BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2010-11 Season Analytical Writings
Over the last 2 months, Kentucky has lost 5 times on the road in the SEC by 4 points or less, and a sixth time by 7 points. In mid-season, the Cats took full advantage of the rematch with Georgia to avenge that loss when Georgia had to make an appearance at Rupp. As the season ended, they avenged two of those closer losses by defeating Florida and Vanderbilt at Rupp Arena, and on Friday, they avenged their 2 point loss at Mississippi.
That victory allows the Cats to advance to the SEC Semi-final round where they will get yet another late season opportunity to avenge yet another of these 2 point losses, this time against Alabama the regular season champions of the SEC West. The date with ‘Bama is now set for 1 pm on Saturday. Unfortunately, even if the Cats are successful on Saturday against Alabama, they will not have an opportunity to avenge their 6 th loss, a 1 pointer in overtime at Arkansas, because Arkansas packed its bags and returned to Fayetteville Thursday night after losing to Tennessee.
The SEC Tournament's first two rounds are now history, and the field of 12 has been pared down to only 4 teams who will meet on Saturday in the semi-final games. Kentucky will face off against Alabama as noted above, and Florida will take on a Vanderbilt team that is reeling with the loss of Jenkins to injury.
ALABAMA has played these games at an average pace of about 67 possessions, averaging 66.9 ppg and allowing 58.8 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.006 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.881 ppp. ALABAMA's turnover rate has been 21.5% while they have forced turnovers at a 23.6% rate. On the Boards, ALABAMA's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 37.6% and 66.3% 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 0.7264 while ALABAMA's is 0.5572
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 67 possessions for the Cats and 67 possessions for the Crimson Tide, with the Cats winning for the twenty-fourth time in thirty-two starts this season by 9 points, 71-62 The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.060 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.932 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 5-1.
Kentucky took the opening tip, and just as they did yesterday, went straight to Harrellson, who again drew the foul, but unlike yesterday, Josh made both free throws. After the teams traded scores to a 4-4 tie, the Cats went on a Doron Lamb led 10-4 run to take an early 6 point lead, 14-8, at the under 16 TV timeout with 13:35 to play in the first half. In this opening 6+ minutes, the Cats have hit 5 of 9 shots including 2 3 pointers by Lamb, and Alabama has hit 4 of 10 shots, and missed their only 3 point attempt thus far. In an abbreviated second segment, the Cats score 5 points on their only 3 possessions to extend their lead to 7 points, 19-12 at the under 12 TV timeout with 10:44 to play and Jones due to take 2 free throws when play resumes.
The early game pace is in the low to mid 60s. Each team has managed to grab 2 offensive rebounds, and the Cats have scratched out a 1-3 advantage on turnovers in the first 9 minutes of play. In the third segment, Alabama used a series of Kentucky fouls and turnovers to trim a 9 point lead, 21-12, to only 6 points, 21-15, at the under 8 TV timeout, and Alabama will have the ball with play resumes. During that sequence, Alabama's leading scorer Greene had to leave the game with his second foul, and UK's Lamb had to do likewise with 8:26 to play. Alabama is asserting itself on the boards with a 6-2 advantage on offensive rebounding, but the Cats have scored baskets following each of their offensive boards, and leads second chance points at this stage 4-3.
During the timeout, Alabama's Mitchell left the arena limping, and right after the play resumed, Hillman picked up his second foul. Alabama decided to bring Greene back into the game carrying 2 fouls with 5:50 to play after Liggins makes a 3 point play to extend the Kentucky lead to a game high 11 points, 26-15. The prolonged 4 th segment saw the Cats convert 3 Alabama turnovers, and 4 Kentucky Offensive rebounds into a 14 point lead, 33-19, at the under 4 TV with 2:09 to play in the first half, and Knight to shoot the bonus free throws when play resumes. The teams play out the final 2 minutes and the Cats take a 16 point lead into the locker room at the half, 37-21.
UK scored its 37 points with 29 possessions for the half, and ALABAMA scored its 21 points on 29 possessions. Kentucky won the rebounding battle, 19-16, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive rebounds 7-6. Kentucky won a 3 point advantage with the second chance points, 6-3. ALABAMA had an offensive efficiency of 0.621 ppp on its 29 first chance possessions and 0.500 ppp on its 6 second chances. Kentucky had an efficiency of 1.069 ppp on its 29 first chance possessions and 0.857 ppp on its 7 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 41.2% of its misses as offensive rebounds while ALABAMA was able to convert 33.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 7 of its 8 free throws in the first half [87.5%]. ALABAMA hit 1-1 [100.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 13-29 overall [44.8%] and 4-9 from long range [44.4%]. For ALABAMA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 10-25 [40.0%] and from long range, ALABAMA hit 0-4 [0.0%].
The Cats committed 3 turnovers, one for every 9.7 possessions. The Cats forced 6 Crimson Tide turnovers, one for every 4.8 possessions.
Alabama opens the second half with two run out baskets following a pair of UK missed shots to trim the lead to 12 points, 37-25, prompting a very quick Kentucky timeout with 18:52 to play in the game. However, out of the timeout, the Cats stop that Alabama mini-run and reestablish their 16 point halftime lead at 16 points, 44-28, at the under 16 TV timeout, and the Cats will have the ball when play resumes. Out of the timeout, Knight goes to war hitting a 3 pointer, his second in a row, and back to back baskets to extend UK's lead to 21 points, 51-30, with 13:43 to play, forcing another Alabama timeout. Out of the timeout, Alabama used a 3 point play to temporarily trim the lead back to 18, but the Cats then reasserted themselves to lead by 23 points, 58-35 at the under 12 TV timeout with 10:48 to play in the game. Alabama will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes.
In the abbreviated 3 rd segment, the Cats allow Alabama to trim 1 point from the lead, and the Cats have the ball and will be working with a 22 point lead, 60-38, following the under 8 TV timeout with 7:48 to play in the game. The 4 th segment ends with the Cats on top by 24 points, 69-45 and Alabama will be shooting the bonus free throws after the timeout with 3:49 to play in the game. The Cats play out the final segment to secure the semi-final win by 14 points, 72-58. However in the last segment, Liggins and Lamb both left the game due to ankle injuries, and it is unclear how serious either of these injuries may be looking toward Sunday's Championship game.
UK scored its 72 points on 59 possessions for the game, and ALABAMA scored its 58 points on 59 possessions.
Kentucky and Alabama battled to a stand off on the boards, 32-32 on total rebounds and 10-10 won on the offensive rebounds 10-10. Kentucky won the second chance points battle 8-5. ALABAMA had an offensive efficiency of 0.864 ppp on its 59 first chance possessions and 0.700 ppp for its 10 second chance possessions. UK had 1.085 ppp on its 59 first chance possessions and 0.889 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 29.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while ALABAMA was able to convert 30.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line hitting 9-14 [64.3%]. ALABAMA made 9-13 [69.2%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 27-54 overall [50.0%] and 9-20 from long range [45.0%]. For ALABAMA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 17-40[42.5%] and from long range, ALABAMA hit 5-13 [38.5%].
The Cats committed 7 turnovers, one for every 8.4 possessions. The Cats forced 10 ALABAMA turnovers, one for every 5.9 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 8 point UK win, 71-63 at a pace of 67 possessions for UK and 67 possessions for ALABAMA. The final score was 72 (71) to 58 (63) at a pace of 59 possessions for the Cats and 59 possessions for ALABAMA. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.220 (B+) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.983 ppp (D+).
Next Game On Schedule: The Cats will play Florida or Vanderbilt, the winner of the today's second semi-final game on Sunday afternoon in the SEC Tournament Championship Game in Atlanta.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks