BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2012-13 Season Analytical Writings
On Tuesday night, the Cats seemed to respond well to the adversity of a two game losing streak, and the first home loss in nearly four seasons. The Cats responded with a suffocating defense that provided a 31 point cushion at halftime over a clearly outmatched Samford team. The 45-14 halftime score was impressive, even given the opponent's obvious weakness, and no one expected the Cats to win that game 90-28. However, Coach Calipari was not pleased by a second half that saw Samford outplay the Cats for large stretches of the final 20 minutes, including Samford's 9-0 start to the half. The game ended with a 32 point Kentucky win, 88-56, but the second half 33-32 score was simply inexplicable, at least to Coach Calipari.
Following the game, Coach Calipari declared that poor conditioning is the only conclusion he could reach, given a team unwilling or incapable of sustaining effort for a full 40 minutes. He also declared that poor conditioning can be fixed, indeed will be fixed over the next 3 weeks. Three weeks? Yes, it is three weeks until the Cats must travel to Louisville for the annual grudge match against a powerful bunch of Cardinals.
Whether it is truly a case of poor conditioning, or something more serious that is ailing this team, Coach Calipari's declarations remove any doubt that he sees major problems with the state of the team at present, and he intends to use the next 3 weeks to shape this team as he wants them, or fail trying. On Saturday, the Cats get an opportunity to get a break for the new conditioning regimen, and have a game day instead of a 7 am run-run-run morning followed by an afternoon practice session. That will be the next opportunity for fans to see whether this new emphasis is having the effect that Coach Calipari intends.
Portland has opened the season with three wins in eight starts, and one of the three wins came at the expense of non-D1 opponent Lewis & Clark by 5 points. Portland's D1 wins have both been at home over #323 Idaho State by 3 points and over #284 Portland State by 21 points. Among Portland's early season losses are by 19 at #296 Montana State. Portland has also lost at #35 New Mexico by 15 and at home to #20 UNLV by 8. In the latter loss, Portland led the Running Rebels for the majority of the game before UNLV took control of the game in the final few minutes.
Portland has averaged about 68 to 69 possessions per game, producing 60.3ppg (0.88 ppp) and allowing 68.7 ppg (0.99 ppp) against an early schedule that Pomeroy rates as the 118 th toughest (0.5800). Portland has turned the ball over on 23.8% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 19.2% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, Portland has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 28.4%, about 5% below the the NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 68.4%, which is about 2% better than the national average.
In contrast, the Cats have started the season averaging 69 to 70 possessions per game, producing 77.4 ppg (1.11 ppp) and allowing 65.3 ppg (0.94 ppp) against a schedule strength of 0..5893 (111 th ). The Cats have committed turnovers on 17.5% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 19.8% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 32.8% and 69.3% on the offensive and defensive ends.
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of the Cats by 26 points, 81-55, in a game played at a pace of 70 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for Portland. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 23 points, 81-58 at a pace of 69 possessions.
Portland's strong showing on Tuesday night against UNLV should be enough to give the Kentucky squad pause given that UNLV is #20, Notre Dame is #21, and Baylor is #28 at present, and Portland played UNLV to a closer margin than UK could manage against Notre Dame. An effort on Saturday similar to the effort the Cats gave in the second half on Tuesday, or at Notre Dame the previous Tuesday will allow Portland to remain in this game. For these reasons, a margin on Saturday of 15 or less would suggest that the first four days of the new conditioning program has not taken hold yet, and a win by 35 or more would suggest that these players may be getting the message that Coach Calipari is sending them.
Following the game on Tuesday, Coach Calipari sent his players into a morning running and conditioning routine, and today marks the first game since this new approach. Coach Calipari will use the same starting 5 with the three freshmen, Noel, Goodwin, and Poythress starting with Kyle Wiltjer and Julius Mays. Goodwin will start the game at the point. Coach Calipari will use Cauley-Stein, Harrow, Hood, and Polson off the bench
Kentucky controls the opening tip, and work immediately for a basket by Poythress but Portland counters with a 3 pointer for a 1 point lead of their own. The teams traded baskets for the balance of the opening segment as the Cats cling to a 1 point lead, 6-5, at the under 16 media timeout and Harrow will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes. In the second segment, the Cats ease out to a 4 point lead, 10-6, but Portland caught up at 10 before Poythress hit the Cats first 3 pointer of the day to give the Cats a 3 point lead at the under 12 media timeout. The Cats will have possession when play resumes.
Out of the timeout, Poythress drives for a basket, Kyle Wiltjer hits a 3 pointer, and Kyle Wiltjer gets a put back basket to extend the Cats' lead to 10 points, 20-10. The Cats add another basket to the margin before Portland takes a timeout with 8:11 to play in the first half and Julius Mays at the line for a pair of shots. Julius Mays makes both to give the Cats a 14 point lead, 24-10, at the under 8 media timeout.
In the first 12 minutes, the Cats have scored their 24 points on 23 possessions, while limiting Portland to 10 points on 22 possessions. The Cats have earned an advantage on the Boards, 4-1 on the offensive glass, and 15-8 overall. Shooting remains a little off at 8-18. After the Cats extend their run to 18 points (28-10 from 10-10), back to back Portland baskets trim the lead to 14 points prompting Coach Calipari to call a timeout with 6:16 to play in the first half. Over the fine 2 ½ minutes of this segment, Portland manages to trim another pair of points off the Kentucky lead to 12 points, 31-19, at the under 4 media timeout with Nerlens Noel on the line for a pair of shots after the timeout.
The teams play the final segment with the Cats moving up by 15 at the half, 35-20.
UK scored its 35 points in a total of 39 possessions for the half, and PORTLAND scored its 20 points on a total of 38 possessions. Kentucky WON the boards, with a rebounding edge 22-20, but Portland controlled the offensive glass, 5-4. Kentucky converted its offensive rounding advantage into a 4-1 advantage in second chance points. PORTLAND had an offensive efficiency of 0.526 ppp on its 38 first chance possessions and 0.200 ppp for its 5 second chance possession. UK had 0.795 ppp on its 39 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 4 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a low 21.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while PORTLAND was able to convert 21.7% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, after making 9-14 (64.3%) overall. PORTLAND finished 2-4 [50.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 12-27 overall [44.4%] and 2-7 from long range [28.6%]. For PORTLAND, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 6-26 [23.1%] and from long range, PORTLAND hit 2-5 [40.0%].
The Cats committed 8 turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions. The Cats forced 10 PORTLAND turnovers, one for every 3.8 possessions.
In the opening segment of the second half, Portland outscored the Cats 6-4 to trim the lead to 13 points, 39-26, at the under 16 media timeout. Portland will have the possession when play resumes. Portland manages to cut the Kentucky lead to 10 points, 39-29, before the Cats stop the Portland run and score 4 straight points, prompting a Portland timeout with Kyle Wiltjer set to shoot a free throw to complete a 3 point play with the Cats up 43-29. Kyle Wiltjer converted his free throw and a basket by Julius Mays extended the Cats' lead to 17 points, 46-29, at the under 12 media timeout.
In the third segment, the Cats added another 2 points to their lead to establish a game high 19 point lead, 50-31 prompting a Portland timeout with 9:47 to play. Portland outscores the Cats 4-2 over the balance of the segment to trim the lead to 17 points, 52-35, at the under 8 media timeout. In the fourth segment, the Cats established their game high lead, 21 points, 60-49, at the under 4 media timeout, with Portland on the line after the timeout.
The teams play out the final segment with the Cats winning 74-46, a 28 point win.
UK scored its 74 points in 74 possessions [1.00 ppp] for the game, and PORTLAND scored its 46 points on 73 possessions [0.63 ppp].
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 44-39, but Portland won the offensive glass with a 11-10 offensive rebounding advantage. PORTLAND converted its 11 second chance possessions into 4 second chance points while Kentucky converted their 10 second chance possessions to score 11 second chance points. PORTLAND had an offensive efficiency of 0.575 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 0.364 ppp for its 11 second chance possessions. UK had 0.851ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 1.100 ppp on its10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 26.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while PORTLAND was able to convert 24.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 12-22 [54.5%]. PORTLAND made 10-16 [62.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 29-59 overall [49.2%] and 4-13 from long range [30.8%]. For PORTLAND, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 12-45 [26.7%] and from long range, PORTLAND hit 4-13 [30.8%].
The Cats who committed 14 turnovers, one for every 5.3 possessions. The Cats forced 18 PORTLAND turnovers, one for every 4.1 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 26 point UK win, 81-55 at a pace of 70 possessions for UK and 69 possessions for Portland. The final score was 74 (81) to 46 (55) at a pace of 74 possessions for the Cats and 73 possessions for PORTLAND. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.000 ppp (1.157 ppp) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.630 ppp (0.797 ppp).
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon against Lipscomb at Rupp Arena
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks