kentucky had an efficiency of 1.000 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 1.750 ppp on its 4 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 28.6% of its misses as offensive rebounds while VANDERBILT was able to convert 40.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 7 of its 9 free throws in the first half [77.8%]. VANDERBILT hit 9-11 [81.8%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 15-28 overall [53.6%] and 3-10 from long range [30.0%]. For VANDERBILT, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 7-17 [41.2%] and from long range, VANDERBILT hit 7-12 [58.3%].
The Cats committed 4 turnovers, one for every 8.2 possessions. The Cats forced 6 Commodore turnovers, one for every 5.5 possessions.
The Cats open by missing their first 2 three point attempts, and Vandy makes a 3 point play at the other end to stretch the lead to 7 points. However, the Cats score the next 6 points to tie the score at 47-46 with 17:00 to play. When Jones missed his free throw, Miller was injured and went to the bench. At the end of the segment, Liggins was assessed his third foul, and Vandy will be shooting 2 free throws when play resumes with the score 47-46 at the under 16 TV timeout. After the Cats caught up at 51-51, Vandy hit is second three pointer on a second chance possession of the half to move out by 3 points, 54-51 at the under 12 TV and Vandy will have possession when play resumes.
In the third segment, after Vandy moved back out by 5 points, 56-51, the Cats outscored them 8-2 over the balance of the segment, including a three pointer by Liggins, to retake the lead by 1 point, 59-58 at the under 8 TV timeout with 7:15 to play in the game, and Jones set to shoot the one and bonus when play resumes. Jones made them, but 2-2 from three and 3-3 from the line propel Vandy back into a 3 point lead, 69-66 with 4:29 to play in the game. The Cats turn it over on the next possession, and Vandy makes them pay, up 5, 71-66. Jones ends the Vandy run with a basket, and a foul at the end of the 4 th segment, so the Cats are down 3, 71-68 at the under 4 TV timeout with 3:29 to play and Jones will have one free throw when play resumes.
After back to back UK turnovers turn into points for Vandy, Calipari calls a timeout with the Cats down 6 with 2:17 to play. The teams traded baskets and free throws down the stretch, and the Cats fall again on the road, by 4, 81-77.
UK scored its 77 points on 64 possessions for the game, and VANDERBILT scored its 81 points on 63 possessions.
Kentucky and Vandy battled on even terms on the boards, 31-31, and Kentucky won the offensive glass 12-10. However, Vandy won the second chance points battle 17-16. VANDERBILT had an offensive efficiency of 1.016 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 1.700 ppp for its 110 cond chance possessions. UK had 0.953 ppp on its 64 first chance possessions and 1.333 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 36.4% of its misses as offensive rebounds while VANDERBILT was able to convert 34.5% 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%]. VANDERBILT made 20-23 [87.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-60 overall [46.7%] and 7-23 from long range [30.4%]. For VANDERBILT, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 14-34[41.2%] and from long range, VANDERBILT hit 11-20 [55.0%].
The Cats committed 8 turnovers, one for every 8.0 possessions. The Cats forced 10 VANDERBILT turnovers, one for every 6.3 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 2 point UK loss, 70-72 at a pace of 71 possessions for UK and 71 possessions for VANDERBILT. The final score was 81 (72) to 77 (70) at a pace of 64 possessions for the Cats and 63 possessions for VANDERBILT. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.200 (A) and the UK defensive efficiency was 1.286 ppp (E).
Next Game On Schedule: The Cats will return to Rupp to take on Mississippi State on Tuesday, February 15.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks