BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2011-12 Season Analytical Writings
Last Friday night, the 2011-12 version of Cal's Cats passed their first test in the friendly confines of Rupp Arena, beating a weak MARIST team 108-58. The initial performance earned them a grade of “B-” for their offensive effort and a “D+“at the defensive end of the floor. The reason:
Please note that a grade of “C” in this system of grading means that the team performed “as anticipated” rather than “average” and “as anticipated” is a good outcome because the anticipated performance levels are based on average statistical performance measures. Grades better than “C” mean the Team must performed at elevated levels to earn grades better than “C.” Similarly, when teams perform at depressed levels, they will receive grades below “C.” As the average performance measures improve over time, the anticipated levels of performance increase.. Therefore, the grading scale is not static.
In the first game, Kentucky had some bright spots, but the overall performance also identified areas of concern. The most significant observations from the PORTLAND game include:
Overall, a 50 point win over MARIST keepS my outlook for 2011-12 very high for this team. As we saw last year, Coach Calipari places his early coaching emphasis upon teaching his offense, and defensive teaching [and efficiency] lags. The MARIST performance is completely consistent with this coaching approach, and we all know from Coach Calipari's record that he not only knows how to coach great defense, his teams in the recent past have performed at the best levels at the defensive end of the court. Furthermore, Coach Calipari has said that he wants [read expects] this team to be the best defensive unit in the country this year.
This Tuesday night, the Cats have a date in Madison Square Garden in the State Farm Champions Classic's second game, following a Michigan State matchup with Duke.
Last year, Kansas finished 35-3 with a Pomeroy rating of #3, having won the Big 12 regular season championship, the Big 12 Tournament Championship, and advancing to the NCAA Elite 8 before falling to Virginia Commonwealth by 10 as one of the Tournament's #1 Seeds. In 2010, Kansas finished 33-3, #2, before falling upset victim to Northern Iowa by 2 points in the NCAA second round. In 2009, Kansas finished 27-8, #10, and ended their season in the Sweet 16 to Michigan State by 5 Pts. In 2008, Kansas finished 37-3, #1, and defeated Coach Calipari's Memphis team in the NCAA Championship game.
The reason for this review of recent Kansas basketball history is to establish that Kansas has been a regular consistent player on the national stage, and every basketball fan is also aware of Kansas' place in college basketball history and tradition spanning many decades. The Kansas basketball program is one of the “blue bloods” of the game, as is Kentucky's. This is a matchup of programs, not individual players who currently wear these respective uniforms.
Kansas enters this game rated #11 by Pomeroy with a 1-0 record, and two impressive exhibition outings to their early credit. On Friday night, Kansas whipped Towson 100-54 in a game played at a pace of 69 possessions. That corresponds to offensive, defensive, and net game efficiencies of 1.449 ppp, 0.783 ppp, and 0.666 ppp respectively. Towson is currently rated #320.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against MARIST produced 75 possessions, and a score of 108-58 for efficiencies of 1.440 ppp and 0.773 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends, with a Net Game Efficiency of 0.667 ppp. MARIST is currently rated #314.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 75 possessions with the Cats winning by 4 points, 73-69. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 0.973 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.920 ppp.
It seems that Terrence Jones has worked his way out of the Calipari dog house, and will get back into the starting lineup for the game. Coach Calipari will start Jones, Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, and Doron Lamb. Miller sits to start the game.
The Cats open very cold from the field and tentative, hitting only 1 of their first 5 shots. Kansas on the other hand opens by hitting 4 of their first 6 shots to move out to any early 9-3 lead at the under 16 TV timeout. After the timeout, Kansas extended their early lead to 7 points, 10-3, but the Cats scored 8 straight to regain the lead, 11-10, prompting a Kansas timeout with 11:37 to play in the first half. The Cats' run began when Darius Miller entered the game. Out of the timeout, Kentucky inserted Vargas and Wiltjer into the game, and Vargas fouled on the first Kansas possession, leading to the under 12 TV timeout, and Kansas in possession of the ball.
In the third segment, Kansas regained the lead, and ran their lead back to 7 points, 21-14, prompting a Kentucky timeout. In the first 12 minutes of this game, the Cats have committed 9 turnovers in only 23 total possessions. Out of the timeout, the Cats went inside for a basket by Jones, and on the next trip down the court, Jones stole the ball and ran out for a layup basket to trim the Kansas lead to 3 points, 21-18 at the under 8 TV timeout with about 6 ½ minutes to play in the first half, and Kansas scheduled to shoot a pair of free throws when play resumes.
In the fourth segment, the teams traded baskets and turnovers, and the margin remains at 3 point, 24-21 at the under 4 TV timeout with 3:53 to play in the first half. When play resumes, Anthony Davis will be shooting a free throw to attempt to complete a 3 point play. The teams finished the first half tied at 28-28.
UK scored its 28 points in a total of 35 possessions [0.800 points per possession] for the half, and KANSAS scored its 28 points on a total of 35 possessions [0.800 ppp]. Kentucky won the battle of the boards 19-15 primarily on the strength of an 9-5 advantage on the offensive glass. The Cats used their 9 second chance possessions to score 9 second chance point while KANSAS used its 5 second chance to score 6 second chance points. KANSAS had an offensive efficiency of 0.629 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 1.200 ppp for its 5 second chance possessions. UK had 0.543 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 47.4% of its misses as offensive rebounds while KANSAS was able to convert an average 33.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 7 of 12 free throws in the first half, [58.3%]. KANSAS hit 3-6 [50.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 10-27 overall [37.8%] and 1-6 from long range [16.7%]. For KANSAS, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 8-18[44.4%] and from long range, KANSAS hit 3-8 [37.5%].
Turnovers were in great supply in this first half. The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 2.7 possessions. The Cats forced 11 KANSAS turnovers, one for every 3.2 possessions.
Kentucky opened the scoring in the second half to ease back on top by 2 points, just as they did at the start of the game, and Kansas responded with a quick basket of their own. Then the Cats got back to back baskets by Jones and Davis around a Kansas turnover to establish Kentucky's biggest lead of the game, 4 points, 34-30, prompting a quick Kansas timeout just 2 minutes into the second half. Out of the timeout, the Cats continued their run to 9 straight points, and a 9 point Kentucky lead, 39-30, prompting a second quick Kansas timeout with 17:15 to play in the game. After the second timeout, the teams finished the first segment scoreless and the Cats continue to lead by 9 points, 39-30 at the under 16 TV timeout, and Kansas in possession of the ball.
In the second segment, the Cats continued to pull away from Kansas and take control of the game. At the under 12 TV timeout, the Cats lead by 14 points, 51-37, and Kansas in possession of the ball. In the first 8 minutes of the second half, the Cats have made 10 of their 15 shots, and have not committed a single turnover. In contrast, Kansas has made only 3 of 12 shots and has committed 3 more turnovers. Out of the timeout, Kansas commits another turnover, and Doron Lamb's 4 th three pointer extends the Kentucky lead to 17 points, prompting another Kansas timeout. Out of the timeout, Kansas goes to war and trims the 17 point lead to 12, but a basket by Miller stopped the run, and pushed the Cats back on top by 14 points, 59-45 at the under 8 TV timeout, and Miller will shoot one free throw after the timeout to try to complete the three point play.
With 6:11 to play, there was an altercation between players from each team following a scramble for a rebound under the Kansas basket. However, no fouls called, and Kentucky awarded the possession. In the 4 th segment, the teams traded baskets and the Cats maintained their lead at 14 points, 66-52 at the under 4 TV timeout. The Cats finish the job with a 10 point win, 75-65.
UK scored its 75 points in a total of 73 possessions [1.027 ppp] for the game, and KANSAS scored its 65 points on a total of 72 possessions [0.903 ppp].
Kansas won the boards, with a rebounding edge 39-34, and KANSAS won the battle of the offensive glass 14-8. Kentucky won the second chance points battle 11-8. KANSAS had an offensive efficiency of 0.792 ppp on its 72 first chance possessions and 0.571 ppp for its 14 second chance possessions. UK had 0.877 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 1.375 ppp on its 8 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a weak 24.2% of its misses as offensive rebounds while KANSAS was able to convert a strong 35.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 16-29 [55.2%]. KANSAS made 21-27 [77.8%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 26-51 overall [51.0%] and 7-15 from long range [46.7%]. For KANSAS, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a fair 16-44 [36.4%] and from long range, KANSAS hit 4-15 [26.7%].
Turnovers were in great supply in this game. The Cats committed 19 turnovers, one for every 3.8 possessions. The Cats forced 14 KANSAS turnovers, one for every 5.1 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 4 point UK win, 73-69 at a pace of 75 possessions for each team. The final score was 75 (73) to 65 (69) at a pace of 72 to 73 possessions . The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.027 ppp (B-) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.903 ppp (B-). Remember the “grades” discussion at the top of this analysis?
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon when the Cats will play Penn State in the first round of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks