BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2011-12 Season Analytical Writings
The past two Saturdays, the Kentucky schedule presented the most difficult back to back sequence of opponents that this season will see until the Cats reach the Elite 8-Final 4 tandem, separated by nearly a week in March, should it be so fortunate to survive the ordeal by single elimination to those levels. The Cats split the pair of tests, beating #4 North Carolina by 1 point, 73-72, at Rupp Arena, and losing to #14 Indiana by 1 point, 73-72, in Bloomington.
The Cats have had another one week break since they took one on the chin last Saturday, and they have spent their time (1) coming to terms with their first loss of this season, (2) taking their final exams for their first semester courses, and (3) preparing for their first “basketball only” period of focus and development. Each of these carry significance for the current team as it moves forward from its first loss toward its next scheduled challenge when #10 Louisville comes to Rupp Arena for the annual grudge match against “Little Brother” on December 31. Between then and now, the Cats will spend the next 14 days eating, drinking, sleeping, and living basketball now that classes and exams have ended. The Cats will incorporate their newest eligible member, Twany Beckham, into the playing rotation, and the Cats will focus their collective and individual attention on improving the efficiency of their game.
These are essential aspects of a Calipari led Kentucky basketball team and season. This is the time that the team should consolidate, unify, and bond, or in the parlance of sports' fans, “Gel.” The next 4 opponents are simply incidental to this process, all providing nothing more than test fodder for the New Year's Eve feast on Fried Redbirds. First among the 4 will be #262 Tennessee Chattanooga [UTC].
For the record, UTC comes to Rupp tonight with a 3-7 overall record, but two of their three wins have come at the expense of non-D1 opponents; over Warren Wilson by 52 points and this past Tuesday over Spalding by 50 points. The UTC D1 record is 1-7. In those 8 games, the Moccasins only win was over #254 Savannah State by 2 points at home. UTC has lost to a few names, familiar to the Cats: To #14 Indiana by 25 in Bloomington; To #125 Butler in Indianapolis; and To #257 Gardner-Webb by 2 in OT at home. UTC's most impressive loss to date was by 2 points in 2OT to #111 at the College of Charleston. This is the same CoC team that defeated the Tennessee Volunteers this past Wednesday evening in Charleston, and beat #66 Clemson by 3 points at Clemson.
UTC has played these games at an average pace of about 72 possessions, averaging 64.3 ppg and allowing 72.1 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 0.896 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 1.003 ppp. Contributing to those efficiencies are UTC's turnover and rebounding rates. UTC's turnover rate has been 22.7% while they have forced turnovers at a 20.3% rate. On the Boards, UTC's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 26.6% and 69.6% respectively. UTC's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.501.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first eight opponents produced 72 possessions, and a score of 81.2 to 58.8 ppg for efficiencies of 1.132 ppp and 0.834 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. Contributing to those efficiencies are Kentucky's turnover and rebounding rates. UK's turnover rate is 18.1% and UK has forced turnovers at a 21.6% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 38.6% and 67.0% at the offensive and defensive ends. Kentucky's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.599.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 72 to 71 possessions with the Cats and Moccasins, as the Cats get back on the winning track and posting their ninth win in ten starts this season by 38 points, 88-50. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.222 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.704 ppp.
For the ninth game in a row, 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. For the first time, transfer Twany Beckham is eligible to play for the Cats.
The Cats take the opening tip, and proceed to race out to a 13-0 lead before UTC finally scored its first basket, and the score stands at 16-2 at the under 16 TV timeout and UTC in possession. In the second segment, the Cats expanded their lead to 15 points, 20-5, but after UTC scored back to back baskets to trim the lead to 11 points, Coach Calipari called a timeout with 13:20 remaining in the first half. After the timeout, the Cats reestablish their lead at 15, 24-9, at the under 12 TV timeout with the Cats in possession when play resumes.
In the opening 8 minutes, Wiltjer and Miller have entered the game, and Jones gave way first for Wiltjer, and then after a finger injury to Miller. At the under 12 timeout, Teague was also on the bench, with Lamb running the point for the Cats. The Cats have opened tonight shooting 58%, 11-19 overall, and 2-5 from the arc while UTC has hit only 4-15. In the third segment, Wiltjer picked up his 2 nd foul of the game, and had to retire to the bench for Jones as the Cats stretched their lead to 20 points, 29-9, at the under 8 TV timeout. Each team has committed 4 turnovers, and the Cats have gained a 6-3 advantage on the offensive glass, and 18-8 advantage in total boards through 12 minutes of play.
The Cats could not expand their lead beyond the 20 points in the 4 th segment, as UTC trimmed the lead to 14 points, 33-19, before a 3 pointer by Lamb extended the lead back to 17 points, 36-19 at the under 4 TV timeout with the Cats in possession. The teams finish the first half on essentially even terms in the final segment, as the Cats take a 16 point lead, 39-23, at the half.
UK scored its 39 points in a total of 39 possessions [1.000 points per possession] for the half, and UTC scored its 23 points on a total of 37 possessions [0.622 ppp]. Kentucky won the battle of the boards 25-19, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 8-7. Kentucky used their second chance possessions for a 13-5 advantage in second chance points. UTC had an offensive efficiency of 0.486 ppp on its 37 first chance possessions and 0.714 ppp for its 7 second chance possessions. UK had 0.667 ppp on its 39 first chance possessions and 1.625 ppp on its 8 second chance possession. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 40.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while UTC was able to convert a below average 29.2% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 1 of its 2 free throws in the first half [50.0%]. UTC was more effective from the line, making 5-7 [71.4%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 17-38 overall [44.7%] and 4-16 from long range [25.0%]. For UTC, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was weak, 6-21 [28.6%] and from long range, UTC University hit 2-11 [18.2%].
The Cats committed 8 turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions. The Cats forced 9 UTC turnovers, one for every 4.1 possessions.
The Cats open play in the second half going inside to Miller, who started in place of Terrence Jones. Miller drew a quick foul, but only converted 1 of his 2 shots. A basket by Teague, following an UTC miss extended the Cats' lead to 19 points in the opening minute of the second half. For the balance of the segment, the teams traded scores and the Cats led by 18 points, 53-35, at the under 16 TV timeout. In the second segment, the Cats rode 3-5 shooting from long range to move out to its biggest lead, 29 points, 66-37, just prior to a UTC basket closed out the segment scoring with the Cats up by 27 points and UTC to shoot the “and one” free throw after the timeout. In the third segment, the Cats maintained their lead in the 26 to 29 point range, and settled for a 26 point lead, 74-48, at the under 8 TV timeout.
In the 4 th segment, the Cats move out by 32 points for the first time in the game, 85-53 at the under 4 TV timeout. The play out the final 4 minutes as the Cats win by 25, 87-62.
UK scored its 87 points in a total of 76 possessions [1.145 ppp] for the game, and UTC UNIVERSITY scored its 62 points on a total of 73possessions [0.849 ppp].
Kentucky won the battle of the Boards, 42-36, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 12-11. Kentucky won the second chance points battle as well, 17-9. UTC had an offensive efficiency of 0.726 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 0.818 ppp for its 11second chance possessions. UK had 0.921 ppp on its 76 first chance possessions and 1.417 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a weak 32.4% of its misses as offensive rebounds while UTC was able to convert 26.8% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 9-14 [64.3%]. UTC made 12-17 [70.6%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 33-68 overall [48.5%] and 12-33 from long range [36.4%]. For UTC, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 13-35 [37.1%] and from long range, UTC hit 8-27 [29.6%].
The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 5.8 possessions. The Cats forced 15 UTC turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 38 point UK win, 88-50 at a pace of 72 possessions for UK and 71 possessions for UTC. The final score was 87 (88) to 62 (50) at a pace of 76 possessions for the Cats and 73 possessions for UTC. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.145(D+) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.849 ppp (D-).
Next Game On Schedule: December 20 against Samford at Rupp Arena.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks