BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2012-13 Season Analytical Writings
This year, the Eagles earned the bragging rights with a victory over the Cats at the Yum Center. It is the first Cards triumph since Billy Gillispie occupied The Chair for Kentucky. Make no mistake, this edition of Cards is the real deal, one of the top four teams in the country, and a legitimate contender for the national championship. Furthermore, no one is likely to mistake this Kentucky team as in that exclusive club this year, at least not yet. However, as has become the custom in these annual battles of the Bluegrass, the underdog again extended the favorite and made the game closer than the pre-game talk would make the game.
The Cats managed to nearly erase a 17 point second half Louisville lead, but the Cats could get no closure than 2 points, at 63-61, and the final margin of 3 points resulted from near heroic shooting by Mays and Goodwin as the clock was winding down and the Cards were feeling comfortable in their impending win. Nevertheless, the Cats did show a grittiness to keep it close at the end that we have not seen from this team since its opening neutral court games against Maryland and Duke almost 2 months ago. Camp Calipari appears to be yielded dividends.
Now the Cats will turn their attention to the task that is now at hand, the SEC regular season, and they will use their last non-conference game of this season to consolidate their recent team gains, and have one last tune up for the rigors of SEC travels that begin next Saturday.
Eastern Michigan has opened the season with seven wins in twelve starts. However, three of the Eagles' wins have come at the hands of non-D1 opponents, Rochester Michigan, Madonna, and Siena Heights which reduces the D1 record to 4-5. The Eagles have not shied away from top competition, losing at #8 Syracuse by 36 points and at #9 Michigan by 39 points. While Eastern Michigan has lost at #291 Jacksonville State by 7, the Eagles have also sent the #72 Purdue Boilermakers home with a 3 point loss.
Eastern Michigan has averaged about 64 possessions per game, producing 53.9 ppg (0.85 ppp) and allowing 62.3 ppg (0.98 ppp) against an early schedule that Pomeroy rates as the 139 th toughest (0..5486). Eastern Michigan has turned the ball over on 22.9% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 22.2% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, Eastern Michigan has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 33.0% equal to the 33% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 60.1%, also about 7% below the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 71 possessions per game, producing 78.3 ppg (1.10 ppp) and allowing 62.7 ppg (0.89 ppp) against a schedule strength of 0..5722 (104 th ). The Cats have committed turnovers on 17.6% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 20.9% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 34.1% and 69.5% on the offensive and defensive ends.
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of the Cats by 31 points, 80-49 in a game played at a pace of 68 possessions for the Cats and 67 possessions for Eastern Michigan. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 25 points, 73-48 at a pace of 65 possessions. From my perspective, if the Cats beat Eastern Michigan by 40 points on Wednesday evening, the team will have demonstrated that the gains we saw over the last two weeks are continuing for this team. However, the Cats allow the Eagles to stay within 20 points of the Cats on the night, then the team's determination will remain a question as the team moves into its SEC schedule.
Coach Calipari will use the four freshmen, Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin , Alex Poythress, and Willie Cauley-Stein starting with Ryan Harrow. Coach Calipari will use Julius Mays, Kyle Wiltjer , and Jarrod Polson off the bench.
Eastern Michigan (EMU) controlled the tip and immediately drained a 3 point shot to start the scoring. Ryan Harrow answered on the Cats' first trip with a 3 pointer of his own, and after the Cats scored on 2 of their next 3 shots, the Cats opened an early 4 point lead, 7-3. Then, the Cats missed their next 4 shots, and made only 2 of 4 free throw attempts to take a 9-5 lead at the under 16 media timeout with 13:47 to play in the first half. In the abbreviated second segment, the Cats added 4 points in just 3 possessions while holding EMU scoreless over the 2 minute segment. The Cats lead 13-5 at the under 12 media timeout.
In the third segment, the Cats extended their lead to 12 points, 19-7 at the under 8 media timeout. The Cats will have the ball after the timeout. In the first 12 minutes, the pace has been in the low 60s, which is slower than anticipated and slower than the average EMU pace for the season. After the timeout, Jarrod Polson made both of his free throws to extend the lead to 14 points, 21-7. In an extended 4 th segment, the Cats used defensive pressure to force turnovers and extend their lead to 21 points, 30-9, before EMU trimmed one point from the margin at 33-13 at the under 4 media timeout and 2:15 to play in the first half. The teams close out the first half with the Cats on top by 24, 38-14.
UK scored its 38 points on 35 possessions for the half, and EASTERN MICHIGAN scored its 14 points on 36 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the boards 18-11 in the first half, but the teams battled to a 4-4 tie on the offensive boards. Kentucky used its 4 second chance possessions to score 5 second chance points while EMU used their 4 second chances for 4 second chance points. EASTERN MICHIGAN had an offensive efficiency of 0.389 ppp on its 36 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 4 second chance possession. UK had 0.943 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 1.250 ppp on its 4 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a low 26.7% of its misses as offensive rebounds while EASTERN MICHIGAN was able to convert 18.2% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this half, making 12 of 16 attempts (75.0%). EASTERN MICHIGAN finished 1-1 [100.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 11-25 overall [44.0%] and 4-13 from long range [30.8%]. For EASTERN MICHIGAN, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 5-20[25.0%] and from long range, EASTERN MICHIGAN hit 1-8 [12.5%].
The Cats committed 6 turnovers, one for every 5.8 possessions. The Cats forced 12 EASTERN MICHIGAN turnovers, one for every 3.0 possessions.
For the first time this season, the Cats won the opening segment of a second half, outscoring EMU 7-0 to the under 16 media timeout to extend the lead to 31 points, 45-14. In the 2 nd segment, the Cats increased their lead to 33 points at the under 12 media timeout, 56-23. In the third segment, the Cats added 12 points to the spread, outscoring EMU 18-6, lead by 45 points, 74-29, at the under 8 media timeout with 7:13 to play in the game.
In the 4 th segment, the Cats extend their dominating lead to 55 points, 88-33 at the under 4 media timeout, and Coach Calipari empties his bench during the timeout. The final score, 90-38, a 52 point victory.
UK scored its 90 points in 73 possessions [1.23 ppp] for the game, and EASTERN MICHIGAN scored its 38 points on 74 possessions [0.51 ppp].
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 52-27, and Kentucky won the offensive glass with a 13-8 offensive rebounding advantage. EASTERN MICHIGAN converted its 8 second chance possessions into 4 second chance points while Kentucky converted their 13 second chance possessions to score 15 second chance points. EASTERN MICHIGAN had an offensive efficiency of 0.459 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 0.500 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 1.027 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 1.154 ppp on its 13 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 40.6% of its misses as offensive rebounds while EASTERN MICHIGAN was able to convert 17.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 18-24[75.0%]. EASTERN MICHIGAN made 4-4 [100.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 31-60 overall [51.7%] and 10-26 from long range [38.5%]. For EASTERN MICHIGAN, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 11-44[25.0%] and from long range, EASTERN MICHIGAN hit 4-18 [22.2%].
The Cats who committed 15 turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions. The Cats forced 19 EASTERN MICHIGAN turnovers, one for every 3.9 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 31 point UK loss, 80-49 at a pace of 68 possessions for UK and 67 possessions for Eastern Michigan. The final score was 90 (80) to 38 (49) at a pace of 73 possessions for the Cats and 74 possessions for EASTERN MICHIGAN. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.233 ppp (1.176 ppp) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.514 ppp (0.731 ppp).
Next Game On Schedule: January 10, 2013 to open the 2013 SEC season at Vanderbilt.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks