BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2011-12 Season Analytical Writings
John Houseman became a regular visitor in American living rooms when he signed on to deliver the message that some things are not just given away, but must be earned “the old fashioned way.” I don't think John ever included basketball victories in Knoxville, Tennessee, but he should have. Visiting teams tend to leave Knoxville with their number of L's increased, rather than proudly leaving after earning a precious SEC road W “the old fashioned way.” Saturday afternoon, that is the message that I trust another John delivers to this group of wildcats, John Calipari that is. To defeat Tennessee in Knoxville must be earned. Just ask those Gators.
In basketball, the old fashioned way is by playing tough, hardnosed defense, working the boards at both ends of the floor, and protecting every precious possession by limiting turnovers. The Cats will put their 16-1, 2-0 record on the line when they take the floor on Saturday at noon. The Cats have have been 5-1 away from Lexington, and a perfect 11-0 at Rupp Arena. As difficult as the game on Wednesday really was against AUBURN, that will seem like a walk in the sun compared to the conditions that will greet the Cats Saturday in Knoxville. The Cats must be prepared and focused.
Tennessee enters this game with an 8-8 record, 1-1 in the early SEC play. On the road, the Vols are 0-4, and at neutral locations, the Vols are 1-2. However, at home, these Vols have been 7-2, and 1-0 in the early SEC with an 11 point win over #13 Florida to their credit one week ago. 1-6 away from Knoxville. However, the Vols have not been invincible in Knoxville, and their 2 losses have come at the hands of #94 Pittsburgh by 5 points and #189 Austin Peay by 4 points. Tennessee's most impressive victory has been last week's shocker over #13 Florida by 11 points, and their most disappointing loss has been the 4 point home loss to #189 Austin Peay.
Thompson Boling Arena has an official capacity of 21,678, but the largest home crowd to attend and watch Tennessee so far this season has been 17,689 last week to see the Vols beat the Gators, and their average home attendance has been only 16079 people. However, on Saturday afternoon, the Thompson Boling Arena will be more than capacity, and they will be more than ready deliver a big Tennessee Orange variety of hospitality to the Big Blue.
TENNESSEE has played its 16 games at an average pace of about 68 possessions, averaging 72.6 ppg and allowing 68.8 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.070 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 1.024 ppp. Contributing to those efficiencies are TENNESSEE's turnover and rebounding rates. TENNESSEE's turnover rate has been 19.4% while they have forced turnovers at a 17.8% rate. On the Boards, TENNESSEE's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 34.7% and 69.7% respectively. TENNESSEE's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.545.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first 17 opponents produced 71 possessions, and a score of 80.1 to 58.7 ppg for efficiencies of 1.135 ppp and 0.851 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. Contributing to those efficiencies are Kentucky's turnover and rebounding rates. UK's turnover rate is 18.9% and UK has forced turnovers at a 20.5% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 40.2% and 67.8% at the offensive and defensive ends. Kentucky's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.516.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 69 possessions for UK and 68 possessions for UT with the Cats winning their seventeenth game in eightteen starts this season by 10 points, 75-65. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.087 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.956 ppp.
Terrence Jones and Darius Miller will start along with the three freshmen. Doron Lamb will be the #6 man with Eloy Vargas, Kyle Wiltjer and Twany Beckham coming off the bench. No word provided why Coach Calipari has changed the lineup for this game.
After the Cats take the opening tip and score, Tennessee makes 2 3 pointers wrapped around a Kentucky turnover to take an early 6-2 lead. Davis responds with a pair of free throws and a dunk off a blocked shot at the Tennessee end. However, from the 6-6 score, Tennessee races out on an 8-2 run to take a 14-8 lead forcing Coach Calipari to call a timeout with 14:53 to play. Out of the timeout, Kidd-Gilchrist put it back in following a Jones miss, and Kidd-Gilchrist was fouled at the under 16 TV timeout with 14:30 to play in the first half. Kidd-Gilchrist will have the “and one” when play resumes.
Hi missed the free throw, and scoring in the second segment is hard to come by at both ends of the floor as the Cats manage to trim one point from the Tennessee lead, to 16-11 at the under 12 media timeout and with 11:18 to play. Tennessee will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes. In the third segment, both teams added 5 points to their game totals, and the Cats' Kidd-Gilchrist will be at the line for the bonus when play continues after the under 8 media timeout.
The pace through the first 12 minutes has been about 67 to 68. The Vols have the advantage on the glass and on turnovers in the early going. Out of the timeout, Kidd-Gilchrist made 1 of 2 free throws twice to trim the lead to 3 point, but after some very sloppy play by the Cats resulted in an uncontested Vol layup, Coach Calipari called a timeout with 6:35 to play and the Cats down 5 again, 23-18. After a Davis dunk pulled the Cats back to 3 points, Jones second foul allowed UT to pull back up by 5, 25-20. At that point, the Cats converted multiple Tennessee turnovers into points, both at the basket and from the free throw line to ease back on top, 26-25, at the under 4 media timeout, and the Cats will have the ball when play resumes.
During the 4 segment, each team had 9 possessions. While Tennessee did not miss a shot from the field or the line, they committed 7 turnovers on their 9 trips, as the Cats outscored the Vols 10-4 in the segment. Out of the timeout, Miller took the smaller defender in the lane to stretch Kentucky's lead to their highest for the game, 3 points, but a Tennessee 3 point play on the other end tied the game at 28-28. Tennessee scored the last 9 points of the half to convert a 3 point UK lead into a 6 point Tennessee lead at the half, 34-28.
UK scored its 28 points in a total of 35 possessions [0.800 points per possession] for the half, and TENNESSEE scored its 34 points on a total of 35 possessions [0.971 ppp]. TENNESSEE won the battle of the boards 21-15, and TENNESSEE won the battle of the offensive glass 5-4. Kentucky used their second chance possessions for a 5-2 advantage in second chance points. TENNESSEE had an offensive efficiency of 0.914 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 0.400 ppp for its 5 second chance possessions. UK had 0.657 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 1.250 ppp on its 4second chance possession. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a an anemic 20.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TENNESSEE was able to convert an average 31.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 10 of its 15 free throws in the first half [66.7%]. TENNESSEE was 12-17 [70.6%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 9-32 overall [36.0%] and 0-2 from long range [0.0%]. For TENNESSEE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 8-18 [44.4%] and from long range, TENNESSEE hit 2-6[33.3%].
The Cats committed 7 turnovers, one for every 5.0 possessions. The Cats forced 9 TENNESSEE turnovers, one for every 3.9 possessions.
Tennessee opens the second half with a missed shot, and the Cats use the opening period to trim the 6 point halftime lead in half, to 3 points, 37-34 at the under 16 media timeout and Tennessee in possession of the ball. Miller did not start the second half, but he enters the game during the timeout. Out of the timeout, Jones committed his 3 rd foul, and Tennessee made their second 3 pointer of the half, and 4 th 3 pointer of the game to go back up by 6 points, and following a Kentucky turnover, a runout basket put the Vols up by a game high 8 points, forcing Coach Calipari to call a timeout, with the Cats down by 8, 42-34. After the teams traded baskets a couple of possessions, the Cats scored the final 6 of the segment, to pull to within 2 points, 48-46, at the under 12 media timeout with 10:55 to play. Jones will be trying to complete the 3 point play from the line when play resumes.
Jones makes the free throw, but on Tennessee's next possession, Jones commits his 4 th foul. The Cats move up by 2 points on 4 free throws by Kidd-Gilchrist, but Tennessee answered to tie the score, 52-52 at the under 8 media timeout and 7:47 to play with the Cats in possession.
In the 4 th segment, the Cats fight and claw their way into their biggest lead of the day, 4 points, 58-54, prompting a Tennessee timeout with 4:46 to play in the game following a 3 pointer by Kidd-Gilchrist. After the timeout, Tennessee turns the ball over for the 15 th time of the game, but after a Davis miss, Jones commits his 5 th foul on the rebound, and must leave the game at the under 4 TV timeout with the Cats clinging to a 4 point lead, 58-54, and Tennessee with possession.
A pair of free throws by Lamb, coupled with three straight defensive stops gives the Cats their biggest lead, 6 point, 60-54, and the ball with 1:28 to play, and Coach Calipari calls a timeout to plan for the final 88 seconds of the game. Out of the timeout, the Cats miss their shot, but grab a valuable offensive rebound, and on the second chance, Davis scores from the baseline to lift the lead to 8 points, with 45 seconds to play. Tennessee calls a timeout. McBee makes a fall away 3 pointer to trim the lead to 5 points with 37 seconds to play, and Tennessee calls another timeout after the made basket. Each team has 1 timeout remaining. The Vols foul Lamb on the inbounds play, and Lamb missed the front end, and Tennessee's Tatum hit another long 3 pointer to trim the lead to 2 points with 28 seconds to play, and Tennessee uses their last timeout.
On the inbounds play, Kentucky can't get the ball in, and burn their last timeout of the game to protect the possession. The Cats get it inbounds, and Tennessee fouls Miller, who will shoot a pair, his first free throws of the game. Miller makes both, and following a Tennessee miss from long range, Tennessee fouls Kidd-Gilchrist who misses his first attempt and makes the second for a 5 point Tennessee closed out the scoring, as the Cats escape Knoxville for the second consecutive year with a win, 65-62.
UK scored its 65 points in a total of 65 possessions [1.000 ppp] for the game, and TENNESSEE scored its 62 points on a total of 66 [0.939 ppp].
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, 35-32, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 10-9. Kentucky won the second chance points battle 11-5. TENNESSEE had an offensive efficiency of 0.863 ppp on its 66 first chance possessions and 0.556 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.831 ppp on its 65 first chance possessions and 1.100 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed low 30.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TENNESSEE was able to convert only 26.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 21-29 [72.4%]. TENNESSEE made 14-20 [70.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 21-49 overall [42.9%] and 2-5 from long range [40.0%]. For TENNESSEE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 15-35 [42.9%] and from long range, TENNESSEE hit 6-17 [35.3%].
The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 5.0 possessions. The Cats forced 15 TENNESSEE turnovers, one for every 4.4 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 10 point UK win, 75-65 at a pace of 68 possessions for UK and 67 possessions for TENNESSEE. The final score was 65 (75) to 62 (65) at a pace of 65 possessions for the Cats and 66 possessions for TENNESSEE. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.000 (D+) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.939 ppp (C).
Next Game On Schedule: January 17, 2012 against Arkansas at Rupp Arenas as the Cats return home after this two game road adventure.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks