BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2011-12 Season Analytical Writings
I came, I saw, I conquered!!!!
These must be the words that characterize this UK basketball team. Sever trips to enemy strongholds, and each trip back home has included the spoils of war, and the enlargement of the Kentucky treasures produced by the 2011-12 edition of Cats. Add to the win-loss tally the fact that this team has tested its metal 28 times, and only seven times has an opponent managed to finish a game within a single digit margin of the Cats, and only two opponents [UNC and IU] managed to extend the Cats to the last possession of the game. Only then can one understand the dominance that this team has demonstrated through these 28 ball games, amassing 27 wins, and a perfect 13-0 record in the SEC.
Three games remain on the regular schedule, two at Rupp, and the season closer at Florida, the second best team in the SEC this season, such as they are. Two weeks ago, the Cats traveled to Nashville to participate in the “game of the week” as part of ESPN's College Game Day activities held at Vanderbilt. The pre-game hype promoted by ESPN was whether they would witness the fall of mighty Kentucky that night. The Cats frustrated those plans and escaped the enemy camp with a 6 point win, 69-63. Since that triumph, the Cats have disposed of the two Mississippi schools [Ole Miss at Rupp by 15 and State at Starkville by 9]. Vanderbilt has chalked up 3 more wins since their Game Day loss, at Ole Miss by 26, at Georgia by 9, and against South Carolina by 11 to advance their record to 20-8, 9-4, and solidify their claim as the 3 rd best basketball team in the SEC for the 2012 conference season.
Vanderbilt remains a dangerous team, and they have stabilized their ship to some extent since they fell victim to the Kentucky Juggernaut 2 weeks ago. However, playing Kentucky in Rupp adds major obstacles for the visitor just as playing Vanderbilt in Nashville. While the Cats were strong enough to overcome the Vanderbilt home advantages, I don't expect Vanderbilt to have the resources to reciprocate today in Rupp.
VANDERBILT enters this game with a 20-8 record, 9-4 in the SEC. VANDERBILT has played 28 games at an average pace of about 68 possessions, averaging 73.9 ppg and allowing 65.5 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.087 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.967 ppp. Contributing to those efficiencies are VANDERBILT's turnover and rebounding rates. VANDERBILT's turnover rate has been 20.5% while they have forced turnovers at a 19.4% rate. On the Boards, VANDERBILT's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 32.2% and 68.1% respectively. VANDERBILT's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.640.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first 25 opponents produced 67 possessions, and a score of 77.6 to 58.3 ppg for efficiencies of 1.149 ppp and 0.874 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. Contributing to those efficiencies are Kentucky's turnover and rebounding rates. UK's turnover rate is 17.5% and UK has forced turnovers at a 19.1% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 38.8% and 68.7% at the offensive and defensive ends. Kentucky's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.628.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 68 possessions for UK and 67 possessions for VANDERBILT with the Cats winning their twenty eighth game in twenty nine starts this season by 15 points, 76-61. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.118 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.910 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.
Vandy takes the opening tip, and after making the first of two free throws, gets 2 offensive rebounds before draining a second chance 3 pointer to move out to a 4-0 lead before the Cats touched the ball. That fast start, coupled with 3 early Teague turnovers, allows Vandy to take a 8-5 lead, prompting a Kentukcy timeout with 16:22 to play. Out of the timeout, the Cats hit the offensive glass and get a second chance basket to trim the early Vandy lead to 1 point, 8-7, at the under 16 media timeout, and Vandy in possession. In the first 4+ minutes, the story has been the 3 UK turnovers and the 4-2 Vandy advantage on the offensive glass, providing a 3-2 advantage in second chance points. The Cats score to regain the lead by 1 point, but Vandy scores 5 straight to regain a 4 point lead, 13-9. The Cats answer with a 3 point play by Teague, and Vandy's 3 rd turnover of the game stopped play for the under 12 media timeout, with the Cats trailing by 1 point, 15-14.
The Cats added 6 more points, for an 8 point run to take a 5 point lead, 20-15, but Vandy stopped the run with a 3 pointer by Tinsley, and a pair of Ezeli free throws to tie the score at 20-20. The teams traded baskets, and Davis made a layup to give the Cats a slender 2 point lead, 24-22, at the under 8 media timeout. Vandy will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes. After Vandy made both free throws to draw even at 24-24, the Cats ran off 6 straight to take their biggest lead of the game, 30-24, prompting a Vanderbilt timeout with 5:45 to play in the first half. Out of the timeout, the Cats extend their run to 8 points before Taylor stops the run with a 3 pointer. The teams trade baskets to the under 4 media timeout with the Cats up by 5 points, 34-29 and Vandy in possession.
In the final segment, Vandy outscores the cats 8-2 to take a 1 point halftime lead, 37-36.
UK scored its 36 points in a total of 32 possessions [1.125 points per possession] for the half, and VANDERBILT scored its 37 points on a total of 32 possessions [1.156 ppp]. Kentucky controlled the boards in the first half, 20-14 in total rebounds and 8-7 on the offensive boards. Kentucky used its offensive rebounds to produce a 9-3 advantage on second chance points. VANDERBILT had an offensive efficiency of 1.062 ppp on its 32 first chance possessions and 0.429 ppp for its 7 second chance possessions. UK had 0.844 ppp on its 32 first chance possessions and 1.125 ppp on its 8 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 53.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while VANDERBILT was able to convert an average 36.8% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 6 for 6 free throws in the first half [100.0%]. VANDERBILT was 10-12 [83.3%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 15-31 overall [48.4%] and 0-8 from long range [0.00%]. For VANDERBILT, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 9-21 [42.9%] and from long range, VANDERBILT hit 3-8 [37.5%].
The Cats committed 7 turnovers, one for every 4.6 possessions. The Cats forced 5 VANDERBILT turnovers, one for every 6.4 possessions.
Kentucky starts the 2 nd half with the first 6 points before Vandy stops the run with another 3 pointer, and the Cats cling to a 3 point lead, 43-40 at the under 16 media timeout and Vandy in possession of the ball. In the second segment, the Cats added a pair of points to their lead on the strength of their first 3 pointer [Lamb] of the game, and a free throw by Vargas to lead by 5 points, 55-50 at the under 12 media timeout with 11:06 to play, and Vandy in possession.
After trading baskets early in the third segment, the Cats then started a 9-2 run to return to an 8 point lead, 64-56 prompting a Vandy timeout with 8:13 to play in the game. In this run, Miller scored his first points of the game, with a jumper in the lane and a 3 pointer. In the previous segment, it was Doron Lamb waking up on the offensive end that fueled the Cats' offense. Now it is Miller time. Out of the timeout, the Cats convert another Vandy missed shot into a Miller basket in the lane for their largest lead of the game, 10 points, 66-56, at the under 8 media timeout with 6:56 to play in the game.
Out of the timeout, Vandy scores 5 quick points to cut the UK lead in half, 66-61, forcing a quick Kentucky timeout. Out of the timeout, the Cats miss again, and then Jones becomes the second Wildcat to pick up his 4 th foul, and Jenkins hits a long 3 pointer to trim the lead to 2 points. On the next possession, Davis has his shot blocked, and Miller fouls Jenkins on his shot. Jenkins made the first, and missed the second, preserving the Kentucky lead at a single point, 66-65, and Davis drained a 10 foot jump shot just ahead of the shot clock to extend the lead back to 3 points. On the next Vandy possession, Taylor fired a blank, and on the rebound, Kidd-Gilchrist went to the floor with a twisted knee, and Teague was fouled on the rebound, leading to the under 4 media timeout with 3:17 to play, and Teague set to shot the bonus when play resumes.
In the final segment, the Cats extend their 3 point lead to 7 points on a Miller runner, 73-66, and Vandy answered with a layup on the next trip down the floor, and call timeout with 1:39 to play. Davis drained an 18 foot jump shot as the shot clock ran down, and Vandy answered with another layup followed by a timeout, Cats up by 5 points, 75-70 and 49 seconds to play. On the inbounds, the Cats get it inbounds, but when Miller is trapped hard in back court, he calls a timeout with 43 seconds to play. Teague makes two more free throws, and Vandy answers with another layup and timeout, their last of the game with 20 seconds to play. Vandy fouls Davis as soon as he catches the inbounds pass. The Cats close out a 9 point win, 83-74, and clinch the 2012 SEC regular season title, move to 28-1, and 14-0 in the SEC with 2 games remaining in the regular season.
UK scored its 83 points in a total of 64 possessions [1.297 ppp] for the game, and VANDERBILT scored its 74 points on a total of 64 possessions [1.156 ppp].
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, 36-29, but Vanderbilt won the battle of the offensive glass 16-10. Kentucky won the second chance points battle 13-10. VANDERBILT had an offensive efficiency of 1.000 ppp on its 64 first chance possessions and 0.625 ppp for its 16 second chance possessions. UK had 1.094 ppp on its 64 first chance possessions and 1.300 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 43.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while VANDERBILT was able to convert 38.1% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit very well from the free throw line in this game by making 17-20 [85.0%]. VANDERBILT made 15-23 [65.2%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 32-56 overall [57.1%] and 2-10 from long range [20.0%]. For VANDERBILT, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 19-45 [42.2%] and from long range, VANDERBILT hit 7-18 [38.9%].
The Cats committed 9 turnovers, one for every 7.1 possessions. The Cats forced 7 VANDERBILT turnovers, one for every 9.1 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 15 point UK win, 76-614 at a pace of 68 possessions for UK and 67 possessions for VANDERBILT. The final score was 83 (76) to 74 (61) at a pace of 64 possessions for the Cats and 64 possessions for VANDERBILT. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.296 (B+) and the UK defensive efficiency was 1.156 ppp (E).
Next Game On Schedule: March 1, 2012 against Georgia in Rupp Arena for Senior Night.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks