BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2011-12 Season Analytical Writings
The Cats are undefeated through their first 4 games, and in their first three games, the Cats outperformed “the numbers” by substantial margins. As noted prior to Sunday's game against Old Dominion, the early season numbers are strong enough to merit Pomeroy's #1 rating, but the numbers do reveal some chinks in the Cat amour: turnovers, rebounding and free throw shooting.
Through the first 4 games, the Cats have made only 63% of their free throw attempts. This trend is completely consistent with the 63% of free throws this team made during its two exhibition games this season. This is the lowest free throw percentage for a UK team since 62.3% during the 2001-02 season.
Through the first 4 games, the Cats' turnover rate is over 20%, and in two games, has exceeded 25%. The NCAA D1 average turnover rate was 19.3% in 2010-11. So, at this stage, the turnover rate is average, and I would attribute that to the inexperience of the point guard, Marquis Teague. However, I do not believe this situation is substantially different from the turnover rates early in the last two season, but bears watching and Marquis Teague's development as the point guard.
Rebounding issues are a little more subtle, but concerning nonetheless. The Cats have averaged 42.5 rebounds per game, of which, 11.5 are on the offensive glass. Their opponents have managed to grab only 34.5 rebounds per game, but a whopping 14.0 per game on the offensive glass. First, this is Calipari's first UK team to lose the overall battle of the offensive glass, but more importantly, this team's offensive rebounding rate [percentage of misses grabbed as offensive rebounds] is the lowest of the Calipari era, and opponents' offensive rebounding rate is the highest.
Granted, it is early in the 2011-12 season, and there are only 4 games in the books. However, these early trends often rear their ugly heads throughout a season, and present flaws that eventually prove to be fatal. Over the next 10 days, as the Cats prepare for their next sequence of games that will reveal their flaws: St Johns, North Carolina, and at Indiana.
The next opportunity for the Cats to work on these aspects of their game will be Wednesday night at Rupp Arena when Radford comes to town. Last year, Radford University finished with a 5-24 overall record, and 2-16 in the Big South Conference. However, three of Radford's wins came at the expense of non-D1 opponents, and their only two D1 wins were over #312 High Point by 5 and #229 Winthrop by 1. Radford ended last season rated #331.
RADFORD UNIVERSITY brings a 3-3 record and a Pomeroy #313 rating into their encounter with #1 Kentucky. RADFORD UNIVERSITY has beaten #203 Delaware by 4, and non-D1 opponents Shenandoah and Central Pennsylvania. The Radford losses have been to #128 Penn State by 16, #136 Long Island by 22, and #293 Marist by 13. RADFORD UNIVERSITY has played their early season games at a pace of only 65 possessions, scoring just below 52.5 ppg and allowing about 64.3 ppg for efficiencies of 0.809 ppp on offense and 0.987 ppp on defense. The RADFORD UNIVERSITY schedule strength stands at 0.448 heading into this game.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance through their first 4 games have been played at an average pace of about 71 possessions, with average scoring of 81.0 ppg by the Cats and 57.1 ppg by the two opponents. That corresponds to efficiencies of 1.135 ppp and 0.822ppp at the offensive and defensive ends respectively. The Cats currently have a schedule strength of 0.597.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 67 to 68 possessions with the Cats winning by 43 points, 85-42. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.250 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.627 ppp.
For the fourth straight game, Coach Calipari is starting two sophomores [Jones and Lamb] and three freshmen [Marquis Teague, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Anthony Davis], with Darius Miller coming off the bench with Eloy Vargas and Kyle Wiltjer.
It is Thanksgiving, and many folks enjoy various flavors of turnovers, but the turnover fest in the opening 4 minutes of this game is not exactly what most UK fans had hoped to enjoy. The first segment saw 8 possessions for each team, and between them, they committed 7 turnovers as the Cats crawled out to a 4-0 lead. In the second period, the Cats' shooting picked up a little, but the turnovers continue to mount for both teams, and through almost 9 minutes, the teams have committed 12 turnovers in 34 total possessions, as the Cats stretch their early lead to 12 points, 12-0, at the under 12 TV timeout with 11:15 to play in the first half.
In the third segment, Radford finally scored their first points, 4 of them on second chance opportunities, as the Cats moved out to a 22-6 lead at the under 8 TV timeout. In the 4 th segment, the Cats outscored Radford 9-2 to extend their lead to 23 points, 31-8, at the under 4 TV timeout. The teams play the final segment of the first half, much the same as the last 2 segments, and the Cats go to the locker room with a 31 point lead, 45-14.
UK scored its 45 points in a total of 39 possessions [1.154 points per possession] for the half, and RADFORD UNIVERSITY scored its 14 points on a total of 38 possessions [0.368 ppp]. Kentucky won the battle of the boards 29-20 but RADFORD UNIVERSITY fought on the offensive glass, limiting Kentucky to a10-8 advantage. The Cats used their 10 second chance possessions to score 10 second chance point while RADFORD UNIVERSITY used its 8 second chance to score 8 second chance points. RADFORD UNIVERSITY had an offensive efficiency of 0.156 ppp on its 38 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 0.897 ppp on its 39 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 45.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while RADFORD UNIVERSITY was able to convert a poor 29.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 7 of 7 free throws in the first half, [100.0%]. RADFORD UNIVERSITY hit 2-2 [100.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 18-40 overall [45.0%] and 2-7 from long range [28.6%]. For RADFORD UNIVERSITY, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 6-21[28.6%] and from long range, RADFORD UNIVERSITY hit 0-13 [0.0%].
Turnovers were in great supply in this first half. The Cats committed 6 turnovers, one for every 6.5 possessions. The Cats forced 11RADFORD UNIVERSITY turnovers, one for every 3.5 possessions.
The Cats make their first 4 shots, and first 2 free throws of the second half, and extend their lead to 38 points, 56-18, prompting a Radford timeout with 16:44 to play. After the timeout, the Cats added one point to the lead, 59-20, at the under 16 TV timeout with 14:57 to play in the game. In the short second segment, the Cats added a pair of points to their lead, 41 points, 63-22 at the under 12 TV timeout with 11:33 to play in the game. In the third segment, the Scoring was 11-6, as the lead stretched out to 46 points, 74-28 at the under 8 TV timeout with 6:45 to play in the game.
In the 4 th segment, the Cats extended their lead to 49 points, 86-37 to the under 4 TV timeout with 2:11 to play in the game. The teams finished out the game with the Cats winning 88-40.
UK scored its 88 points in a total of 74 possessions [1.189 ppp] for the game, and RADFORD UNIVERSITY scored its 40 points on a total of 73 possessions [0.548 ppp].
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 51-30, and UK won the battle of the offensive glass 15-12. Kentucky converted its 15 second chance possessions into 14 points, and RADFORD UNIVERSITY used their 12 second chances to score 12 points. RADFORD UNIVERSITY had an offensive efficiency of 0.384 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 1.000 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 0.933 ppp on its 15 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 45.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while RADFORD UNIVERSITY was able to convert a weak 25.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit very well from the free throw line in this game, making 21-24 [87.5%]. RADFORD UNIVERSITY made 4-5 [80.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 31-62 overall [50.0%] and 5-15 from long range [33.3%]. For RADFORD UNIVERSITY, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a fair 15-40 [37.5%] and from long range, RADFORD UNIVERSITY hit 2-25 [8.0%].
Turnovers were in great supply in this game. The Cats committed 16 turnovers, one for every 4.6 possessions. The Cats forced 18 RADFORD UNIVERSITY turnovers, one for every 4.1 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a43 point UK win, 85-42 at a pace of 68 possessions for each team. The final score was 88 (85) to 40 (42) at a pace of 73 to 74 possessions. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.189 ppp (D+) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.548 ppp (B-).
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday night when the Cats will play Portland at Rupp Arena.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks