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2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
Over Coach Calipari's first four seasons, the exhibition games have established some clear trends. First, the margin that the UK teams have posted in these games against clearly inferior talent has been proportional to that opponent's NGE for the previous season, and there has been a clear increase in the magnitude of the margin between the first exhibition game and second exhibition game regardless of the opponent, or the opponents' prior season performance levels.
Using this information as the basis of evaluation of Friday night's exhibition against Transylvania, it appears that the offensive efficiency fell short of expectations, and the defensive efficiency exceeded expectations. The Net Efficiency for this game ended at 0.495 points per possession as compared to the pre-game projection based on this exhibition history of 0.492 ppp. The offensive effort fell short by a small margin in each half of the game, while the defensive effort was very poor in the first half and excellent in the second half. Overall, the defensive effort of the second half was clearly the bright spot of the night for the Cats.
The purpose of the two exhibition games should be to expose the team to real opponents for the purpose of identifying soft spots and weaknesses in order to focus practice attention on shoring up the weak areas. How can anyone argue with Coach Calipari's effective use of the exhibitions in exactly this manner when in each of his first four seasons, the improvement between the first and second exhibitions have been consistent and significant. Here is a summary of the first and second game results for each of the first four teams, and for game 1 of the 2013-14 team:
The second factor in this formulation is the relative strength of each exhibition opponent, as noted earlier. In this case, the average game 1 exhibition opponents have been stronger than the game 2 opponents, masking the real level of improvement indicated by the raw numbers included in this table. This year, again, Montavallo, at least on paper, is a weaker exhibition opponent that Transylvania. Based on these factors, I believe the team will demonstrate that the coaches have identified the soft spots from Friday night, and used the practice sessions through this weekend impressing upon the players how they must adjust their effort and their techniques.
Based on these factors and the analysis of the exhibition game history, a 96-45 score seems probable for Monday night's exhibition against Montavallo in a game played at a pace of 68 possessions.
Coach Calipari starts Julius Randle, Willie Cauley-Stein, James Young, Aaron Harrison, and Senior Jarod Polson at the point guard position for Andrew Harrison who is still nursing a bruised knee. Polson, the Senior, will join three freshmen to go with the one sophomore.
Kentucky controlled the tip, but wasted the opening possession with a turnover. Montevallo did not take long taking advantage of the miscue, and made 3 of their first 4 shots, including an offensive rebound of their only miss, to race out to a 7-2 lead. Coach Calipari called a quick UK timeout. The Cats finally scored a pair of baskets before the first media timeout to trim the lead to 3 points, 9-6 at the under 16 media timeout. In the opening segment, the Cats hit 2 of 4 shots, and 2-2 from the line, but committed 3 early turnovers. Montevallo ended the segment hitting 4-9 shots.
Out of the timeout, Coach Calipari inserted Alex Poythress into the lineup, and he wasted no time with a three point play to tie the score. The Cats continued its run to transform the early 9-2 deficit into a 16-9 lead before Montevallo stopped the run. The second segment was a protracted one, with the under 12 media timeout coming with 9:43 to play in the first half, and the Cats leading by 11 points, 26-15. In the second segment, the Cats did not miss a shot, but committed 3 turnovers again. Through the first 10 minutes, the Cats have posted an offensive efficiency of 1.37 ppp while holding Montevallo to 0.789 ppp at the defensive end.
In the short third segment, the Cats only managed 2 points, on a put back basket by Willie Cauley-Stein, and Montevallo made its second three pointer of the game to trim the lead back to 10 points, 28-18 at the under 8 media timeout. The teams play on relatively even terms through the fourth segment, until Montevallo calls a timeout with 4:23 to play, down 12 with the ball. After the timeout, Montevallo fails to score, and the Cats gain possession at the under 4 media timeout, with 3:59 to play in the first half, up 12, 36-24. The teams play the final segment on even terms, and the Cats take an 11 point lead to the locker room at the half, 46-35.
UK scored its 46 points in a total of 37 possessions for the half, and Montevallo scored its 35 points on a total of 36 possessions. Kentucky dominated the boards, with a rebounding edge 20-11. On the offensive glass, the Cats built a 5-4 advantage at the half of the game. The Cats used their 5 second chance possessions to only score 6 second chance points while Montevallo used its 4 second chances to score 8 second chance points. Montevallo had an offensive efficiency of 0.750 ppp on its 36 first chance possessions and 2.000 ppp for its 4 second chance possessions. UK had 1.001 ppp on its 37 first chance possessions and 1.200 ppp on its 5 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a respectable 41.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Montevallo was able to convert 21.1% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this half, making 11-15 [73.3%]. Montevallo was 0-4 [00.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 16-27 overall [59.3%] and 3-5 from long range [60.0%]. For Montevallo, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong,13-26 [50.0%] and from long range, Montevallo hit 3-7 [42.9%].
Turnovers were in plentiful supply for the Cats, with 6 in the first 10 minutes, but the Cats finished the half with 8 total turnovers. Montevallo committed 5 turnovers in this first half. The Cats committed one turnover for every 4.6 possessions. The Cats forced only 5 Montevallo turnovers, one for every 7.2 possessions.
Coach Calipari starts the second half with the five who started the game. Montevallo opens the second half but fail to score. The teams trade baskets and free throws for the first 3 minutes of the segment to a 52-42 score before the Cats explode for 7 straight points in about 1 minute to move on top by 17, 59-42, prompting a Montevallo timeout with 15:47 to play in the game. In the second segment, Montevallo trimmed 3 points from the Cats' lead to 14 points, 67-53 at the under 12 media timeout.
In the third segment, the Cats only managed 2 points and committed 4 more turnovers while Montevallo managed to score only 3 points, to trail by 13, 69-56, at the under 8 media timeout. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats have reestablished their biggest lead of the game, 19, 83-64, and Willie Cauley-Stein will be shooting a pair of free throws after the timeout. The final score is 95-72.
UK scored its 95 points in a total of 74 possessions for the game, and Montevallo scored its 72 points on a total of 74 possessions.
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 47-25, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 15-12 Kentucky used its 15 second chance possessions to score 18 second chance points, but Montevallo made a living on the offensive glass, converting their 12 offensive rebounds into 19 second chance points. Montevallo had an offensive efficiency of 0.716 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 1.583 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 1.040 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 1.200 ppp on its 15 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 53.6% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Montevallo was able to convert 27.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 18-25 [72.0%]. Montevallo made 11-18 [61.1%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 36-62 overall [58.1%] and 5-11 from long range [45.5%]. For Montevallo, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a respectable 23-53 [43.4%] and from long range, Montevallo hit 5-15 [33.3%].
The Cats committed 16 turnovers, one for every 4.6 possessions. The Cats forced 10 Montevallo turnovers, one for every 7.4 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Friday night, again at Rupp Arena, the Cats will open the 2013-14 season against UNC Ashville.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks