BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2012-13 Season Analytical Writings
On college Game Day, the Wildcats put on a terrific show for America. They overcame a 13 point first half deficit, and in the second half won the game by neutralizing the nation's best rebounding team on the boards. That win lifted the Cats' record to 19-8; 10-4, and left the Cats only 1 win shy of another 20 win season, a common benchmark of success in college basketball for many years. On Wednesday night, the Cats should secure that 20 th win, and move within 1 game of the league leading Florida Gators, who lost in Knoxville on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats came limping home from Knoxville, licking the wounds of a 30 point embarrassment without Nerlens Noel. In the days after the Knoxville nightmare and the Vanderbilt game, many people wrote the Cats' obituary for this season, and forecast only 1 more victory this season, at best. While some left these cats for dead, as SEC road kill, Coach Calipari was not finished with this work in progress of a team. He changed his tactics from the task master that intimidated his young players, to dodge ball king, allowing his players to lessen some of the load that this program can bury players with.
Julius Mays, uncle Julius to some close to the team,stepped forward to lead his younger mates and demand the effort from one and all. He even showed his maturity by recognizing that his teammates would respond to the tough love message better if he delivered it rather than Coach Calipari. Willie Cauley-Stein stepped forward to demonstrate that his teammate could rely upon him to do his job, but he could not do it all, and he expected each of his mates to do their job as well. This new found chemistry began to emerge early in the week that just was, but it exploded on the court in the last 5 minutes of the first half, and throughout a pressure cooker second half against a very strong Missouri team.
Coach Calipari is counseling his youngsters that they can write their own finish to this season, and they have an opportunity to make it the story of the year if they remain focused on the task at hand. Right now, that task is to complete this three game home stand with a big win, to propel them back on the road for the last two times this season.
Mississippi State enters this game with a 7-19 record, 2-12 in the SEC. The Bulldogs managed to open the SEC season with back to back wins over #198 South Carolina by 2 and at #113 Georgia by 11. However, the Bulldogs have not won a game since their January 12 trip to Athens, and have lost large margins for the most part; by 32 to Alabama, by 26 at Arkansas, by 25 and 35 to Florida, by 42 to Missouri, and by 41 to Vanderbilt last Saturday. Their early SEC win at Georgia is this team's most impressive win of the season, and in the lost column, the Bulldogs have a hard time explaining a home loss to #338 Alabama A&M. Mississippi State's schedule has been than respectable because of its SEC portion, lifting the Bulldogs to 81 st most difficult in D1 basketball (0.6139 per Pomeroy).
At 2-12 with four games remaining, the Bulldogs are an almost certain lock to finish at the bottom of the new 14 team SEC.
MISSISSIPPI STATE has averaged about 68 to 69 possessions per game, producing 59.3 ppg (0.87 ppp) and allowing 69.0 ppg (1.01 ppp). MISSISSIPPI STATE has turned the ball over on 25.0% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 22.6% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, MISSISSIPPI STATE has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 31.1% about 2% below the 33% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 62.8%, about 5% below the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 69 possessions per game, producing 74.9 ppg (1.08 ppp) and allowing 64.7 ppg (0.94 ppp) against a schedule strength of 0.6460 (57 th ). The Cats have committed turnovers on 19.1% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 17.9% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 34.7% and 68.5% on the offensive and defensive ends.
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Kentucky by 28 points, 81-53 in a game played at a pace of 69 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for MISSISSIPPI STATE. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 25 points, 81-56 at a pace of 69 possessions. The likely margin range for this matchup is Mississippi State by 19 to Kentucky by 37 points.
As he did on Saturday night, Coach Calipari will start three freshmen Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, and Archie Goodwin with Sophomore Ryan Harrow and Senior Julius Mays.. That will leave Kyle Wiltjer, Jarrod Polson and Jon Hood coming off the bench.
MSU controls the opening tip but fail to score. The Cats open the scoring with a second chance basket by Alex Poythress. Alex Poythress leads the way for the Cats through the opening segment with 7 points by himself while MSU only managed 6 points for their team. The Cats lead by 5, 11-6, at the under 16 media timeout, with 15:01 to play and the Cats with the ball. In the second segment, the Cats shooting took a reversal from 5-7 in the opening segment to 2-6 in the second, but the Cats still managed to add 3 points to their early lead, to 8 points, 16-8 at the under 12 media timeout. Harrow will be at the line when play resumes.
In the third segment, the Cats rode 3 pointers by Mays and Jon Hood to expand their lead to 16 points, 26-10, but MSU used 3 consecutive Kentucky turnovers to trim the lead to 12 points, and MSU will have the ball after the under 8 media timeout. In the fourth segment, the Cats made 4 of their 6 shots, and only committed one turnover to extend their lead to 15 points, 34-19, at the under 4 media timeout. The teams play the final segment with the Cats outscoring MSU 8-0 in the segment to take a 23 point lead, 42-19, at the half.
UK scored its 42 points on 34 possessions for the half, and MISSISSIPPI STATE scored its 19 points on 35 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half 23-13, and Kentucky and Mississippi State each grabbed 5 offensive rebounds. Mississippi State converted its 5 second chance possessions into 6 second chance points, and Kentucky used its 5 second chances for 10 points. MISSISSIPPI STATE had an offensive efficiency of 0.371 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 1.200 ppp for its 5 second chance possession. UK had 0.941 ppp on its 34 first chance possessions and 2.000 ppp on its 5 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 38.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI STATE was able to convert 21.7% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this half, making 2 of 2 attempts (100.0%). MISSISSIPPI STATE finished 5-6 [83.3%] from the free throw line. The Cats hit 18 of 31 (58.1%) shots in the first half including 4-10 (40.0%) from long range. For MISSISSIPPI STATE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 7-22 [31.8%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI STATE hit 0-8 [0.0%].
The Cats committed 7 turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions. The Cats forced 7 MISSISSIPPI STATE turnovers, one for every 5.0 possessions.
MSU opens the second half missing its first 4 shots, before hitting its first 3 pointer of the game. The Cats made 3 of 8 shots, including 2-4 from long range to extend the lead to 28 points, 50-22 at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, the MSU offense showed signs of life for the first time tonight, and scored 12 points on only 9 possessions, but the Kentucky offense was even more productive, with 14 points on 8 possessions, to stretch the Cats' lead to 30 points, 64-34 at the under 12 media timeout.
In the third segment, the Cats extend the lead to 32 points, 73-41 at the under 8 media timeout, and Polson will shoot 1 free throw after the timeout to complete the 3 point play. In the fourth segment, MSU outscored the Cats for the first time in this game, 7-6, to trim the lead to 31 points, 79-48 at the under 4 media timeout. The teams finished the game with the Cats winning by 30, 85-55.
UK scored its 85 points in 67 possessions [1.27 ppp] for the game, and MISSISSIPPI STATE scored its 55 points on 69 possessions [0.80 ppp].
Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 42-29, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 12-10. MISSISSIPPI STATE converted its 10 second chance possessions into 8 second chance points while Kentucky converted their 12 second chance possessions to score 18 second chance points. MISSISSIPPI STATE had an offensive efficiency of 0.681 ppp on its 69 first chance possessions and 0.800 ppp for its 10 second chance possessions. UK had 1.000 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 1.500 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 38.7% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI STATE was able to convert 25.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
Kentucky shot well from the free throw line in this game, making 8-11 [72.7%]. MISSISSIPPI STATE made 13-17 [76.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 34-62 overall [54.8%] and 9-22 from long range [40.9%]. For MISSISSIPPI STATE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a low 12-32 [37.5%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI STATE hit 6-24 [25.0%].
The Cats who committed 13 turnovers, one for every 5.2 possessions. The Cats forced 14 MISSISSIPPI STATE turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions.
Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 28 point Kentucky win, 81-53 at a pace of 69 possessions for UK and 69 possessions for MISSISSIPPI STATE. The final score was 85 (81) to 55 (53) at a pace of 67 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for MISSISSIPPI STATE. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.269 ppp (1.174 ppp) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.797 ppp (0.768 ppp).
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday, March 2, 2013 when the Cats back on the road to take on Arkansas..
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks