BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2012-13 Season Analytical Writings
The first half of the SEC is not a matter of record, and the Cats find themselves a game off the pace that Florida is setting. The Cats have won four consecutive games, matching their longest win streak of this season when the Cats took care of #193 Samford, #272 Portland, #307 Lipscomb, and #216 Marshall before losing the road game at Louisville. If the Cats take care of business on Saturday, they will carry their longest win streak of the year, 5 games, into modern version of Alligator Alley against #1 Florida next Tuesday.
When the Auburn Tigers come into Rupp, it will be the second rematch of the 2012-13 season, the first being the home loss and road win against #88 Texas A&M. In addition to Auburn, the second half of the schedule will include 4 rematches, including both of the Florida games over the final 8 game span. On January 19, the Cats turned in one of their 4 or 5 best game performances of the season when the Cats beat Auburn at Auburn by 22 points, 75-53. The Cats have won 4 of their 5 games since beating Auburn. In contrast, Auburn has lost 4 of their 5 games since losing to the Cats. Ironically, Auburn got its sole win against Alabama, the same team that handed the Cats their only loss.
The Cats did not exactly take advantage of the opportunity to extend their game to a new, higher level against South Carolina, and for that reason, the Auburn game takes on a greater importance for the Cats to play their game for the full 40, and post a convincing win over a SEC lower division opponent at Rupp.
Auburn enters this game with a 9-13 record, 3-6 in the SEC. AUBURN's most impressive game since they played the Cats has been this week's 12 point handling of #80 Alabama at Auburn and a 2 point home loss to #28 Mississippi. However, the Tigers lost by 12 at #150 Vanderbilt, and by 8 at #117 Georgia The AUBURN non-conference schedule strength was only 0..3346 (#323 rd out of 347 D1 teams) and since starting SEC play, the Auburn overall schedule strength has risen to only 0.5082 (#143 rd ).
AUBURN has averaged between 68 and 69 possessions per game, producing 66.7 ppg (0.97 ppp) and allowing 66.4 ppg (0.97 ppp). AUBURN has turned the ball over on 20.1% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 21.4% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, AUBURN has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 32.3% about 1% below the 33% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 69.1%, about 2 to 3% above the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 possessions per game, producing 76.2 ppg (1.09 ppp) and allowing 62.9 ppg (0.90 ppp) against a schedule strength of 0..5953 (72 nd ). The Cats have committed turnovers on 19.1% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 18.3% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 34.2% and 69.6% on the offensive and defensive ends.
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Kentucky by 22 points, 79-57 in a game played at a pace of 69 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for AUBURN. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 18 points, 77-59 at a pace of 69 possessions. The likely margin range for this matchup is 13 to 31 points.
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, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Jarrod Polson off the bench. Jon Hood may also see some game action tonight. Twany Beckham remains unavailable due to his reinjured back.
The Cats win the opening tip, but on the first three trips settled for 3 point shots, missing on all three, and Goodwin's 1-2 free throw trip gave the Cats a fragile 1-0 lead. However, Auburn hit back-to-back 3 pointers in route to a 10-6 lead of their own. Nerlens Noel made a touch slam and was fouled to pull the Cats back within 2, 10-8, at the under 16 media timeout, and Nerlens Noel made his free throw to complete the 3 point play after the time out.
Nerlens Noel's free throw pulled the Cats back to within 1 point, and after trading baskets, a pair of Kyle Wiltjer free throws lifted the Cats back on top by 1 point, 13-12. However, Auburn moved back up with a second chance baskets. Jarrod Polson's 3 pointer gave the Cats their biggest lead of the game, 2 points, 16-14, at the under 12 media timeout, and the Cats will have the ball. Through the first 8 minutes, the Cats have hit 5 of 11 shots, but only 2 for 8 from long range as they continue to settle for the 3 point shot rather than work the ball to the inside against this Auburn team. Auburn is 5 of 13, including 2-4 from long range.
Out of the timeout, the Cats change their strategy, and go inside to Alex Poythress for a pair of baskets around an Auburn turnover to put the Cats up by 6 points, 20-14, prompting an Auburn timeout with 10:30 to play in the first half. However, Auburn responded after the timeout with a 3 pointer, 1 of 2 free throws, and another 3 pointer to move back on top by a point, 21-20, prompting Coach Calipari to call a timeout with 9:13 to play. After the timeout, Mays made a pair of free throws, and Kyle Wiltjer made a 3 pointer to lift the Cats back on top by 4 points, 25-21, at the under 8 media timeout. The Cats will have the ball after the timeout.
Through the first 12 minutes, the game is playing at a pace of mid to high 60s. In the fourth segment, the Cats managed to add 3 points to their fragile lead to move up by 7, 31-24 at the under 4 media timeout. After the timeout, Nerlens Noel will be at the line for a bonus opportunity. Nerlens Noel made the first but missed the second to lift the Cats to an 8 point lead, but Auburn scored the next 4 points to 32-28. Willie Cauley-Stein drove to score and stop the short Auburn run, and he was fouled on the shot. He missed the free throw, and on the rebound Granger of Auburn threw a punch at Goodwin and was ejected from the game. There was a foul on Kentucky's Goodwin. Goodwin's retaliation was a technical. Auburn missed the front end of the bonus, and each team tagged on a three pointed in the last 40 seconds to take the game to a 6 point Kentucky lead, 37-31, at the half.
UK scored its 37 points on 32 possessions for the half, and AUBURN scored its 31 points on 30 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half 21-17, and Kentucky won on the offensive boards, 7-5. Auburn converted its 5 second chance possessions into 5 second chance points, and Kentucky used its 7 second chances for 7 points. AUBURN had an offensive efficiency of 0.867 ppp on its 30 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 5 second chance possession. UK had 0.938 ppp on its 32 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 7 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 36.8% of its misses as offensive rebounds while AUBURN was able to convert 26.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, making 9 of 14 attempts (64.3%). AUBURN finished 3-5 [60.0%] from the free throw line. The Cats hit 12 of 29 (41.4%) shots in the first half including 4-14 (28.6%) from long range. For AUBURN, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 5-20 [25.0%] and from long range, AUBURN hit 6-9 [66.7%].
The Cats committed 4 turnovers, one for every 8.0 possessions. The Cats forced 3 AUBURN turnovers, one for every 10.0 possessions.
The Cats open the second half the same way as the first half, with settling for 3 point shots rather than work the ball to the inside, and Auburn takes advantage and cuts the lead to 3 points, 39-36. The teams only managed 2 points each to the end of the opening segment with the Cats up by 3, 41-38, and Nerlens Noel set for a pair of free throws after the break. In the opening segment, Auburn was called for 6 fouls, and both of their centers committed their 4 th foul. Chub's 4 th foul was a forearm slug into Nerlens Noel's back.
In the second segment, the Cats used an intentional foul on Kyle Wiltjer after a steal, and a Mays 3 pointer to move back on top by 9 points, 47-38, prompting an Auburn timeout with 13:06 to play in the game. After the teams traded baskets, a Kyle Wiltjer 3 pointer provided Kentucky's first double digit lead of the game, prompting another Auburn timeout, with 10:20 to play and the Cats up 54-42. After the Auburn timeout, a foul on Willie Cauley-Stein sends the teams back to their benches for the under 12 media timeout with 10:11 to play in the game.
In a short third segment, the Cats add a point to the lead, lifting it to 13 points, 59-46 at the under 8 media timeout with 7:38 to play in the game. After the timeout, Nerlens Noel will be shooting the bonus. In the fourth segment, Willie Cauley-Stein comes alive on the offensive end and the Cats ride his scoring to a 16 point lead, 68-52, at the under 4 media timeout with 3:05 to play and Auburn in possession. The teams play out the final 3 minutes with Auburn cutting the final margin to 10 points, 72-62.
UK scored its 72 points in 61 possessions [1.18 ppp] for the game, and AUBURN scored its 62 points on 60 possessions [1.03 ppp].
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 35-29, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 11-9. AUBURN converted its 9 second chance possessions into 8 second chance points while Kentucky converted their 11 second chance possessions to score 10 second chance points. AUBURN had an offensive efficiency of 0.900 ppp on its 60 first chance possessions and 0.888 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 1.016 ppp on its 61 first chance possessions and 0.909 ppp on its 11 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 35.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while AUBURN was able to convert 27.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
Kentucky shot poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 26-38 [68.4%]. AUBURN made 11-17 [64.7%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 20-46 overall [43.5%] and 6-21 from long range [28.6%]. For AUBURN, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 15-38 [39.5%] and from long range, AUBURN hit 7-13 [53.8%].
The Cats who committed 10 turnovers, one for every 6.1 possessions. The Cats forced 9 AUBURN turnovers, one for every 6.7 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 22 point Kentucky win, 79-57 at a pace of 69 possessions for UK and 69 possessions for AUBURN. The final score was 72 (79) to 62 (57) at a pace of 61 possessions for the Cats and 60 possessions for AUBURN. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.180 ppp (1.145 ppp) and the UK defensive efficiency was 1.033 ppp (0.826 ppp).
Next Game On Schedule: February 12, 2013 when the Cats return to the road to take on the SEC leader, and perhaps the NCAA #1 team, Florida in Gainesville.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks