BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2012-13 Season Analytical Writings
Now that these Cats have completed their annual week of final exams in the classroom, they must begin to prepare in earnest for their biggest “final” exam of the month. The moment these students close their final blue book on December 14, Coach Calipari will summon them to the Craft Center where they will live, almost non-stop, until December 29 when Coach Calipari will take them into hostile territory for the second time this season. There is an old law school adage that says, “The Only Exam That Matters Is The Bar Exam.” Well, in the world of Kentucky basketball, during the non-conference schedule it seems as if the only exam that matters is the Louisville game.
Yes, everyone one involved understands that the team plays other opponents, and that some of them are even worthy opponents such as Maryland, Duke, Notre Dame, and Baylor. This Saturday afternoon, the Cats will take a short respite from their exam preparation to take a short quiz at Rupp Arena against Lipscomb. The following Saturday, the Cats will make a similar Rupp excursion for the Marshall quiz. However, everyone in the Commonwealth, and beyond, knows that December 29 is all that really matters for in the big picture. The reason is that a win over Louisville will not just provide another year of bragging rights for the Commonwealth's Team, but a win over Louisville will effectively numb the pain of earlier losses and signal to THE NATION that the Cats are “getting it.”
Lipscomb has opened the season with four wins in eight starts, and one of the four wins came at the expense of non-D1 opponent Maryville Tennessee by 18 points. Two of Lipscomb's three D1 wins have been at home over #264 Tennessee Tech by 16 points and #316 Tennessee Martin by 14 points. Lipscomb claims a road win over #145 Gardner Webb by 4 points. Lipscomb's four losses have come at #21 Mississippi by 46 points, at home to #77 Murray State by 9 points, and two losses to #26 Belmont by 29 at Lipscomb and 34 at Belmont.
Lipscomb has averaged about 75 possessions per game, producing 70.9 ppg (0.94 ppp) and allowing 81.6 ppg (1.086 ppp) against an early schedule that Pomeroy rates as the 64 th toughest (0.6221). Lipscomb has turned the ball over on 25.6% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 16.5% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, Lipscomb has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 36.7%, about 4% above the 33% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 69.8%, which is about 2% better than the national average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 possessions per game, producing 77.0 ppg (1.10 ppp) and allowing 63.1 ppg (0.90 ppp) against a schedule strength of 0..5590 (130 th ). The Cats have committed turnovers on 17.7% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 20.4% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 32.0% and 70.1% on the offensive and defensive ends.
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of the Cats by 30 points, 88-58, in a game played at a pace of 73 possessions for the Cats and 73 possessions for Lipscomb. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 26 points, 87-61 at a pace of 73 possessions. From my perspective, a margin on Saturday of less than 20 points would not bode well for the Cats final exam preparations, and a win by 40 or more would suggest that these players are beginning to grasp the broader concepts that Coach Calipari has been lecturing about for the past two months.
Since his return to the team, Ryan Harrow has appeared in 4 games, logging 9 minutes at Notre Dame, 18 against Baylor, 21 against Samford, and 25 minutes against Portland. There is some chatter that Coach Calipari may juggle the starting lineup against Lipscomb, sending Kyle Wiltjer to the bench to play a reserve role. Coach Calipari will change the starting lineup for the first time since game 2 when Ryan Harrow was unable to be with the team. Coach Calipari will use the the three freshmen, Noel, Goodwin, and Poythress starting with Ryan Harrow and Julius Mays. Goodwin will move down to his natural shooting guard position, and Mays will start at the other wing. Coach Calipari will use Cauley-Stein, Kyle Wiltjer , Hood, and Polson off the bench.
Kentucky controlled the tip, and opened the scoring on their second possession, but Lipscomb answered. After several dry trips by each team, a technical foul on Lipscomb allowed the Cats to ease back in front by a pair, and second chance baskets by each team closed the scoring in the opening segment, with the Cats up by 2, 6-4, at the under 16 media timeout. Poythress will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes. Poythress made both free throws to ease out to the game high 4 point lead, and over the balance of the second segment, the teams matched each other in a three point shooting display, 3 at each end of the court, and the Cats maintained that 4 point lead at the under 12 media timeout, 19-15.
In the third segment, the Cats extended their lead to a game high 9 points, but Lipscomb trimmed a point from the lead to 8 points, 27-19 at the under 8 media timeout with 6:47 to play in the first half and Lipscomb in possession. In an abbreviated 4 th segment, the cats added to their lead, expanding it to 12 points, 35-23 at the under 4 media timeout. In the final segment, the Cats score the last 6 points of the half after Lipscomb trimmed the lead to 8 points, and the Cats lead at the half by 14 points, 43-29.
UK scored its 43 points in a total of 37 possessions for the half, and LIPSCOMB scored its 29 points on a total of 37 possessions. Kentucky and Lipscomb each grabbed 19 rebounds in the first half, but Kentucky controlled the offensive glass,9-7 Kentucky converted its offensive rounding advantage into a 12-4 advantage in second chance points. LIPSCOMB had an offensive efficiency of 0.676 ppp on its 37 first chance possessions and 0.571 ppp for its 7 second chance possession. UK had 0.838 ppp on its 37 first chance possessions and 1.333 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a low 42.9% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LIPSCOMB was able to convert 41.2% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, after making 8-12 (66.7%). LIPSCOMB finished 2-5 [40.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 16-37 overall [43.2%] and 3-10 from long range [30.0%]. For LIPSCOMB, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 9-19 [47.4%] and from long range, LIPSCOMB hit 3-7 [42.9%].
The Cats committed 5 turnovers, one for every 7.4 possessions. The Cats forced 15 LIPSCOMB turnovers, one for every 2.5 possessions.
While Kyle Wiltjer did not start the game, his strong first half earned him a starting role for the second half. As has been the case so often with this team, the start of the second half is marked by lazy play at each end, and Lipscomb scores the first 4 points, forcing a quick timeout by Coach Calipari. After the timeout, the teams traded baskets until near the end of the first segment when a Hood 3 pointer lifted the Cats up by 15, 53-38. In the second segment, the Cats held Lipscomb to a single point, while the Cats added 8 points, 6 on a pair of Kyle Wiltjer 3 pointers, to extend the lead to 22 points, 61-39, at the under 12 media timeout.
In the third segment, the Cats continue to pour it on Lipscomb, outscoring the Bisons 12-3 in the segment to open the lead to 31 points, 73-42, at the under 8 media timeout, and Polson will be shooting the bonus when play resumes. In the fourth segment, the Cats continued its dominance, adding another 7 points to the lead, which now stands at 38 points, 82-44 at the under 4 media timeout with 3:42 to play in the game. The Cats close the game at the same margin, 38 points, 88-50.
UK scored its 88 points in 73possessions [1.21 ppp] for the game, and LIPSCOMB scored its 50 points on 72 possessions [0.69 ppp].
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 42-32, and Kentucky won the offensive glass with a 18-12 offensive rebounding advantage. LIPSCOMB converted its 12 second chance possessions into 7 second chance points while Kentucky converted their 18 second chance possessions to score 20 second chance points. LIPSCOMB had an offensive efficiency of 0.597 ppp on its 72 first chance possessions and 0.583 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 0.932 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 1.111 ppp on its 18 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 47.4% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LIPSCOMB was able to convert 33.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 16-26 [61.5%]. LIPSCOMB made 13-24 [54.2%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 32-66 overall [48.5%] and 8-22 from long range [36.4%]. For LIPSCOMB, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 14-38 [36.8%] and from long range, LIPSCOMB hit 3-10 [30.0%].
The Cats who committed 14 turnovers, one for every 5.2 possessions. The Cats forced 24 LIPSCOMB turnovers, one for every 3.0 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 30 point UK win, 88-58 at a pace of 73 possessions for UK and 73 possessions for Lipscomb. The final score was 88 (88) to 50 (58) at a pace of 73 possessions for the Cats and 72 possessions for LIPSCOMB. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.205 ppp (1.205 ppp) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.694 ppp (0.795 ppp).
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon against Marshall at Rupp Arena
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks