BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2012-13 Season Analytical Writings
When the Cats traveled 90 miles west to take on Louisville in the Yum Center, most observers noted that the Cats would not play another marquee game until the last half of the SEC schedule that gives them two shots at Florida. That was 12 games ago, and the Cats are only 9-2 in the intervening 11 games. However, the Cats will take their longest win streak of the season with them to Gainesville, now at five games, when the meet the Gators. The Cats would move into control of their own destiny in the SEC with a win on Tuesday night, handing the Gators their second loss. However, that self-determination does not assure another SEC championship in 2013 because the Cats will have to run the table over the last eight games, which also means beating the Gators in their second meeting at Rupp without stumbling along the course at places like Tennessee and Arkansas.
On a more sober note, some UK fans whisper that they hope the Cats can keep it close on Tuesday in Gainesville. This attitude all but concedes the SEC regular season to the Gators, and seeks to find some sweet lemons from the defeat to foster hope for a win over the Gators in March, and a 2 nd place SEC finish. Sadly, you can include me in that group. I hope the Cats can keep it close. A lot closer than I see this match up, and a lot closer than most objective observers are likely to view it.
Florida enters this game with a 19-3 record, 9-1 in the SEC. The have accomplished this record against a non-conference schedule that rates 65 th most difficult (0.6282) and with the SEC games to date included, Florida's schedule strength rises to 0.6338 (51 st most difficult). Florida's losses have all come on the road, at #12 Arizona by 1, at #31 Kansas State by 6, and this week at #68 Arkansas by 11. However, those stumbles are offset by wins over #13 Wisconsin by 18, #28 Marquette by 33, #35 Mississippi by 14, and #40 Missouri by 31. Florida's overall body of work places with at the top of the heap, the most efficient team in the game as of this morning, and based on that #1 Pomeroy position, Florida is the odds on favorite to win the championship this season.
FLORIDA has averaged between 63 and 64 possessions per game, producing 74.2 ppg (1.17 ppp) and allowing 52.7 ppg (0.83 ppp). That is the nation's third most efficient offense and second most efficient defense this season. FLORIDA has turned the ball over on 18.3% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 23.2% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, FLORIDA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 36.3% about 3% above the 33% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 74.1%, about 7% above the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 69 to 70 possessions per game, producing 76.0 ppg (1.09 ppp) and allowing 62.5 ppg (0.90 ppp) against a schedule strength of 0..5815 (90 th ). The Cats have committed turnovers on 18.9% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 18.2% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 34.3% and 69.7% on the offensive and defensive ends.
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Florida by 19 points, 57-76 in a game played at a pace of 67 possessions for the Cats and 66 possessions for FLORIDA. Pomeroy figures the Game in Florida's favor by 16 points, 75-59 at a pace of 66 possessions. The likely margin range for this matchup is Florida by 10 to 28 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 Gators control the opening tip, but miss their first three shots and commit two turnovers as the Cats move out to an early 4-0 lead, but the Gators first basket was a 3 pointer by Murphy, and the Cats out did the Gators on early turnovers, committing three of their own, 2 as charging fouls, in the opening segment. At the under 16 media timeout, the Cats cling to the 1 point lead, 4-3, and the Gators will have the ball after the timeout. After the timeout, the Gators get a layup to take the lead, and following Kentucky's 4 th turnover, drain a 3 pointer on the break to convert a UK 4-0 lead into a Florida 8-4 lead, prompting Coach Calipari to call a quick timeout with 15:18 to play in the first half.
Following the Timeout, Nerlens Noel gets a second chance basket. Florida countered to go back up by 4, 10-6, but a 3 pointer by Polson and a slam by Goodwin lifted the Cats back into the lead by 1 point, 11-10, at the under 12 media timeout, and the Gators will be shooting a pair of free throws after the timeout. After the timeout, the Gators converted both free throws, and went on to establish a solid 7 point lead, 22-15, at the under 8 media timeout with 7:06 to play. Since the segment ended on Kentucky's 8 th turnover, the Gators will have the ball when play resumes.
Shortly after play resumes, Nerlens Noel commits his second foul, and goes to the bench with 6:26 to go. Over the balance of the segment, the Gators make three straight 3 pointers to move up by 12 points, 31-19, at the under 4 media timeout. The Gators continue to dominate as they go on top by 17, 36-19, before the Cats get 1 for 2 free throws by Alex Poythress, a put back basket by Willie Cauley-Stein, and a 3 pointer by Kyle Wiltjer to pull to within 11, 36-25. After a Florida timeout, the Gators go inside to Young and draw Willie Cauley-Stein's second foul. Young makes both free throws to close the first half scoring, Gators by 13 points, 38-25.
UK scored its 25 points on 29 possessions for the half, and FLORIDA scored its 38 points on 30 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half 15-12, and Kentucky won on the offensive boards, 8-6. Florida converted its 6 second chance possessions into 4 second chance points, and Kentucky used its 8 second chances for 6 points. FLORIDA had an offensive efficiency of 1.133 ppp on its 30 first chance possessions and 0.666 ppp for its 6 second chance possession. UK had 0.655 ppp on its 29 first chance possessions and 0.750 ppp on its 8 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 57.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while FLORIDA was able to convert 46.2% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, making 3 of 5 attempts (60.0%). FLORIDA finished 5-6 [83.3%] from the free throw line. The Cats hit 10 of 24 (41.7%) shots in the first half including 2-3 (66.7%) from long range. For FLORIDA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 9-20 [45.0%] and from long range, FLORIDA hit 5-7 [71.4%].
The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 2.6 possessions. The Cats forced 6 FLORIDA turnovers, one for every 5.0 possessions.
The Cats open play in the second half by going low to Alex Poythress, and just as the first half started, so did the second with Alex Poythress going to the line where he missed the first, and made the second. However, the Gators scored the next 5 points to take a 43-26 lead, prompting another Kentucky timeout with 17:02 to play in the game. After the timeout, the Cats fail to score on three consecutive 3 point attempts, and the Gators are fouled on their drive to the basket, taking the game to the under 16 media timeout with the Gators to take a pair of free throws after the timeout. In the first 4 minutes, the only point the Cats can manage to put on the board was Alex Poythress' free throw on the half's first possession.
In the second segment, the Gators make both free throws, and the Cats' finally make baskets, by Nerlens Noel and Goodwin to match the Gators scoring. In the second segment, the Cats' offense shows signs of life finally, scoring 12 points on only 6 possessions, but the defense allowed the Gators to add 10 points to their total, so the Cats could only trim a pair of points off the Florida lead despite the high segmental offensive efficiency. The Cats will have the ball after the timeout, with 11:49 to play in the game, down 15, 53-38. The Cats continue to chip away at the Gator lead, trimming it to 12 points on Mays' second 3 pointer of the game, 45-57. However, Nerlens Noel blocks a Florida runout but collides with the basket support structure, injuring his left knee with 8:03. His teammate carry Nerlens Noel off the floor when he is unable to walk unassisted. After the injury timeout, Florida runs clock and gets a layup near the end of the shot clock. At the other end, Willie Cauley-Stein is fouled on an offensive rebound, taking the game to the under 8 media timeout with the Cats down 14, 45-59, and Willie Cauley-Stein will shoot a pair of free throws after the timeout.
The teams play out the final 8 minutes to a final margin of 17 points, 69-52 Florida win.
UK scored its 52 points in 58 possessions [0.90 ppp] for the game, and FLORIDA scored its 69 points on 58 possessions [1.19 ppp].
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 31-27, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 14-12. FLORIDA converted its 12 second chance possessions into 10 second chance points while Kentucky converted their 14 second chance possessions to score 6 second chance points. FLORIDA had an offensive efficiency of 1.017 ppp on its 58 first chance possessions and 0.833 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 0.793 ppp on its 58 first chance possessions and 0.429 ppp on its 14 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 48.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while FLORIDA was able to convert 41.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
Kentucky shot poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 6-11 [54.5%]. FLORIDA made 11-14 [78.6%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 21-50 overall [42.0%] and 4-12 from long range [33.3%]. For FLORIDA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 20-39 [51.3%] and from long range, FLORIDA hit 6-14 [42.9%].
The Cats who committed 17 turnovers, one for every 3.4 possessions. The Cats forced 11 FLORIDA turnovers, one for every 5.3 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 19 point Kentucky loss, 76-57 at a pace of 67 possessions for UK and 66 possessions for FLORIDA. The final score was 69 (76) to 52 (57) at a pace of 58 possessions for the Cats and 58 possessions for FLORIDA. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 0.897 ppp (0.851 ppp) and the UK defensive efficiency was 1.190 ppp (1.152 ppp).
Next Game On Schedule: February 16, 2013 when the Cats return to the road to take on Tennessee in Knoxville.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks