BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2011-12 Season Analytical Writings
Last Saturday night, for the capstone event of the week's College Gameday, the Cats displayed a grittiness and determination to earn a 6 point win in Nashville over a tough VANDERBILT team in their building. The Cats now stand at 25-1, 11-0 in SEC play including 6 SEC road wins to its 2012 credit. Five regular season games remain, and among those final five games are the final two road trips, first to Mississippi State and then to Florida for the final game of the season. However, it is essential to avoid the fatal mistake of looking ahead when VANDERBILT is due in Rupp Arena this Saturday afternoon, and the Cats need to take care of that business before hitting the road again.
Saturday to Saturday between real games for the second time this season. The first time the Cats had the week off, their performance at the tail end of the Saturday tandems was as if they figured they could take the game off as well. Therefore, Coach Calipari changed routines this week, the team's annual SEC Bye week, by holding a scrimmage open to students and televised for the Big Blue Nation to soak it all in. When ESPN got wind of this plan, they decided to broadcast the practice on ESPNU for the world to enjoy.
Much has been made of the final 7 game sequence for this season because those 7 games include Florida twice, VANDERBILT twice, and the trip to Mississippi State fit right in the middle. Many observers figured this team could lose 3 or more game in this final push to the finish. The Cats handled Florida in Rupp with ease, and while the final margin in Nashville was 6 points, the Cats led by 13 at the half, and but for a Vandy comeback in the first 8 minutes of the second half that propelled them into a 4 point lead, the Cats would have won handily based on the other 32 minutes of action.
Next up is Ole Miss in Rupp on Saturday afternoon.
OLE MISS enters this game with a 15-10 record, 5-6 in the SEC. OLE MISS has played 25 games at an average pace of about 69 possessions, averaging 66.1 ppg and allowing 65.6 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 0.953 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.951 ppp. Contributing to those efficiencies are OLE MISS's turnover and rebounding rates. OLE MISS's turnover rate has been 22.1% while they have forced turnovers at a 20.0% rate. On the Boards, OLE MISS's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 36.6% and 69.1% respectively. OLE MISS's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.595.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first 25 opponents produced 67 possessions, and a score of 77.8 to 57.9 ppg for efficiencies of 1.150 ppp and 0.868 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. Contributing to those efficiencies are Kentucky's turnover and rebounding rates. UK's turnover rate is 17.6% and UK has forced turnovers at a 19.2% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 39.1% and 68.2% at the offensive and defensive ends. Kentucky's schedule strength prior to this game is 0..624.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 68 possessions for UK and 68 possessions for OLE MISS with the Cats winning their twenty sixth game in twenty seven starts this season by 28 points, 80-52. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.176 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.765 ppp.
Sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb will start along with the three freshmen Kidd-Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, and Marquis Teague. Darius Miller will be the #6 man with Eloy Vargas, Kyle Wiltjer and Twany Beckham coming off the bench. However, Coach Calipari has not used Vargas or Beckham in recent games, and has played with a 7 player rotation.
Kentucky opened the game with back to back turnovers following offensive rebounds and Ole Miss claimed an early 2 point lead on two occasions, 2-0, and 4-2, but the Cats then turned it on and for a 14-3 run forcing a Mississippi timeout with 15:07 and the Cats up by 11 points, 16-5. After the timeout, Mississippi begins to put the ball in the basket and through the second segment, slowly trims the UK lead to 6 points, 18-12, prompting Coach Calipari to call a timeout of his own with 12:02 to play in the first half.
Out of the timeout, Anthony Davis grabs Kentucky's 5 th offensive rebound of the game and is fouled at the under 12 media timeout with 11:46 to play. Davis will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes. Out of the timeout, Davis missed both shots, and Mississippi trimmed another 2 points from the lead at the other end. The Cats stretch the lead back to 8 points, 22-14, but Davis commits his second foul of the game with 10:07 to play. Miller enters the game for Davis. However, with Davis on the bench, Mississippi outscores the Cats 8-2 over the balance of the third segment to trim a one time 11 point Kentucky lead to a mere 2 points, 24-22 at the under 8 media timeout, and with 7:33 to play. Mississippi has the ball.
After the timeout, Kidd-Gilchrist fouled the Mississippi shooter, and the free throws tied the game at 24-24, and after the teams trade 3 pointers, Kidd-Gilchrist commits his second foul and moves to the bench with Davis with 5:55 to play. After the teams trade baskets again, Mississippi uses a Kentucky turnover to take its first lead since 3-2 in the first minute of play. Coach Calipari calls a Kentucky timeout, down 2 points, 31-29, with 4:40 to play. The Cats tie the game at 31-31 on a strong dunk by Miller, and regain the lead on a fast break 3 pointer by Wiltjer, 34-31 at the under 4 media timeout with 2:54 to play in the first half. When play resumes, Mississippi will be shooting a pair of free throws. The Cats ride 3 straight 3 pointers, 2 by Miller and 1 by Lamb to outscore Mississippi 9-1 over the final 3 minutes and take an 8 point lead, 43-35 to the locker room.
UK scored its 43 points in a total of 37 possessions [1.160 points per possession] for the half, and OLE MISS scored its 35 points on a total of 36 possessions [0.972 ppp]. Kentucky controlled the boards in the first half, 20-15 in total rebounds and 9-4 on the offensive boards. Kentucky used its second chances to outscore Mississippi 10-4 on second chance points. OLE MISS had an offensive efficiency of 0.861 ppp on its 36 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 4 second chance possessions. UK had 0.892 ppp on its 37 first chance possessions and 1.111 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 45.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while OLE MISS was able to convert a weak 26.7% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 5 for 7 free throws in the first half [71.4%]. OLE MISS was 6-10 [60.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 16-36 overall [44.4%] and 6-12 from long range [50.0%]. For OLE MISS, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 10-25 [40.0%] and from long range, OLE MISS hit 3-3 [100.0%].
The Cats committed 7 turnovers, one for every 5.3 possessions. The Cats forced 7 OLE MISS turnovers, one for every 5.1 possessions.
Mississippi opens the second half with the first 2 baskets around a Kentucky turnover to trim the lead back to 4 points, but the Cats then hit 3 shots in a row to extend their lead to 10 points, 49-39, prompting a Mississippi timeout with 17:32 to play in the game. After the timeout, neither team scored over the balance of the segment, and Ole Miss will be shooting free throws when play resumes. The Cats extend their lead to a game high 14 points, 56-42, prompting another Mississippi timeout with 12:22 to play.
The Cats extend their lead to 17 points, 61-44 at the under 12 media timeout with 10:37 to play in the game. After briefly extending the lead to 20 points, Mississippi trimmed it back to 18 points, 68-50, at the under 8 media timeout. After briefly leading by 23 points, Kentucky allows Ole Miss to trim 5 points from that led by the under 4 media timeout, 75-58, with 2:46 to play in the game, and Ole Miss in possession of the ball. The final score, 77-62.
UK scored its 77 points in a total of 66 possessions [1.167 ppp] for the game, and OLE MISS scored its 62 points on a total of 67 possessions [0.925 ppp].
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, 35-25, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 12-5. Kentucky won the second chance points battle 10-6. OLE MISS had an offensive efficiency of 0.836 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 1.200 ppp for its 5 second chance possessions. UK had 1.015 ppp on its 66 first chance possessions and 0.833 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed an average 37.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while OLE MISS was able to convert 17.9% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit very poorly from the free throw line in this game by making 11-17 [64.7%]. OLE MISS made 9-14 [64.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-58 overall [48.3%] and 10-18 from long range [55.6%]. For OLE MISS, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 22-48 [45.8%] and from long range, OLE MISS hit 3-5 [60.0%].
The Cats committed 12 turnovers, one for every 5.5 possessions. The Cats forced 12 OLE MISS turnovers, one for every 5.6 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 28 point UK win, 80-52 at a pace of 68 possessions for UK and 68 possessions for OLE MISS. The final score was 77 (80) to 62 (52) at a pace of 66 possessions for the Cats and 67 possessions for OLE MISS. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.167 (C) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.952 ppp (D-).
Next Game On Schedule: February 21, 2012 against Mississippi State in Starkville.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks