BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2012-13 Season Analytical Writings
I have started writing about the next game on the Wildcats' SEC journey three times, and each time I dispose of the paper, and struggle to find a more appropriate way to characterize a 2 point win on the road that could have been, and probably should have been a loss for this team. Fact is, I can't paint this pig with the most expensive lip stick and make it anything other than a pig. It was ugly. It was unsettling, and it brought back many of the insecurities that the Baylor loss produced. However, Baylor was a home loss, and Thursday's encounter at Vanderbilt is a road win. However, there is little time between games to lament or celebrate because another opponent will appear in a few days, and for Kentucky, it will be Texas A&M in less than 2 days.
Texas A&M also won its SEC opener this week, beating Arkansas by 18 points at home. Texas A&M will enter Rupp Arena on Saturday with an 11-3 overall record. The Aggies' three losses have been to #42 St. Louis by 21 on a neutral floor, to #53 Oklahoma by 10 points at a semi-away venue, and to #171 Southern by 2 points at home. The Aggies' most impressive win so far this season has been over #72 Arkansas by 18 on Wednesday night.
Texas A&M has averaged about 62 possessions per game, producing 65.5 ppg (1.05 ppp) and allowing 58.6 ppg (0.94 ppp) against an early schedule that Pomeroy rates as the 304 th toughest (0..4043). Texas A&M has turned the ball over on 20.1% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 21.4% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, Texas A&M has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 37.0% about 4% above the 33% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 66.4%, about equal to the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 71 possessions per game, producing 77.9 ppg (1.09 ppp) and allowing 60.6 ppg (0.86 ppp) against a schedule strength of 0..5342 (156 th ). The Cats have committed turnovers on 18.2% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 21.2% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 34.6% and 69.7% on the offensive and defensive ends.
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of the Cats by 19 points, 75-56 in a game played at a pace of 67 possessions for the Cats and 66 possessions for Texas A&M. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 16 points, 71-55 at a pace of 64 possessions. From my perspective, a margin of 28 points or more would be a very strong performance while a margin in single digits would be a weak one.
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. Jon Hood continues his recovery from an illness, andTwany Beckham has reinjured his back. Neither of these players will be available for this game.
A&M controlled the tip, and after a miss, the Cats draw first blood. However, A&M score the next 5 points to open an early 3 point lead, 5-2. The team's traded baskets of the remainder of the segment that ended with A&m ahead by 1 point, 10-9 and in possession at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, a three pointer by Kentucky pulled the Cats even at 14-14, and after matching scores to a 16-16 tie, A&M scored back to back baskets, the second off a blocked shot to move on top by 4 points, 20-16 at the under 12 media timeout.
In the third segment, the Cats trimmed the lead to 2 points, 20-18 and again at 22-20, but A&M scored the next 4 points to extend their lead to 6 points, 26-20, at the under 8 media timeout. A&M will have the ball after the timeout. Out of the timeout, Elston Turner hit a 3 pointer to move A&M out to a 9 point lead, 29-20. The Cats managed to stop the Aggie run with a pair of free throws by Alex Poythress and a basket by Willie Cauley-Stein, prompting an Aggie timeout. After the Aggie timeout, neither team managed to score over the balance of the 4 th segment. After the under 4 media timeout, Nerlens Noel will be on the free throw line for the bonus. In the final segment, each team managed 7 points, and the Cats go to the locker room down 5 points, 36-31.
UK scored its 31 points on 30 possessions for the half, and TEXAS A&M scored its 36 points on 29 possessions. Texas A&M won the battle of the boards in the first half 17-16. Texas A&M won the offensive glass 8-5, and that advantage translated into a 8-7 advantage for Texas A&M in second chance points. TEXAS A&M had an offensive efficiency of 0.966 ppp on its 29 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 8 second chance possession. UK had 0.800 ppp on its 30 first chance possessions and 1.400 ppp on its 5 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a 35.7% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TEXAS A&M was able to convert 50.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this half, making 7 of 8 attempts (87.5%). TEXAS A&M finished 4-4 [100.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 11-25 overall [44.0%]and 2-5 from long range [40.0%]. For TEXAS A&M, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 10-18 [55.6%] and from long range, TEXAS A&M hit 4-12 [33.3%].
The Cats committed 6 turnovers, one for every 5.0 possessions. The Cats forced 5 TEXAS A&M turnovers, one for every 5.8 possessions.
The Aggies open the second half with a quick score, and after Coach Calipari draws a technical foul, the Aggies add 2 more points to their score to lift the Aggies on top by 9 points, 40-31. The Cats appeared to become more focused after the technical foul shots, and went on a 10-2 run to close out the first segment of the second half down 1 point, 42-41 at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, the Cats briefly regained the lead, but A&M did not allow the Kentucky lead to stand for long, and finished the segment with a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 4 points, 49-45, at the under 12 media timeout. Kentucky will have the ball after the timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Cats take the ball to the post to Alex Poythress for a 3 point play. Following an A&M miss, Mays drains a 3 pointer to put the Cats on top by 2 points, 51-49, forcing an Aggie timeout with 10:56 to play in the game. After the timeout, the Aggies score on back to back baskets to regain the lead, 53-51, prompting Coach Calipari to call another timeout with 9:32 to play in the game. After the timeout, the Cats responded and returned to the lead by 2 points, but each time the Cats eased up, A&M responded to draw even at the under 8 media timeout, 58-58 with 6:39 to play, and A&M in possession of the ball.
Back to back steals lift the Cats on top by their largest margin of the day, 4 points, 62-58, but A&M responded with a 3 pointer and a basket from 15 feet to move back in front by 1 point, 63-62, and Coach Calipari calls another timeout with 4:46 to play in the game. After the timeout, Archie Goodwin hit one of two free throws to tie the score, but A&M scored the next 5 points, forcing Coach Calipari to call another timeout, down 5, 68-63. Out of the timeout, the Cats can't score and A&M hits another 3 pointer, their 9 th on 18 attempts to move ahead by a game high 8 points, 71-63. The Cats turn the ball over, and foul, sending A&M to the line for free throws, already ahead by 8 points. The Aggies make both free throws, and after another Kentucky miss, return to the line for another pair of attempts, making one for an 11-point lead with 1:30 to play in the game. The games ends with the Cats on the short end of a 83-71 final score, to drop their second game in Rupp of the season.
UK scored its 71 points in 63 possessions [1.13 ppp] for the game, and TEXAS A&M scored its 83 points on 62 possessions [1.34 ppp].
Texas A&M won the boards, with a rebounding edge 35-30, and Texas A&M won the offensive glass with a 15-14 offensive rebounding advantage. TEXAS A&M converted its 15 second chance possessions into 15 second chance points while Kentucky converted their 14 second chance possessions to score 18 second chance points. TEXAS A&M had an offensive efficiency of 1.097 ppp on its 62 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 15 second chance possessions. UK had 0.841 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 1.286 ppp on its 14 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 41.2% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TEXAS A&M was able to convert 48.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 17-22[77.3%]. TEXAS A&M made 12-18 [66.7%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 24-56 overall [42.9%] and 6-18 from long range [33.3%]. For TEXAS A&M, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a very strong 22-40 [55.0%] and from long range, TEXAS A&M hit 9-19 [47.4%].
The Cats who committed 11 turnovers, one for every 5.7 possessions. The Cats forced 10 TEXAS A&M turnovers, one for every 6.2 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 19 point UK win, 75-56 at a pace of 67 possessions for UK and 66 possessions for Texas A&M. The final score was 71 (75) to 83 (56) at a pace of 63 possessions for the Cats and 62 possessions for TEXAS A&M. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.127 ppp (1.119 ppp) and the UK defensive efficiency was 1;339 ppp (0.848 ppp).
Next Game On Schedule: January 15, 2013 against Tennessee at Rupp.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks