BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
When your team consists of inexperience players, the number one objective from the start must be to teach, and all great teachers develop a syllabus with a sequence of lesson plans as a road map to follow. For each session in the season, the teacher establishes learning objectives, and I have no doubt that Coach Calipari is approaching the 2013-14 basketball season in precisely this manner. The next scheduled session on Coach Calipari's 2013-14 Syllabus is Lesson Plan 6, Cleveland State.
The first five sessions revealed Coach Calipari's plan for the season: Start by learning to crawl, then walk, and finally show you can run with the big dogs. With the exception of the Champions' Classic excursion to Chicago to face #1 Michigan State in the third session of the year, the tests provided by the opponents have been the easiest that this team will see all season, albeit progressively more difficult from start to present. These young Cats have passed these early tests, demonstrating that they started this class already able to crawl, have developed the ability to walk, and have showed signs of their ability to run.
Yes, Michigan State was something of a curveball for a group still trying to understand how to run because they were not quite ready to run with the big dogs that early. But, Big Blue Fans have little doubt that in due course this group of Cats will be able to outrun the Big Dogs, and if given another chance to take on the Spartans, will show them a new speed that will give the Spartans the “deer in the headlights” effect that seems to hit the young Cats in Chicago.
There are two more games to work on those emerging running skills. Cleveland State is up next in game 6. As it should be, Cleveland State is the next most difficult non-conference opponent in line. Eastern Michigan is waiting in the wings, for game 7, as the next opponent moving up the difficulty scale. The Adjusted NGE of each of these opponents tells the major part of this early season story:
Thereafter, Coach Calipari has lined up a series of December opponents to teach this team to run full speed with the Biggest Dogs that the NCAA has to offer in 2013-14. Providence, Baylor, Boise State, North Carolina, Belmont, and Louisville in that order have an average Adjusted NGE of 0.196 ppp, with a low of 0.121 ppp belonging to Baylor, and a high of 0.310 ppp belonging to Louisville. With each new test in this December portion of the class, the opponent's adjusted NGE goes up a notch. By the end of December, we will know how well this group can run with the Big Dogs. The combined won-loss record of the remaining 8 teams on the non-conference schedule is 31-4. Cleveland State has 2 of the 4 losses, and 1 loss (taken by UNC from Belmont) was delivered by one future opponent to another.
As noted previously, these early games are not about the opponent that shows up, which for Monday night, will be Cleveland State. Cleveland State has also played five games, and has a 3-2 record. They have played at an average pace of 74 to 75 possessions, which this UK team will like very much, scoring 89.6 ppg (1.236 ppp) while giving up 64.6 ppg (0.862 ppp) against an early schedule strength of 0.5404 (#165). Saturday, Cleveland State defeated Robert Morris by 13, and on November 15, CSU defeated UT Arlington by 10 on the road. CSU's two losses came at the hands of San Franscisco by 9 on the road, and future UK opponent Eastern Michigan by 12, also on the road. The Vikings claim a 4 point home win over #82 Iona in their season opener.
Through their first five games, the Cats also bring a 4-1 record into Tuesday's encountered with themselves when Cleveland State makes an appearance in Rupp Arena. The Cats' early season schedule strength is 0.3952 (#251). A side-by-side statistical comparison shows:
Based on these team profiles, the NGE analysis projects a Kentucky win by 29 points, 92-63. Pomeroy has this game with a 21 point margin, 91-70.
Coach Calipari sticks with the lineup that clamped down on Robert Morris and continued with Texas Arlington. Marcus Lee has been inserted into the starting lineup to increase the likelihood that the Cats can control the opening tip and have the first possession of the game. 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, and freshman Hawkins is getting established as the 8 th player in the regular rotation.
Lee controls the tip, and Randle takes the ball straight to the hole on a lob, but is fouled before the ball arrived. Lee converts the lob on the inbounds play. However, CSU makes 5 of their first 6 shots, including one three pointer to run out to an early 7 point lead, 11-4, prompting a quick UK timeout with 16:18 to play in the first half. During the timeout, Alex Poythress entered the game for Randle. Willie Cauley-Stein had already replaced Lee. After the timeout, Andrew Harrison takes it to the rim on the drive to stop the CSU run, and cut the lead to 5, 11-6, at the under 16 media timeout. Andrew Harrison will have a free throw to complete the three point play when play resumes.
In the second segment, CSU continues to build a lead, extending it to 9 points 19-10 before Aaron Harrison made a pair of free throws to trim the lead to 7 at the under 12 media timeout. In the third segment, the Cats used free throws to trim the lead to a single point, 20-19, and a quick exchange of baskets at the end of the segment sent the teams to the bench at 22-21 CSU at the under 8 media timeout with 6:55 to play in the first half. Out of the timeout, CSU failed to score, and Alex Poythress got to the line following an offensive rebound to lift the Cats into their first lead since 4-2, at 23-22 with 6:26 to go in the first half. Over the rest of the segment, the Cats traded baskets to go up by 3, 27-24, at the under 4 media timeout with 3:29 to play in the first half.
Defensively, the game has not been one for the museum, but is on schedule with the pregame efficiency projection. However, the offense is struggling, shooting 7-24 from the field, and without a single 3 pointer in the game on 6 attempts. In the final segment of the first half, CSU regained the lead and took a 4 point lead to the locker room at the half, 31-27.
K scored its 27 points in a total of 32 possessions for the half, and Cleveland State scored its 31 points on a total of 33 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the board in the first half, 22-20, and also controlled the offensive glass 9-8. However, CLEVELAND STATE used its 8 offensive rebounds to score 12 second chance points, and the Cats used their 9 offensive rebounds to sc ore 8 second chance points. Cleveland State had an offensive efficiency of 0.576 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 1.500 ppp for its 8-second chance possessions. UK had 0.594 ppp on its 32 first chance possessions and 0.889 ppp on its 9-second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a season low 42.9% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Cleveland State was able to convert a very strong 38.1% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this half, making 13-18 [72.2%]. Cleveland State was 8-9 [88.9%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 7-26 overall [26.9%] and 0-6 from long range [0.0%]. For Cleveland State, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak,10-26 [38.5%] and from long range, Cleveland State hit 1-6 [16.7%].
The Cats committed 7 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 4.6 possessions Cleveland State committed 5 turnovers in this first half, one for each 6.6 possessions.
Coach Calipari starts the second half with Willie Cauley-Stein instead of Lee, and CSU opens the second half with the possession, and use the extra possession of the first segment to ease on top by 6 points, 37-31, at the under 16 media timeout. In the first 2 minutes of the second segment, CSU outscores the Cats 7-2 to move on top by 11 points, 44-33, prompting another UK timeout with just over 14 minutes left in the game. The Cats are in trouble, and the Rupp Arena crowd as well as the Kentucky bench have just woke up to the probability of a major home court upset.
After the timeout, Young makes the Cats' first 3 pointer of the game to close the gap to 8 points, 44-36, at the under 12 media timeout, and Young will have a pair of free throws after the timeout. The Cats made a small run to trim the lead to 3 points, 47-44, but CSU countered with a 5 point run of their own to move back on top by 8, 52-44 at the under 8 media timeout, and CSU will be at the line to shoot the bonus after the timeout. In the fourth segment, the Cats storm back, outscoring CSU 9-2 and trimming the lead to a single point, 54-54 at the under 4 media timeout, and Andrew Harrison will have a free throw to complete the 3 point play, and tie the score after the time out.
Andrew Harrison makes the free throw, and following CSU's 10 th turnover, Young makes an 18 foot jump shot to give the Cats a 2 point lead, 56-54, prompting a CSU timeout with 3:11 to play in the game. Out of the timeout, CSU drains another 3 pointer to regain the lead. Willie Cauley-Stein gets to the line, and after making his first shot to tie the score, he missed the second. On what appeared to be an offensive rebound, the players wrestled to the floor, and the official called a held ball with the score tied and the arrow pointing in the CSU direction. However, the CSU team turns it over twice, and misses a shot while Young makes a 3 point play, and Aaron Harrison drains a 3 pointer from the corner for the Cats' 6 point lead, 63-57. CSU takes a timeout with 1:09 to play in the game.
The Cats claw their way to a victory in the last 8 minutes, outscoring CSU 24-9 down the stretch, with Young, and the Harrison Twins playing a major role in the finish to secure this hard fought win.
UK scored its 68 points in a total of 61 possessions (1.114 ppp) for the game, and Cleveland State scored its 61 points on a total of 63 possessions (0.968 ppp). Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 42-35, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 18-14. Kentucky used its 18 second chance possessions to score 14 second chance points, and Cleveland State converted their 14 offensive rebounds into 16 second chance points. Cleveland State had an offensive efficiency of 0.714 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 1.142 ppp for its 14 second chance possessions. UK had 0.885 ppp on its 61 first chance possessions and 0.778 ppp on its 18 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 46.2% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Cleveland State was able to convert an above NCAA D1 average 36.8% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 27-35 [77.1%]. Cleveland State made 14-15 [93.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 19-53 overall [35.8%] and 3-14 from long range [21.4%]. For Cleveland State, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a reasonable 16-44 [36.4%] and from long range, Cleveland State hit 5-15 [33.3%].
The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 5.5 possessions. The Cats forced 11 Cleveland State turnovers, one for every 5.7 possessions.
ext Game On Schedule: Wednesday afternoon at Rupp Arena against Eastern Michigan.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks