BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2012-13 Season Analytical Writings
Before the Cats embarked on the current five game swing that includes stops at Auburn, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas A&M, with a home date against LSU in the middle, I wrote about this team's split personality. We saw it manifest again in their Waltz across Alabama. Against Auburn they played upbeat, sharp passing, accurate shooting, intimidating defense that resulted in a road win with great ease. Then three days later, the team appeared tense, timid, inaccurate, and their offense and defense abandoned them, especially in the second half. In the second half, the Crimson Tide outscored the Blue Cats 35-22 on just 30 possessions.
The personality disorder is also apparent in a close examination of this team's pattern of efficiency over the first 18 games. This is the least consistent offense of a Kentucky team since 2000 when I began tracking efficiency variances for offense and defense. However, while this team's offensive variance is the highest I have observed at 15.2%, the defensive variance is 26.7% when the average variance has been 16.9% prior to this season. This team cannot decide whether they should play like the monsters of the midway or the sisters for the poor.
Make no mistake, Auburn is not near the team that Alabama is, and any objective observer would not have expected a margin of victory and ease of victory that Kentucky enjoyed at Auburn when they took the floor in Tuscaloosa. However, this UK team should have taken care of business against Alabama just the same, and make no mistake, Mississippi will be as much more difficult than Alabama as Alabama was compared to Auburn. Then this formidable sequence concludes at Texas A&M, a team that embarrassed Coach Calipari's Cats in Rupp Arena 2 weeks ago.
And along came LSU, hot off a 4 point win over those very same Texas A&M Aggies that owned the Cats in Rupp, not the ideal recipe for fixing problems. This Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde act is in jeopardy of playing itself right out of a coveted bye in the SEC Tournament and a bid to the big dance. If it does not get it right soon, it will be too late, if it is not already.
LSU brings a 10-6 record into this game, and the Tigers are coming off a win after losing their first 4 SEC games after posting a 9-2 non-conference record. LSU's most impressive wins have been by 5 over #98 Seton Hall, and by 4 over #90 Texas A&M, both in Baton Rouge. LSU's has lost to #35 Marquette, #59 Boise State, #1 Florida, which is no source of embarrassment, but the Tigers may have some difficulty explaining a 5 point loss at #167 Auburn, a 9 point loss at #164 Georgia, and a 9 point loss to #194 South Carolina.
LSU has averaged about 73 possessions per game, producing 72.1 ppg (0.99 ppp) and allowing 68.1 ppg (0.93 ppp) against a schedule that Pomeroy rates as the 241 st toughest (0.4431). LSU has turned the ball over on 22.1% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 23.5% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, LSU has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 37.0% about 4% the 33% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 66.6%, slightly below the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 possessions per game, producing 75.9 ppg (1.08 ppp) and allowing 61.6 ppg (0.83 ppp) against a schedule strength of 0..5463 (112 th ). The Cats have committed turnovers on 18.5% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 19.8% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 34.5% and 70.0% on the offensive and defensive ends.
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of the Cats by 27 points, 79-60 in a game played at a pace of 72 possessions for the Cats and 71 possessions for LSU. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 18 points, 81-63 at a pace of 75 possessions. As discussed previously, this game will depend on which identity shows up in LSU on Tuesday night. If it is the personality that sustained high hopes over the first half of this season, I would expect a Kentucky win by 28 or more. However, if the timid personality shows up for this one, the Cats will not be able to cover achieve a double digit spread.
Willie Cauley-Stein will be in street clothes for today's game again following the procedure on his knee, the third game he will miss. Therefore, Coach Calipari will use the three freshmen, Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin , and Alex Poythress starting with Ryan Harrow and Julius Mays. Coach Calipari will use Kyle Wiltjer,, and Jarrod Polson off the bench. Jon Hood has returned to practice, but we do not know how long he can go coming off his bout with mononucleosis. Twany Beckham remains unavailable due to his reinjured back.
LSU controlled the tip, and after a couple of empty possessions, drew first blood, and eventually moved to a 5-2 lead, but the Cats ended the opening segment with an 8-0 run to take a 10-5 lead at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, LSU again posted 5 points on a basket and a three pointer, but the Cats add 8 points to its score to stretch their early lead to 8 points, 18-10 at the under 12 media timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Cats fail to score on two of their first three possessions, and LSU makes their 3 rd 3 pointer of the game to 7 points, prompting Coach Calipari to clal a timeout with about 10:15 to play. Then with about 8:30 to go, Goodwin throws the ball to an LSU player on the inbounds play, and LSU gets an easy layup to cut the lead to 7 points, 24-17, forcing Coach Calipari to call Kentucky's second timeout of this segment. After Kentucky's second timeout, the Cats convert to move back on top by 9 points, 26-17, at the under 8 media timeout, and Goodwin will be shooting a pair of free throws after the media timeout.
In the 4 th segment, the Cats moved up by 14 points, 31-17, but LSU closed the gap to 10 points, 35-25 at the under 4 media timeout with 3:51 to play in the first half. After extending the lead to 15 points, 40-25, the Cats allowed LSU to outscore them 6-2 over the final 2 minutes for an 11 point halftime lead, 42-31.
UK scored its 42 points on 34 possessions for the half, and LSU scored its 31 on 34 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half 22-15. Kentucky won the offensive rebounds 7-6, but Kentucky used its second chance possessions to score 9 second chance points to only 4 for the Tigers. LSU had an offensive efficiency of 0.794 ppp on its 34 first chance possessions and 0.667 ppp for its 6 second chance possession. UK had 0.971ppp on its 34 first chance possessions and 1.286 ppp on its 7 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 43.8% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LSU was able to convert 28.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, making 3 of 7 attempts (42.9%). LSU finished 3-4 [75.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 19-33 overall [57.6%] and 1-7 from long range [14.3%]. For LSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 8-22 [36.4%] and from long range, LSU hit 4-12 [33.3%].
The Cats committed 5 turnovers, one for every 6.8 possessions. The Cats forced 5 LSU turnovers, one for every 6.8 possessions.
As has been the custom with this Kentucky team, LSU came to play in the second half, and the Cats have not. LSU cut the lead that stood at 15 points with 2 minutes left in the first half to 7 point 49-42, and to 8 points at the under 16 media timeout, and LSU has the ball after the timeout following Kentucky's second turnover of the opening segment. During the second segment, the teams traded baskets, except LSU was able to trim the lead to only 5 points, 54-49, just before the under 12 media timeout with UK leading by 7, 56-49.
After the timeout, each team failed to score on their first possession, and then Mays trips to the floor, calling a timeout to save the possession from another turnover, now standing at 9 for the game, and 4 already in the second half with 11:14 to play in the game. In the third segment, the Cats added 2 points back onto the margin, leading by 9 points, 63-54 at the under 8 media timeout and LSU will have the ball after the timeout. In the 4 th segment, the Cats eased up by 11 points, but a run by LSU to finish the segment, capped by a 3 pointer, cut the lead to 5 points at the under 4 media timeout with 3:20 to play in the game and Kentucky with the possession.
Out of the timeout, another turnover on a lazy pass resulted in a run out basket to cut the lead to 3. On the next possession, Alex Poythress goes to the line and misses the first of two to ease back up by 4 points. After LSU missed on the next possession, a LSU rebounding foul sends Alex Poythress back to the line where he makes both to ease on top by 6 points with 2:14 to play. The Cats steal a pass in the lane, but after running the shot clock down, LSU steals the ball from Nerlens Noel, and LSU scores and calls timeout with 1:17 to play. LSU fouls UK, and they convert only 1 of 2, and LSU answers with another 3 pointer to cut the lead to 2 points with 58 seconds to play, and LSU calls another timeout to set their defense.
After the timeout, the Cats ran the shot clock down and LSU fouls Mays as he makes a move into the lane. He missed the second, leaving LSU with the ball down 3 for the last possession. LSU missed the 3 point attempt, but puts it back in to cut the lead to 1 point with 3.9 seconds to play, and LSU calls another timeout. On the inbounds play, LSU fouls Kyle Wiltjer with 3.1 seconds. Just prior to the last inbounds play, Kentucky had 6 players on the floor, and Nerlens Noel was supposed to be on the bench, and after lengthy discussions, the officials concluded that Nerlens Noel had gotten off the floor in time. Kyle Wiltjer made both for a 3 point lead, and LSU burns its last timeout with 3.1 still on the clock.
After LSU gets the ball in play, Goodwin fouls sending Hickey to the line for the bonus. Hickey missed the first, Alex Poythress was fouled on the rebound. Alex Poythress makes both for the final margin, 5 points, 75-70.
UK scored its 75 points in 68 possessions [1.10 ppp] for the game, and LSU scored its 70 points on 68 possessions [1.03 ppp].
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 39-26, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 13-11. However, LSU converted its 11 second chance possessions into 14 second chance points while Kentucky converted their 13 second chance possessions to score 14 second chance points. LSU had an offensive efficiency of 0.824 ppp on its 68 first chance possessions and 1.273 ppp for its 11 second chance possessions. UK had 0.897 ppp on its 68 first chance possessions and 1.077 ppp on its 13 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 46.4% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LSU was able to convert 29.7% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
Kentucky shot poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 19-28 [67.9%]. LSU made 12-15 [71.4%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 22-56 overall [39.3%] and 5-9 from long range [80.0%]. For LSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 17-43 [39.5%] and from long range, LSU hit 8-20 [40.0%]. The Cats made 27-52 (51.9%) overall, but only 2-11 (18.2%) from outside the arc.
The Cats who committed 16 turnovers, one for every 4.3 possessions. The Cats forced 10 LSU turnovers, one for every 6.8 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 27 point UK win, 83-56 at a pace of 72 possessions for UK and 71 possessions for LSU. The final score was 75 (83) to 70 (56) at a pace of 68 possessions for the Cats and 68 possessions for LSU. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.103 ppp (1.139 ppp) and the UK defensive efficiency was 1.029 ppp (0.803 ppp).
Next Game On Schedule: January 29, 2013 when the Cats return to the road for the first of another 2 game road swing to Mississippi.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks