BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2010-11 Season Analytical Writings
Kentucky avenged every SEC loss except for its last one, to Arkansas in overtime. As a result, the Cats have again reached the SEC Tournament Championship game, and will play Florida on Sunday for that Crown in 2011. Kentucky and Florida split their regular season encounters, each winning on their home court, and this neutral court matchup will be the rubber match. The Cats did indeed handle Alabama in the semi-final with relative ease, but that win did not come without a price. In the last 90 seconds of that game, Kentucky had two of its 6 mainline players go down, and leave the game due to ankle injuries. Reports shortly after the game indicate that Liggins is probable for the Championship game, but that Lamb is doubtful. This added to the fact that Jones injured his ankle in the quarterfinal game on Friday leaves this UK team very thin, and in a precarious situation in which it must rely upon more significant playing time from at least Hood, and possibly Vargas and Polson.
FLORIDA has played these games at an average pace of about 66 possessions, averaging 71.9 ppg and allowing 62.7 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.093 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.956 ppp. FLORIDA's turnover rate has been 18.8% while they have forced turnovers at a 19.8% rate. On the Boards, FLORIDA's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 38.3% and 70.2% 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 0.7264 while FLORIDA's is 0.6943
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 67 possessions for the Cats and 67 possessions for the Gators, with the Cats winning for the twenty-fifth time in thirty-three starts this season by 2 points, 69-67. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.030 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 1.000 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 6-1. At the end of the Alabama game, two UK regulars sustained game ending ankle injuries, Liggins and Lamb. Reports from Atlanta suggest that Liggins will be able to go today, but Lamb is doubtful. Calipari returns Liggins to the starting lineup today, returning to the lineup that has posted a 15-6 record this season. Harrellson, Jones, Liggins, Miller, and Knight. How much playing time Lamb will get, and how much of his usual time will shift to Hood looms as the big question prior to this game.
The Gators get the opening tip, and turn the ball over to the Cats, and the Cats hit 5 of their first 6 shots, to race out to an early 7 point lead, 12-5, at the under 16 TV timeout. All 5 of the Gator points have come following missed shots, and offensive rebounds. Florida has committed 3 early turnovers, and grabbed 5 offensive rebounds. The Cats have gotten one offensive rebound, and no turnovers in the first 4 minutes. Out of the timeout, a pair of Jones free throws stretch the lead to 9 points, but back to back Gator 3 pointers cuts that lead to 3 points, 14-11, prompting a quick Kentucky timeout with14:50 to play. After the Cats answer with a 3 pointer of their own, the Gators score another 5 points to cut the lead to 1 point, 17-16. Lamb entered the game with 12:47 to play.
Lamb missed his first shot attempt, and it appears that the Cats have shifted to a zone defense with Lamb on top to limit the need for him to move laterally. At the under 12 TV timeout, the Cats continue to cling to a 1 point lead, 19-18, and the Gators have the ball with a chance to take their first lead of the game when play resumes. The Gators score and take their first lead, 18-17, and after trading baskets, the Gators move on top by 3 points, 24-21. However, Doron Lamb gets into the scoring action with a pair of free throws, and a basket to put the Cats back on top by 3 points, 27-24, at the under 8 TV timeout with the Gators in possession.
In the fourth segment, the teams both have difficulty scoring on their possessions. However, the Cats do manage to add 3 points to their total and the margin for a 6 point lead, 30-24 at the under 4 TV timeout, and Vargas scheduled to shoot a pair of free throws when play resumes. During the final segment, the Cats ease out to a 7 point lead after Vargas makes one of his free throws, but Florida trims that lead to 3 points before Lamb closes out the first half scoring to give the Cats a 5 point lead, 34-29 at halftime.
UK scored its 34 points with 28 possessions for the half, and FLORIDA scored its 29 points on 29 possessions. FLORIDA won the rebounding battle, 20-17, and FLORIDA won the battle of the offensive rebounds 10-6. FLORIDA won a 2 point advantage with the second chance points, 9-7. FLORIDA had an offensive efficiency of 0.690 ppp on its 29 first chance possessions and 0.900 ppp on its 10 second chances. Kentucky had an efficiency of 0.964 ppp on its 28 first chance possessions and 1.167 ppp on its 6 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 37.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while FLORIDA was able to convert 47.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 11 of its 14 free throws in the first half [78.6%]. FLORIDA hit 0-1 [0.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 10-24 overall [41.7%] and 3-9 from long range [33.3%]. For FLORIDA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 7-22 [31.8%] and from long range, FLORIDA hit 5-10 [50.0%].
The Cats committed 3 turnovers, one for every 9.3 possessions. The Cats forced 6 Gator turnovers, one for every 4.8 possessions.
The Gators open the second half with back to back turnovers, and Miller makes them pay at the other end with back to back baskets, the second being an and one opportunity, forcing a Florida timeout after just 0:54 into the second half and the Cats up 38-29 and Miller yet to shoot his free throw. Miller converted, and after another Gator miss, Knight made a layup to put the Cats up by 12 points before the Gators stop the Kentucky run. The 12 point lead stands at the end of the opening segment, 45-33 at the under 16 TV timeout and the Cats in possession of the ball. In that opening segment, the Cats hit 5-7 shots and got an offensive rebound and put back basket on one of their two misses. Florida was 2 for 5 with one offensive rebound and put back. However, the Gators committed 3 more turnovers in the first 4 minutes.
In a scoreless second segment, the Cats missed their 6 shots and one turnover, and the Gators made 1 of 4 shots and one turnover. The score at the under 12 TV timeout is 45-35 with 11:39 to play in the game. The Cats will have the ball when play resumes. The Cats outscore the Gators 6-4 in the third segment to ease their lead out to 12 points at the under 8 TV timeout, 51-39, after establishing their biggest lead for a possession at 14 points, 51-37. The Gators will have the ball when play resumes with 7:44 to play in the game. Out of the timeout, the Gators use a Kentucky turnover and missed shot to trim the lead to 8 points, 53-45, prompting a Kentucky timeout with 6:00 to play in the game.
In the 4 th segment, the Cats maintained their lead until the Gators ended the segment scoring with a 3 pointer to pull the margin back into single digits, 9 points, 58-49 at the under 4 TV timeout and the Cats in possession when play resumes. The Cats use 10-12 free throw shooting down the stretch to seal this game, and their 27 th SEC Tournament Championship by 16 points, 70-54.
UK scored its 70 points on 58 possessions for the game, and FLORIDA scored its 54 points on 60 possessions.
FLORIDA won the battle of the boards, 37-32 on total rebounds and 15-9 on the offensive rebounds. However, FLORIDA was not able to convert its rebounding advantage into an advantage with second chance points, as both teams got 13 of them. FLORIDA had an offensive efficiency of 0.683 ppp on its 60 first chance possessions and 0.867 ppp for its 15 second chance possessions. UK had 0.983 ppp on its 58 first chance possessions and 1.444 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 29.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while FLORIDA was able to convert 39.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit very well from the free throw line hitting 24-29 [82.8%]. FLORIDA made 3-8 [37.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 20-48 overall 41.7%] and 6-14 from long range [42.9%]. For FLORIDA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 15-37[40.5%] and from long range, FLORIDA hit 7-20 [35.0%].
The Cats committed 6 turnovers, one for every 9.7 possessions. The Cats forced 14 FLORIDA turnovers, one for every 4.3 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 3 point UK win, 70-67 at a pace of 67 possessions for UK and 67 possessions for FLORIDA. The final score was 70 (70) to 54 (67) at a pace of 58 possessions for the Cats and 60 possessions for FLORIDA. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.207 (B+) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.900 ppp (B-).
Next Game On Schedule: The Cats will play in the NCAA Tournament, and the seedings, opponent, location, date, and time of that game will be announced by the NCAA this evening.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks