BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2011-12 Season Analytical Writings
The regular season has come and gone. The Cats chewed through their traditional non-conference schedule with only one stumble, a 1-point loss at Indiana on a buzzer beating 3 pointer. Then the Cats waltzed through their 16 game SEC schedule without a blemish, with a 3 point win at Tennessee providing the smallest margin of victory as the Cats averaged 16 ½ points more than their SEC counterparts in those 16 games. Now, the “real” season begins, the post season. This is what Kentucky basketball is all about.
A few minutes ago, LSU put Arkansas away by 16 points in the opening game of the SEC Post season tournament, and in the process, LSU earned the right to take on the #1 ranked Kentucky team at 1 pm on Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours from now. LSU lost to Kentucky during their only regular season meeting by 24 points in Baton Rouge, the Tigers' home court. This meeting will be down the road a few miles in New Orleans, but the “semi” home court for the Tigers will not be enough to overcome the talent advantage that the Cats have over the Tigers.
LSU ended their regular season with a 17-13 record, 7-9 in the SEC. In addition, the Tigers lost their last three regular season games at #89 Mississippi by 24, to #54 Tennessee by 5 in OT, and at #149 Auburn by 15 before righting their ship today against #119 Arkansas, a team that LSU split their home-home regular season matchups. In contrast, the Cats bring their 30-1; 16-0 regular season record to this game, and that record includes 22 straight wins since the perfect season wrecking 1 point loss at Indiana.
LSU has played 31 games at an average pace of about 67 possessions, averaging 65.5 ppg and allowing 63.3 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 0.972 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.939 ppp. Contributing to those efficiencies are LSU's turnover and rebounding rates. LSU's turnover rate has been 19.3% while they have forced turnovers at a 21.9% rate. On the Boards, LSU's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 34.7% and 68.5% respectively. LSU's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.626.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first 31 opponents produced 66 possessions, and a score of 77.7 to 58.5 ppg for efficiencies of 1.168 ppp and 0.879 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. Contributing to those efficiencies are Kentucky's turnover and rebounding rates. UK's turnover rate is 17.2% and UK has forced turnovers at a 18.3% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 38.7% and 68.9% at the offensive and defensive ends. Kentucky's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.650.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 67 possessions for UK and 67 possessions for LSU with the Cats winning their thirty first game in thirty two starts this season by 17 points, 75-58. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.119 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.866 ppp.
Coach Calipari returns to his standard winning combination for the season finale. 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.
The Cats take the opening tip and go low to Jones to open the scoring. After LSU answered with a basket of their own down low, the Cats score the next 3 points to ease out to a 3 point lead, 5-2, at the under 16 media timeout. Out of the timeout, Davis missed the first of two free throws to ease UK out by 4 points, but back to back Kentucky turnovers produced 2 LSU layups to tie the score, 6-6, prompting a Kentucky timeout with 14:21 to play in the first half. After the timeout, the Cats manage only 1 more point, while LSU hits back to back 3 pointers to take the game's largest lead, 5 points, 12-7, at the under 12 media timeout.
In the third segment, it was Kidd-Gilchrist against LSU, as Kidd-Gilchrist scored all 8 of the Cats points. While the Cats did eliminate the LSU lead and regain the lead by 1 point twice, LSU closed the segment strongly and regained a 3 point lead, 18-15 at the under 8 media timeout. In the 4 th segment, the Cats again regained the lead, 20-18 and then 22-20, but LSU scored the final 2 points of the segment, to tie the score, 22-22, and will be shooting a pair of free throws after the under 4 media timeout. The teams continue to trade baskets and the lead, and the Cats get the final lead of the first half on a basket by Lamb, to lead at the half, 25-24.
UK scored its 25 points in a total of 33 possessions [0.758 points per possession] for the half, and LSU scored its 24 points on a total of 33 possessions [0.727 ppp]. Kentucky controlled the boards in the first half, 25-22 in total rebounds but LSU won the battle of the offensive glass, 10-7 on the offensive boards. LSU used its offensive rebounds to produce a 13-4 advantage on second chance points. LSU had an offensive efficiency of 0.333 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 1.333 ppp for its 13 second chance possessions. UK had 0.636 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 0.571 ppp on its 7 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed an average 36.8% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LSU was able to convert 35.7% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 10 for 16 free throws in the first half [62.5%]. LSU was 4-6 [66.7%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 7-22 overall [31.8%] and 2-9 from long range [22.2%]. For LSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 7-28 [25.0%] and from long range, LSU hit 2-9 [22.2%].
The Cats committed 10 turnovers, one for every 3.3 possessions. The Cats forced 3 LSU turnovers, one for every 11.0 possessions.
The Cats open the scoring of the second half with a 3-point play by Kidd-Gilchrist to extend the Cats' lead to 4 points, but LSU then outscored the Cats 11-2 to run out to a 5-point lead, 35-30, forcing Coach Calipari to call a timeout with 16:50 to play in the game. The Cats end the LSU run with a Miller to Jones dunk just before the under 16 media timeout and the score 35-32 with LSU in possession. In the second segment, it was Jones 9, LSU 0 as the Jones single handedly converted a 5 point deficit into a 4 point Kentucky lead, 39-35 at the under 12 media timeout.
In the third segment, the Cats added 2 points to their slim lead, to lead by 6 points, 47-41, at the under 8 media timeout, and Kidd-Gilchrist set to shoot free throws when play resumes. After Kidd-Gilchrist made both free throws to extend the lead to a game high 8 points, 49-41, LSU used back to back UK turnovers to answer with 4 straight points, prompting a Kentucky timeout with 6:31 to play, and the Cats up by 4 points, 49-45. After the timeout, the Cats outscore LSU 7-4 to extend their lead at one point to 9 points, and to 7 points, 56-49, at the under 4 media timeout, with Davis at the line for a pair of free throws. Kentucky wins 60-51.
UK scored its 60 points in 67 possessions [0.896 ppp] for the game, and LSU scored its 51 points on 68 possessions [0.750 ppp].
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, 42-36, but LSU won the battle of the offensive glass 14-9. LSU won the second chance points battle 12-6. LSU had an offensive efficiency of 0.574 ppp on its 68 first chance possessions and 0.857 ppp for its 14-second chance possessions. UK had 0.806 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 0.667 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a below average 29.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LSU was able to convert only 29.8% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game by making 23-33 [69.7%]. LSU made 8-10 [80.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 18-42 overall [42.9%] and 1-8 from long range [12.5%]. For LSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 17-54 [31.5%] and from long range, LSU hit 3-14 [21.4%].
The Cats committed 18 turnovers, one for every 3.7 possessions. The Cats forced 9 LSU turnovers, one for every 7.6 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 17 point UK win, 75-58 at a pace of 67 possessions for UK and 67 possessions for LSU. The final score was 60 (75) to 51 (58) at a pace of 67 possessions for the Cats and 68 possessions for LSU. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 0.896 (E) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.750 ppp (B-).
Next Game On Schedule: March 10, 2012 against Florida, the winner of the SEC Tournament's quarterfinal round game against Alabama in New Orleans.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks