BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
For the first time this season, the Rupp Arena faithful saw their Wildcats tested. The Cats trailed for the vast majority of the game. After leading 4-2, the Cats did not lead again until deep into the second half at 56-54, but a 3 pointer erased that lead on the next possession before the Cats scored the next 7 points to put more than a single possession between themselves and their opponent, at 63-57. While the Cats eventually passes the Cleveland State examination, the process itself revealed weakness at the guard position against the drive, and a continuing difficulty making perimeter shots. For the night, I lost count at 4 air balls by shooters that should never miss the rim and backboard on shots from within 20 feet.
As the old adage goes, maybe now Coach Calipari can get the attention of his players. I hope that these players will not require a loss or two to learn the lesson that Coach knows best. As noted previously, the level of competition increases with each new game, and Eastern Michigan beat this same Cleveland State team by 12 points, 81-69 last Monday night.
Eastern Michigan has played five games, and has a 5-0 record. Two of the EMU opponents were not D1 teams. In the three D1 basketball games, EMU has beaten Robert Morris by 5, UT Arlington by 5, and Cleveland State by 12. They have played at an average pace of 69 to 70 possessions, scoring 74.7 ppg (1.064 ppp) while giving up 67.3 ppg (0.978 ppp) against an early schedule strength of 0..3195 (#297).
Through their first six games, the Cats also bring a 5-1 record into Wednesday's encountered with themselves when Eastern Michigan makes an appearance in Rupp Arena. The Cats' early season schedule strength is 0.3939 (#256). A side-by-side statistical comparison shows:
Based on these team profiles, the NGE analysis projects a Kentucky win by 24 points, 85-61. Pomeroy has this game with a 22-point margin, 91-69.
Coach Calipari sticks with the lineup that clamped down on Robert Morris and continued with Texas Arlington. Coach Calipari has inserted Marcus Lee into the starting lineup to increase the likelihood that the Cats can control the opening tip and have the first possession of the game. He has been sending Willie Cauley-Stein in for Lee relatively quickly, once play begins. Lee will join fellow Freshmen Andrew and Aaron Harrison, James Young, and Julius Randle for the Kentucky all freshman starting lineup. Alex Poythress has proven a capable and dependable 7 th man, second off the bench, and he will be filling that role again in this game. Freshman Dominique Hawkins has earned regular playing time in the regular 8-man rotation on the strength of his defense. For the second game in a row, Jon Hood is unavailable due to a head injury sustained in practice.
On an historical note, a win today will be Kentucky's 500 th win in Rupp Arena.
Kentucky controls the tip, but Randle walks when he tries to move to the basket. EMU draws first blood. The Cats commit a second turnover, resulting in a run out basket. Coach Calipari calls a timeout with less than a minute gone in the game. Clearly, Coach Calipari's emphasis upon a fast start has not been heeded by his players yet again. Out of the timeout, Aaron Harrison drove to the baseline and made the Cats first basket to trim the lead back to 2 points. However, in the opening segment, the Cats committed 5 turnovers in only 9 possessions, and continue to trail by 2 points, 6-4, at the under 16 media timeout.
In the second segment, a 3 pointer by Aaron Harrison with 13:30 to play gave the Cats their first lead, 10-8. However, the Cats' 6 th turnover produced a run out basket to tie the score at 10-10. The teams trade scores to a 12-12 tie at the under 12 media timeout. In the first 8 minutes, the Cats have committed 7 turnovers that have directly produced 4 points on run outs. With 11:12 to play, Randle commits his second foul, and goes to the bench. Over the balance of the segment, the Cats managed to take a fragile 2 point lead, 18-16 at the under 8 media timeout.
In the fourth segment, the Cats worked hard to extend their lead to 10 points, 29-19, but 5 straight points cut the lead to 5 points, 29-24, forcing Coach Calipari to call another timeout to let his team know that their effort is missing. The Cats' 10 th turnover produced another EMU run out basket and only a 3 point lead, 31-28. Coach Calipari substitutes Jarrod Polson for Hawkins. The teams head to the locker room with the Cats up by 3 points, 35-32.
K scored its 35 points in a total of 38 possessions for the half, and Eastern Michigan scored its 32 points on a total of 37 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the board in the first half, 21-16, but the teams each grabbed 6 offensive rebounds. The Cats converted its 6 offensive rebounds into 10 second chance points while EMU did not score any second chance points with its 6 offensive rebounds. Eastern Michigan had an offensive efficiency of 0.864 ppp on its 37 first chance possessions and 0.00 ppp for its 6-second chance possessions. UK had 0.658 ppp on its 38 first chance possessions and 1.667 ppp on its 6-second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed low 37.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Eastern Michigan was able to convert a weaker 28.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, making 14-21 [66.7%]. Eastern Michigan was 6-9 [66.7%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 10-23 overall [43.5%] and 1-8 from long range [12.5%]. For Eastern Michigan, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak,10-23 [43.5%] and from long range, Eastern Michigan hit 2-8 [25.0%].
The Cats committed 11 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 3.5 possessions Eastern Michigan committed 7 turnovers in this first half, one for each 5.3 possessions.
The Cats open the second half with the same effectiveness as they opened the game, 4 turnovers, and only 5 points in the opening segment. At the under 16 media timeout, the Cats are clinging to a 4 point lead, 40-36. In the second segment, the Cats outscore EMU 10-2 to stretch their lead to 12 points, 50-38. Randle scored on the last possession, and was fouled prompting an EMU timeout. Randle will have a free throw to complete the 3 point play after the timeout with 12:39 to play in the game. After the timeout, Randle finished the 3 point play, but a basket, a terrible offensive possession and a 3 pointer cut the 13 point lead to 8 points and Coach Calipari called another timeout with 12:01 to play.
In the third segment, the Cats managed to outscore EMU 12-5 to extend their lead to 15 points, and Randle will have a free throw to complete a three point play after the under 8 media timeout with the Cats leading 63-48. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats lead by 19 points, 77-58 with 2:59 to play in the game. The final score is 81-63.
UK scored its 81 points in a total of 77 possessions (1.052 ppp) for the game, and Eastern Michigan scored its 63 points on a total of 76 possessions (0.829 ppp). Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 52-33, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 19-12. Kentucky used its 19 second chance possessions to score 23 second chance points, and Eastern Michigan converted their 12 offensive rebounds into 4 second chance points. Eastern Michigan had an offensive efficiency of 0.776 ppp on its 76 first chance possessions and 0.333 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 0.753 ppp on its 77 first chance possessions and 1.211 ppp on its 19 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 47.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Eastern Michigan was able to convert below the NCAA D1 average 26.7% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 28-40 [70.0%]. Eastern Michigan made 11-17 [64.7%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 25-58 overall [43.1%] and 3-16 from long range [18.8%]. For Eastern Michigan, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a reasonable 20-47 [42.6%] and from long range, Eastern Michigan hit 4-19 [21.1%].
The Cats committed 20 turnovers, one for every 3.8 possessions. The Cats forced 13 Eastern Michigan turnovers, one for every 5.8 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Sunday evening against Providence at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks