BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
To my Big Blue brothers and sisters, smile, relax, and enjoy the ride that the Cats are going to deliver to you for the 2013-14 season. This ride has only just begun, and yes I realize that the young Cats did not beat Michigan State in their third college game, and third game in four days, but that was predictable, and was simply part of Maestro Calipari's grand plan to bring this group along, and show them the learning curve that they must climb. And they are climbing it.
November 18, 10 days into this new season, the Cats have the second highest adjusted NGE in the land. The projections for the rest of the season indicate that the Cats are not likely to be an underdog in a single game left on the regular schedule (Pomeroy has the Cats underdogs to Florida by 2 points in the last game, but that will change). The Cats' focus for the next 3 weeks is to continue to climb that slope ahead of them, focusing only on their mission, without regard to the circumstances at Chapel Hill, Louisville, East Lansing, Durham, or Lawrence. Each of those situations will take care of themselves in due course. The Cats' only focus now must be climbing that learning curve.
One last time, these Cats are doing exactly as they should, and are probably further up that slope today than anyone should have reasonably expected. One day, the rest of the basketball world will wake up to this reality, and when it happens, the Big Blue Nation will hear the whispered, collective “Oh S&#!, Calipari has his team playing”
These games are not about the opponent that shows up, which for Tuesday, will be Texas Arlington. Texas Arlington has also played four games, and one of those games was against a non-D1 opponent. In their 3 games against D1 opposition, Arlington is 1-2. They have played at an average pace of 77 possessions, which this UK team will like very much, scoring 82.7 ppg (1.071 ppp) while giving up 91.3 ppg (1.176 ppp) against an early schedule strength of 0.5322 (#168). On Friday night, Arlington fell to future UK opponent Cleveland State by 10 at home, and in their opener, the previous Friday, Arlington fell to another future UK opponent, Boise State by 29 on the road. Arlington's only win came at the expense of Samford by 13 at home.
Through their first four games, the Cats also bring a 3-1 record into Tuesday's encountered with themselves when Arlington makes an appearance in Rupp Arena. The Cats' early season schedule strength is 0.4491 (#214). A side-by-side statistical comparison shows:
Based on these team profiles, the NGE analysis projects a Kentucky win by 37 points, 99-62. Pomeroy has this game with a 27 point margin, 97-70.
Coach Calipari sticks with the lineup that clamped down on Robert Morris. Marcus Lee will join fellow Freshmen Andrew and Aaron Harrison, James Young, and Julius Randle Alex Poythress has proven a capable and dependable 6 th man, first off the bench, and he will be filling that role again in this game. Willie Cauley-Stein should also play an important role from the bench.
Kentucky wins the tip, and immediately move inside to Young, who will shoot a pair of free throws to start the game. Young makes both, but UTA moves down and gets a quick basket on a drive. The Cats answer with a bucket, and UTA is up to the challenge, quickly getting to the rim to tie the score at 4-4. However, the Cats then explode to a 10-0 run over the balance of the first segment to lead by 10 points, 14-4 at the under 16 media timeout. In the opening segment, the Cats were 4-6 from the floor and 4-4 from the line, with no turnovers. UTA was 2-9 with 2 turnovers, and 5 offensive rebounds.
In the second segment, the pace slowed considerably, and the Cats only managed to add 1 point to their early lead, 19-8, at the under 12 media timeout. After the break, UTA will have the ball. Out of the timeout, the Cats score first to go on top by 13 points, 21-8, but UTA runs off 9 straight points, capped by a three pointer to pull to within 4 points, 21-17, prompting a Kentucky timeout. Out of the timeout, the Cats go inside to Randle for the first time, and he makes the basket, and gets to the line for an old fashioned 3 point play. The teams then trade baskets to a 26-19 score at the under 8 media timeout.
Kentucky has score its 26 points on 20 possessions while they have given up 19 points on 20 possessions. The pace is in the mid 60s, much slower than UTA has been playing, and even slower than the Kentucky average pace through their first 4 games. After the timeout, the Cats moved up 28-19, but back to back 3 pointers pulled UTA to within 3 points, 28-25, prompting another timeout by Coach Calipari. The Cats responded to their coach's encouragement, and finished the segment with 6 straight points, to lead 34-25 at the under 4 media timeout. After the timeout, the Cats extend their run to 10-0, forcing UTA to take a timeout. With just under 3 minutes to play in the first half, the Cats have had 29 possessions to UTA's 28 possessions in building a score of 38-25. The teams play the final segment to a score of 42-33, a 9 point UK lead.
K scored its 42 points in a total of 35 possessions for the half, and Texas Arlington scored its 33 points on a total of 36 possessions. UTA won the battle of the board in the first half, 20-17, and also controlled the offensive glass 8-6. UTA used its 8 offensive rebounds to score 7 second chance points, and the Cats used their 6 offensive rebounds to sc ore 8 second chance points. Texas Arlington had an offensive efficiency of 0.722 ppp on its 36 first chance possessions and 0.875 ppp for its 8-second chance possessions. UK had 0.971 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 1.333 ppp on its 6-second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a season low 33.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Texas Arlington was able to convert a very strong 42.1% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this half, making 7-9 [77.8%]. Texas Arlington was 3-4 [75.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 16-33 overall [48.5%] and 3-8 from long range [37.5%]. For Texas Arlington, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak,9-24 [37.5%] and from long range, Texas Arlington hit 4-8 [50.0%].
The Cats committed 4 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 8.8 possessions Texas Arlington committed 10 turnovers in this first half, one for each 3.6 possessions.
Coach Calipari returns to his starting lineup for the second half, and the Cats streak out with the first 7 points of the second half, forcing UTA to take a quick timeout, with the score 49-33. The teams then played on relatively even terms over the balance of the very long first segment, with the Cats leading 59-44 at the under 16 media timeout and 14:32 to play in the game. After the timeout, UTA misses on 3 straight shots. The Cats lead moves to 23 points, 67-44 at the under 12 media timeout.
In the third segment, the cats maintained the 23 point lead, 80-57 at the under 8 media timeout. The teams played out the last two segments with Kentucky crossing the 100 point barrier for the first time in a year, and posting the second highest game total of the Calipari era, 105-76.
UK scored its 105 points in a total of 75 possessions (1.400 ppp) for the game, and Texas Arlington scored its 76 points on a total of 74 possessions (1.027 ppp). Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 46-35, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 20-15. Kentucky used its 20 second chance possessions to score 28 second chance points, and Texas Arlington converted their 15 offensive rebounds into 15 second chance points. Texas Arlington had an offensive efficiency of 0.824 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 15 second chance possessions. UK had 1.027 ppp on its 75 first chance possessions and 1.400 ppp on its 20 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 51.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Texas Arlington was able to convert an above NCAA D1 average 36.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit reasonably well from the free throw line in this game, making 27-39 [69.2%]. Texas Arlington made 16-22 [72.7%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 35-69 overall [50.7%] and 8-19 from long range [42.1%]. For Texas Arlington, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a reasonable 18-44 [40.9%] and from long range, Texas Arlington hit 8-19 [42.1%].
The Cats committed 8 turnovers, one for every 9.4 possessions. The Cats forced 16 Texas Arlington turnovers, one for every 4.6 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Monday night at Rupp Arena against Cleveland State.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks