BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2010-11 Season Analytical Writings
Way back in October, before this team laced up their sneakers and donned their blue and while uniforms against a real opponent, I predicted a 24-6 record, including 12-2 non-conference and 12-4 in the SEC. That was based upon an assumption that Enes Kanter would eventually join this team and become an impact player before season's end. However, the NCAA had other ideas about Enes Kanter, and Ole Miss and Arkansas had other ideas about losing to the Cats, and the record ended 22-8 [12-2; 10-6].
Now it is March, and the focus of the entire college basketball world shifts first to conference post season tournaments, and then to the Big Dance, March Madness. For the record, my pre-season prediction was for a 3-0 SEC Tournament run, and a 3-1 NCAA run, with a loss in the Elite 8. First up, the SEC Tournament with the Cats starting with a Quarterfinal round matchup against the winner of the Mississippi-South Carolina first round game. If the Cats advance to the semi-final round, they will probably face Alabama, but Georgia may have something to say about that as well. These first two SEC Tournament games, if it is Ole Miss and Alabama, will give these Cats back to back opportunities to avenge previous 2 point road losses. If they get their revenge, and I believe they will, the Cats would advance to the Championship game for the second year in a row under Calipari, and most likely face either Florida or Vanderbilt.
There is a lot of basketball to be played before we can know who will play Sunday afternoon for this tournament championship, and there will almost certainly be upsets along the way, perhaps as many as 3. But, that is what makes the post season so entertaining.
MISSISSIPPI has played these games at an average pace of about 68 possessions, averaging 74.4 ppg and allowing 69.1 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.091 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 1.014 ppp. MISSISSIPPI's turnover rate has been 18.7% while they have forced turnovers at a 19.3% rate. On the Boards, MISSISSIPPI's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 35.7% and 68.2% respectively.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first thirty opponents produced 68 possessions, and a score of 76.8 to 64.3 ppg for efficiencies of 1.130 ppp and 0.944 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. UK's turnover rate is 16.1% but UK only forced turnovers at a 18.2% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 35.6% and 69.4% at the offensive and defensive ends.
Kentucky's current Pomeroy SOS value is 0.7235 while MISSISSIPPI's is 0.5898
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 68 possessions for the Cats and 68 possessions for the Rebels, with the Cats winning for the twenty-third time in thirty-one starts this season by 10 points, 76-66. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.118 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.971 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 15-6. After one game with Miller coming off the bench following his injury, Miller returns to the starting lineup for the South Carolina game, but Liggins came off the bench. Coach Calipari starts Knight, Jones, Miller, Lamb, and Harrellson, and Liggins will come off the bench for the 4-1.
The Cats take the opening tap and take it inside to Harrellson who draws a quick foul, and after he makes 1 of 2 shots, the Cats then hit their first 4 shots, including a 3 pointer by Miller to give the Cats an early 10-2 lead. However, Miller also picks up 2 quick fouls with 16:51 to play in the first half, and Miller must go to the bench. Right at the end of the first segment, Jones turned his ankle, and the Cats lead 11-4 at the under 16 TV timeout. Out of the timeout, Lamb hits a 3 pointer to extend the Cats' lead to a game high 10 points, but Mississippi responded with back to back 3 pointers of its own to trim the lead to only 4 points, 14-10 prompting a UK timeout.
A third 3 pointer in the segment by Mississippi trims the UK lead to one point, 16-15 before Lamb closes out the segmental scoring with his second 3 pointer of the game to give the Cats a 4 point lead, 19-15, at the under 12 TV timeout with 11:12 to play. The Cats will have the ball when play resumes. In the third segment, neither team managed to shoot the ball well, and both teams crashed the boards for second and third opportunities on one of their 5 possessions, as the Cats eased back out by 6 points, 25-19, at the under 8 TV timeout, and the Cats will have the ball under their own basket when play resumes.
In the 4 th segment, the Cats moved into deeper foul trouble as Jones and Liggins both picked up their second foul, and Miller was called back into service, already carrying 2 of his own. The Cats managed to add 2 points to their lead in the segment to lead by 8 points, 34-26, at the under 4 TV timeout with 3:15 to play. Ole Miss will have the ball when play resumes. Lamb made a driving basket and was fouled but he missed the free throw that would have given the Cats their biggest lead at 11 points, and 3 pointer by Warren closed out the scoring in the first half with the Cats leading by 7 points, 36-29.
UK scored its 36 points with 34 possessions for the half, and MISSISSIPPI scored its 29 points on 34 possessions. Kentucky won the rebounding battle, 21-18, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive rebounds 5-4. Kentucky won a 4 point advantage with the second chance points, 6-2. MISSISSIPPI had an offensive efficiency of 0.794 ppp on its 34 first chance possessions and 0.500 ppp on its 4 second chances. Kentucky had an efficiency of 0.882 ppp on its 34 first chance possessions and 1.200 ppp on its 5 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 26.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI was able to convert 20.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 5 of its 9 free throws in the first half [55.6%]. MISSISSIPPI hit 7-8 [87.5%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 14-31 overall [45.2%] and 3-10 from long range [30.0%]. For MISSISSIPPI, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 5-16 [31.3%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI hit 4-13 [30.8%].
The Cats committed 5 turnovers, one for every 8.5 possessions. The Cats forced 5 Rebel turnovers, one for every 8.5 possessions.
The Cats open the second half hitting 4 of their first 6 shots, but 2 missed free throws by Knight, and two Cat turnovers allow Mississippi to trim a 10 point lead to only 6 points at the under 16 TV timeout, with Miller scheduled to shoot a pair of free throws when play resumes with 15:47 to play in the game and the Cats on top 45-39. Out of the timeout, Miller makes both of his shots, and the Cats convert a pair of Mississippi missed shots into baskets, to extend their lead to a game high 12 points, 51-39, prompting a Mississippi turnover with 14:45 to play. However, Warren goes to war and scores the next 7 points to cut that lead back to only 5 points, 51-46. On the next possession, Knight loses the ball at midcourt for another run out basket for Mississippi to cut the lead to only 3 points, prompting Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 12:31 to play and the score 51-48. After Harrellson ends the Mississippi run with a basket, Mississippi hits another 3 pointer to cut the lead to only 2 points, 53-51, and a basket by Miller eased the Cats back up by 4 points at the under 12 TV timeout with 11:00 to play in the game and Mississippi in possession of the ball.
Out of the timeout, Mississippi misses a 3 pointer, but gets the offensive rebound and is fouled by Jones on the put back attempt, Jones 4 th foul. In the 3 rd segment, the teams trade baskets with the lead moving between 4 and 6 points, and ended the segment at 6 points, 62-56 at the under 8 TV timeout with 7:42 to play and Mississippi to shoot the bonus when play resumes. In the 4 th segment, after the Cats eased back on top by 8 points, Mississippi cut it to 5 points and the ball at the under 4 TV timeout, 66-61.
Out of the timeout, Mississippi scores to trim the lead to 3 points, and a Liggins turnover gives Mississippi the ball in a one possession game and 2:40 to play. The Cats make free throws [Knight] down the stretch and Mississippi is unable to make the 3 pointers to close the gap, as the Cats finish the game with a 9 point win, 75-66.
UK scored its 75 points on 73 possessions for the game, and MISSISSIPPI scored its 66 points on 71 possessions.
Kentucky won the battle of the boards 43-36, but MISSISSIPPI won the offensive rebounds 10-9. Kentucky won the second chance points battle 10-7. MISSISSIPPI had an offensive efficiency of 0.831 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 0.700 ppp for its 10 second chance possessions. UK had 0.890 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 1.111 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 25.7% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI was able to convert 22.7% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line hitting 15-23 [65.2%]. MISSISSIPPI made 18-25 [72.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-59 overall [47.5%] and 4-16 from long range [25.0%]. For MISSISSIPPI, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 12-29[41.4%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI hit 8-30 [26.7%].
The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 6.6 possessions. The Cats forced 10 MISSISSIPPI turnovers, one for every 7.1 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 11 point UK win, 76-65 at a pace of 68 possessions for UK and 68 possessions for MISSISSIPPI. The final score was 75 (76) to 66 (65) at a pace of 73 possessions for the Cats and 71 possessions for MISSISSIPPI. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.027 (D+) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.930 ppp (B-).
Next Game On Schedule: The Cats will play Alabama, the winner of the today's first quarterfinall game on Saturday afternoon in the SEC Tournament in Atlanta in the Semi- Final Round.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks