BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2011-12 Season Analytical Writings
Over the course of a 31 game college basketball season, there are only a handful of games each year the really matter, and when the Cats and Cards square off, that game must be included in the count regardless of the scheduled date, hour, or venue. This is it, the main event, and for the second consecutive season the Cats and the Cards will toss it up on New Years' Eve. How can any amount of preparation be enough? How can any amount of hype be too much? Two of the marquee programs of the sport, located 90 miles apart, sporting two of the bigger than life head coaches, representing two of the most rabid fan bases known to exist within a single state.
At stake for both – BRAGGING RIGHTS FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS.
#19 Louisville enters THE GAME with a 12-1 record, fresh off its first loss of the season on Wednesday to #14 Georgetown on its home floor by 3 points. In its first 13 games, the Cards have played at home except for a single excursion to #113 Butler where Louisville won by 16 on November 19. Louisville claims victories over #37 Long Beach State by 13, #49 Ohio by 5, and #56 Vanderbilt by 2 in OT. However, Louisville has played from behind in the second half of games against #108 College of Charleston and #251 Western Kentucky before prevailing in both games during the final 5 minutes.
The Cats also bring a 12-1 record into THE GAME, with their only blemish coming at the hands of #9 Indiana by 2 points in Bloomington. The Indiana trip has been the Cats' only venture into enemy territory so far this season, but they have left Rupp Arena for three of their 13 games at neutral venues where the Cats beat #7 Kansas by 10, #143 Penn. State by 38, and #134 Old Dominion by 10. The Cats also claim a 1 point win in Rupp over #5 North Carolina.
LOUISVILLE has played its 13 games at an average pace of about 69 possessions, averaging 72.8 ppg and allowing 58.0 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.052 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.846 ppp. Contributing to those efficiencies are LOUISVILLE's turnover and rebounding rates. LOUISVILLE's turnover rate has been 20.4% while they have forced turnovers at a 25.4% rate. On the Boards, LOUISVILLE's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 39.4% and 67.9% respectively. LOUISVILLE's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.486.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first 13 opponents produced 71 possessions, and a score of 82.5 to 59.1 ppg for efficiencies of 1.156 ppp and 0.845 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. Contributing to those efficiencies are Kentucky's turnover and rebounding rates. UK's turnover rate is 17.7% and UK has forced turnovers at a 20.9% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 38.2% and 68.2% at the offensive and defensive ends. Kentucky's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.495.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 70 possessions with the Cats winning their thirteenth game in fourteen starts this season by 14 points, 75-61. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.071 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.871 ppp.
For the fourth straight game, Terrence Jones is sitting due to his injured finger; however, according to Coach Calipari he is on the mend and will play today. Today, Senior Miller will start in Jones' place along with one sophomores [Lamb] and three freshmen [Marquis Teague, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Anthony Davis], with Eloy Vargas and Kyle Wiltjer off the bench. For the fourth time, transfer Twany Beckham is eligible to play for the Cats.
The Cards take the opening tip and quickly score the opening points, and the game is on. The Cats respond on their first trip with a Miller 3 pointer to take the lead, that stretched to 3 points, 5-2, and ended at 2 points, 8-6, at the under 16 TV timeout, and Louisville in possession of the ball. After the timeout, the Cats go on an 8-2 run to stretch their early lead to 8 points, 16-8, prompting a Louisville timeout with about 13 minutes to play in the first half. Out of the timeout, the teams battled without scoring to the under 12 TV timeout, and Louisville still in possession of the ball.
In the third segment, the teams traded baskets for the first 2 to 3 minutes, but a run by the Cats in the last minute of action, keyed by Kidd-Gilchrist's second 3 pointer of the game, sent the Cats on top by 12 points, 26-14 at the under 8 TV timeout and Terrence Jones scheduled to shoot 2 more free throws when play resumes. Out of the timeout, Terrence Jones missed both free throws and Louisville trimmed the lead to 10 points, 26-16 before a 3 point play by Lamb, and a run out basket by Teague off another Louisville turnover sent the Cats up by 15 points, 31-16, for a Louisville timeout with 5:10 to play. Out of the timeout, Louisville scores 8 straight points to trim the lead to 7 points, 31-24, at the under 4 TV timeout, and Louisville will be shooting the “and one” free throw after the timeout.
Out of the timeout, Louisville continues their run as Lamb picks up his 3 rd foul with just under 3 minutes remaining, and the score 31-29. Jones ends the Louisville run, but on the next rrip down, Teague commits his 3 rd foul with 2:16 to play in the first half. The teams played out the final 2:16 and the Cats took a 3 point lead, 36-33, to the locker room.
UK scored its 36 points in a total of 40 possessions [0.900 points per possession] for the half, and LOUISVILLE scored its 33 points on a total of 40 possessions [0.825 ppp]. Kentucky won the battle of the boards 25-15, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 9-3. Kentucky used their second chance possessions for a 9-0 advantage in second chance points. LOUISVILLE had an offensive efficiency of 0.825 ppp on its 40 first chance possessions and 0.000 ppp for its 3 second chance possessions. UK had 0.675 ppp on its 40 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 9 second chance possession. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a respectable 42.9% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LOUISVILLE was able to convert an very weak 15.8% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 17 of its 23 free throws in the first half [73.9%]. LOUISVILLE was 10-14 [71.4%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 8-29 overall [27.6%] and 3-9 from long range [33.3%]. For LOUISVILLE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 10-22 [45.5%] and from long range, LOUISVILLE University hit 1-5 [20.0%].
The Cats committed 10 turnovers, one for every 4.0 possessions. The Cats forced 10 LOUISVILLE turnovers, one for every 4.0 possessions.
The Cats open the second half with another turnover, but after a blocked shot at the other end, and a run out basket, the Cats ease back on top by 5 points, but Louisville scored the last 3 points of the opening segment to trim the lead to only 2, 38-36, at the under 16 TV timeout. During the segment, Coach Calipari was assessed a technical foul, and the foul totals continue to mount for both teams. In the second segment, Louisville drew even at 40-40, but the Cats scored the next 7 points to lead by 7, 47-40, at the under 12 TV timeout with 11:17 to play, and Louisville at the line for 2 when play resumes.
The third segment saw Louisville get to the free throw line 6 times, making 4, as the Cats added 1 point to their lead, 8 points, 56-48, with 6:40 to play after the under 8 TV timeout. In a short 4 th segment, the Cats added 2 more points to their lead, now at 10 points, 60-50 at the under 4 TV timeout and 3:41 to play in the game. When play resumes, Kidd-Gilchrist will be at the line to try to complete a 3 point play. The teams play out the final segment, and late flurry of scoring by Louisville in the last 15 seconds cut the 13 point lead to a final 7 point margin, 69-62
UK scored its 69 points in a total of 77 possessions [0.896 ppp] for the game, and LOUISVILLE scored its 62 points on a total of 77possessions [0.805 ppp].
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, 57-31, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 20-10. Kentucky won the second chance points battle 20-6. LOUISVILLE had an offensive efficiency of 0.727 ppp on its 77 first chance possessions and 0.600 ppp for its 10 second chance possessions. UK had 0.636 ppp on its 77 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 20 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 48.8% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LOUISVILLE was able to convert only 21.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 32-43 [74.4%]. LOUISVILLE made 18-27 [66.7%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 17-57 overall [29.8%] and 3-16 from long range [18.8%]. For LOUISVILLE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 16-44 [36.4%] and from long range, LOUISVILLE hit 4-18 [22.2%].
The Cats committed 21 turnovers, one for every 3.7 possessions. The Cats forced 14 LOUISVILLE turnovers, one for every 5.5 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 14 point UK win, 75-61 at a pace of 70 possessions for UK and 70 possessions for LOUISVILLE. The final score was 69(75) to 62 (61) at a pace of 77 possessions for the Cats and 77 possessions for LOUISVILLE. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 0.896(D-) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.805 ppp (B-).
Next Game On Schedule: January 3, 2012 against Arkansas Little Rock at Freedom Hall.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks