BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2011-12 Season Analytical Writings
In early December of this season, Kentucky played back-to-back games that ended with identical scores, 73-72. In the first game, played at Rupp Arena, the Cats were the beneficiary of the last second heroics of Anthony Davis when he blocked the potentially game winning shot by North Carolina star forward Hinson to secure the Kentucky win. In the second game, played at Indiana's Assembly Hall, the Cats were the victim of the last second heroics of Christian Watford who made a three pointer at the buzzer to elevate the Hoosiers to the win over the #1 ranked Cats. Basketball can be such a delicate balance between the forces of good and bad, as these two games demonstrate in such stark terms.
In 2010-11, the Cats looked around and found many opponents lining up down the stretch drive that had beaten that Cat team earlier in the season or the previous season [West Virginia]. Over the course of the last three regular season games, the SEC Tournament, and the NCAA Tournament, those Cats set things right against Florida, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Florida again, West Virginia, Ohio State, and North Carolina. They had an excellent opportunity to turn the revenge trick yet again against Connecticut, but fell 1 point short in the Final Four. This year's team cannot look around and find a plethora of opponents deserving, yes needing, retribution.
But there is ONE!!!! Indiana is THE ONLY ONE!!!!
On Friday night, in Atlanta, this Kentucky team will get its opportunity to set the record straight against Indiana on the Cats' continue its march to #8. The irony is that should the Cats extract their measure on these Hoosiers, those very same North Carolina Tar Heels could be also be on a collision course with the Cats and may be waiting to extract their own measure of revenge on the Cats in this year's Championship game. From the UNC perspective, their drive for revenge does not stem from their 2012 loss to these Cats, but last year's 2011 Cats that they hold responsible for their Elite 8 exit from the tournament.
Revenge can be a double-edged sword. But, we will allow that Tar Heel dog to sleep until it wakes and becomes relevant. This week is revenge week, and the target is clearly Indiana.
On December 10, Indiana was 8-0 prior to beating Kentucky, and they extended their undefeated string to 12-0 through their non-conference schedule. However, once IU began to play Big 10 competition, the Hoosiers began to lose, and lost regularly, finishing the Big 10 with a 11-7 record, and 23-7 overall. Clearly, the Hoosiers' most impressive win remains that 1 point buzzer beater over the Cats, but during the Big 10 season, IU also beat #3 Michigan State by 15 and #2 Ohio State by 4 both in Bloomington. However, when the Hoosiers left Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers lost to both of the Big 10's Marquee teams, Ohio State by 17, Michigan State by 15, and Wisconsin by 7. While those losses are not particularly surprising, IU's losses to Minnesota by 3 in Bloomington, to #157 Nebraska by 1, and #83 Iowa by 12 appear inexplicable in the context of a team that claims wins over the nation's top 3 teams in the same season. After closing this season with 7 wins over their last 8 games, the Indiana record now stands at 27-8.
INDIANA has played 35 games at an average pace of about 67 possessions, averaging 76.9 ppg and allowing 65.4 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.139 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.976 ppp. Contributing to those efficiencies are INDIANA's turnover and rebounding rates. INDIANA's turnover rate has been 19.3% while they have forced turnovers at a 20.3% rate. On the Boards, INDIANA's offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 35.3% and 69.0% respectively. INDIANA's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.711.
As a basis of comparison, UK's performance against its first 36 opponents produced 66 possessions, and a score of 77.1 to 59.5 ppg for efficiencies of 1.156 ppp and 0.898 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. Contributing to those efficiencies are Kentucky's turnover and rebounding rates. UK's turnover rate is 17.0% and UK has forced turnovers at a 17.7% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 38.3% and 69.2% at the offensive and defensive ends. Kentucky's schedule strength prior to this game is 0.668
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 67 possessions for UK and 67 possessions for INDIANA with the Cats winning their thirty fifth game in thirty seven starts this season by 5 points, 72-67. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.075 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 1.000 ppp.
Coach Calipari uses his usual starting lineup with Darius Miller taking the 6 th man role for the game. Sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb along with the three freshmen Marquis Teague, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Anthony Davis. Kidd-Gilchrist 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.
Indiana wins the opening tip, but the Cats draw first blood on a 3 pointer by Jones. After moving on top 5-2, IU took a brief lead at 9-7 on their first 3 pointer of the game, but a drive by Teague and a Lamb 3 pointer pushed the Cats back on top by 5, 16-11, at the under 16 media timeout with 14:58 to play in the first half, and the Cats in possession. In the second segment, the Cats miss a shot, turn it over, and Davis commits his second foul with 14:05 to play, allowing IU to trim the lead to 1 point, and sending Davis to the bench.
Over the balance of the second segment, the teams trade baskets as the Cats maintain a lead between 2 and 4 points, and at the under 12 media timeout, the lead is 4, 23-19, but IU will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes. Out of the timeout, IU converted 1 of 2 free throws, and the Cats then ran off the next 6 points for a 29-20 lead, and after Watford ended the UK run at 6 points to trim the lead to 29-22, Jones got behind the IU defense for a fast break dunk. IU called timeout with 9:55 to play in the first half with the Cats up 9, 31-22. Each team has foul trouble with UK losing Davis for the half at the 14 minute mark, and IU losing Zeller, Hulls, and Oladipo with 2 fouls each.
Out of the timeout, IU brings Zeller back into the game with 2 fouls. Zeller quickly gets to the line, and an offensive rebound basket by IU trims the UK lead to 5 points, 31-26, prompting Coach Calipari to call a timeout with 8:39 to play in the first half. Out of the timeout, the Cats continue their scoring woes and IU trims another 2 points from the lead, to 3 points, 31-28, at the under 8 media timeout. When play resumes, the Cats will have the ball with 7:34 to go in the first half. IU is playing Hulls and Zeller with 2 fouls each. Oladipo remains on the IU bench, and Davis remains on the UK bench. In the 4 th segment, IU continued to chip away at the Kentucky lead, matching basket for basket until a Kidd-Gilchrist miss resulted in an IU basket at the other end, giving IU their second lead of the game, 41-39, prompting another timeout by Coach Calipari with 3:56 to play.
Out of the timeout, Teague missed a 3 point attempt, and IU made their 6 th straight basket to extend their lead to 4 points, and a Kidd-Gilchrist turnover stopped play for the under 4 media timeout with 3:23 to play and the Cats down by 4, 43-39. After the IU timeout with the Cats up by 9 points, 31-22, IU has outscored the Cats 21-8. In the final segment, Kidd-Gilchrist and Jones both commit their second fouls of the game, joining Davis with mild foul trouble. The Cats outscore IU 11-6 in the final 4 minutes to take a 3 point lead to the locker room, 50-47.
UK scored its 50 points in 38 possessions [1.316 points per possession] for the half, and INDIANA scored its 47 points on a total of 39 possessions [1.205 ppp]. Kentucky won the boards in the first half, 20-16 in total rebounds, and Kentucky controlled the offensive rebounds 8-4. Kentucky used its second chances to win the second chance points race, 10-7. INDIANA had an offensive efficiency of 1.026 ppp on its 39 first chance possessions and 1.750 ppp for its 4 second chance possessions. UK had 1.053 ppp on its 38 first chance possessions and 1.250 ppp on its 8 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed an average 40.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while INDIANA was able to convert 25.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit 9 for 10 free throws in the first half [90.0%]. INDIANA was 9-13 [69.2%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 19-39 overall [48.7%] and 3-7 from long range [42.9%]. For INDIANA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 16-24 [66.7%] and from long range, INDIANA hit 2-7 [28.6%].
The Cats committed 3 turnovers, one for every 12.7 possessions. The Cats forced 5 INDIANA turnovers, one for every 7.8 possessions.
IU draws first blood in the second half, but the Cats then score the next 6 points to move on top by 7 points. After that quick start the teams essentially traded baskets to a 6 point UK lead, 66-60, at the under 16 media timeout with 14:25 to play in the game. The Cats have the ball. In the shortened second segment, the Cats added 2 points to their lead, but IU has the ball when play resumes with the score 70-62 at the under 12 media timeout. Out of the timeout, IU trimmed the lead back to 6 points, but the Cats extended their lead out to a game high 11 points on a 3 point play by Kidd-Gilchrist. A put back by Kidd-Gilchrist extends the lead to 13 points, 79-66 before IU ends the UK run with back to back baskets and a UK turnover going into the under 8 media timeout and the Cats up by 9, 79-70.
In the 4 th segment, the Cats maintain their 9 point lead at 86-77 at the under 4 media timeout, and IU in possession of the ball. During the Segment, the Hoosiers did trim the lead to 5 points, but the Cats moved back up by 9 as Oladipo fouled out and Lamb converted both free throws. In the final segment, IU sends the Cats to the foul line 14 times and the Cats make all 14 shots to seal the victory, 102-90. The Cats advance to the Elite 8 for the third consecutive year of the Calipari Era.
UK scored its 102 points in 72 possessions [1.417 ppp] for the game, and INDIANA scored its 90 points on 74 possessions [1.216 ppp].
KENTUCKY won the battle of the boards, 39-31, and Kentucky won the battle on the offensive glass 15-12. UK used their second chance possessions to win the second chance points battle 19-15. INDIANA had an offensive efficiency of 1.014 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 1.250 ppp for its 12-second chance possessions. UK had 1.153 ppp on its 72 first chance possessions and 1.267 ppp on its 15 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed an average 44.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while INDIANA was able to convert 33.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game by making 35-37 [94.6%]. INDIANA made 13-17 [76.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 31-64 overall [48.4%] and 5-10 from long range [50.0%]. For INDIANA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 31-51 [60.8%] and from long range, INDIANA hit 5-18 [27.8%].
The Cats committed 6 turnovers, one for every 12.0 possessions. The Cats forced 8 INDIANA turnovers, one for every 9.3 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 5 point UK win, 72-67 at a pace of 67 possessions for UK and 67 possessions for INDIANA. The final score was 102 (72) to 90 (67) at a pace of 72 possessions for the Cats and 74 possessions for INDIANA. The Cats' offensive efficiency was 1.417 ppp (A) and the Cats' defensive efficiency was 1.216 ppp (E).
Next Game On Schedule: Sunday in the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament against Baylor.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks