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2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
In early April 2014, the college basketball world will converge upon the Texas AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas to show case its finest hour to culminate the 2013-14 college basketball season. Big Blue Fans have been much more confident than hopeful for the last 8 months that the Cats will be among the final four teams standing to compete for the championship in that venue. Coach Calipari seems to always be two steps ahead of the pack on such matters, because it was about 2 years ago that he scheduled this home and home pair of games with the Baylor Bears, with the 2013 installment to be played in that very same venue.
Coach Calipari has been planning for at least 2 years to let his youngsters test drive their game on the floor and in the final four venue against Baylor. That opportunity arrives on Friday night.
One thing that Coach Calipari probably did not anticipate in his advance planning was that the Baylor Bears would waltz into Rupp Arena a year ago in the first installment of this contract, and hand Coach Calipari and his 2012-13 Wildcats their first Rupp Arena loss of the Calipari Era. For that reason alone, the trip to Arlington, Texas carries even more significance that a “mere” test drive of a final four venue. It is payback time for the Big Blue.
The Baylor Bears are a worthy opponent for this venture into the final four venue. They are the strongest opponent the Cats have faced this season, except for their third game encounter with the Michigan State Spartans, and Baylor will be the fifth toughest opponent this season, facing them in their own backyard.
The trip to Arlington, Texas will be the second consecutive game for the Cats away from Rupp Arena, and while the AT&T Stadium is not the home venue for these Baylor Bears, it will be close enough to their home for Pomeroy to characterize the venue as a semi-home game for the Bears. So far, the Cats are 1-1 outside of Rupp, a 4 point loser to #12 Michigan State in Chicago and a 14 point winner over Providence in Brooklyn.
Baylor has played 8 games, posting a record of 7-1. Four of their eight games have been at home, two on a neutral court, and one each at a semi-home and semi-away location (Chaminade in Hawaii, Colorado in Texas). The Bears' only loss can at the hands of #7 Syracure in the Championship game of the Maui Classic by 7 points. The Bears' most impressive win to date was by 12 points over #39 Colorado in the first game of Baylor's season. However, Baylor has played two of its 8 games against Non-D1 opponents (Chaminade and Hardin Simmons), winning by 16 in the former and by 45 in the latter. While Providence lost to #39 Maryland by 4 earlier this year, Baylor defeated #37 Colorado by 12, to provide an interesting basis for comparing UK's last opponent to the Bears. Baylor's early schedule strength has been 0.6988 (#32).
BAYLOR has averaged about 65 possessions per game, producing 71.3 ppg (1.10 ppp) and allowing 66.0 ppg (1.01 ppp). BAYLOR has turned the ball over on 22.5% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 13.8% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, BAYLOR has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 41.1% about 9% above the 32% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 69.9%, about 2% above the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 to 71 possessions per game, producing 84.5 ppg (1.20 ppp) and allowing 64.0 ppg (0.92 ppp) against a schedule strength of 0..419 (272 nd ). The Cats have committed turnovers on 18.2% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 15.9% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 48.2% and 69.3% on the offensive and defensive ends.
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Kentucky by 7 points, 75-68 in a game played at a pace of 68 possessions for the Cats and 67 possessions for BAYLOR. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 3 points, 73-70 at a pace of 65 possessions.
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Coach Calipari has indicated that Willie Cauley-Stein will return to the starting lineup tonight, probably sending Lee back to the bench. Four freshmen will be starting with Willie Cauley-Stein, Randle, Young, and the Harrison Twins. Lee, Poythress, and Johnson will be the primary players in the 8 man game rotation. Jon Hood is still recovering from the concussion, and did not make the trip to Brooklyn with the team.
Baylor controls the opening tip, and after Willie Cauley-Stein blocked the first shot attempt, Baylor put the ball back in the basket off the offensive rebound. The Cats answer with a 3 pointer by Young, but after Baylor moves up 9-5, Coach Calipari calls a quick timeout. After the timeout, the Bears continue to assert dominance over the Cats, and extend their lead to 9 points, 16-7 at the under 16 media timeout. In the first 4 minutes, the best rebounding team in the land has not been able to grab a single rebound.
In the second segment, the Cats went to work on the Boards, and trimmed the Baylor lead to 3 points, 20-17 at the under 12 media timeout. In the third segment, the Cats pulled to within a point, 22-21, but Baylor extended the lead back to 4 points on a 3 point play by Austin, and Baylor will be shooting free throws after the under 8 media timeout with the score standing at 26-24. In the fourth segment, the Cats pulled even on Aaron Harrison's second 3 pointer of the game, and then the teams traded scores to a 31-31 tie at the under 4 media timeout with 3:15 to play in the first half. Aaron Harrison will be shooting free throws after the timeout, as he drove to the basket and drew Austin's second foul.
A 3 pointer just before the half lifted the Cats to their largest lead at the half, 38-35.
UK scored its 38 points in a total of 31 possessions for the half, and BAYLOR scored its 35 points on a total of 33 possessions. Baylor won the battle of the board in the first half, 19-14, but BAYLOR and Kentucky each grabbed 7 offensive rebounds. Kentucky used its 7 second chance possessions to score 4 points while Baylor converted their 7 second chances into 7 second chance points. Baylor had an efficiency of 0.848 ppp for its 33 first chance possessions, and 1.000 ppp for its 7-second chance possessions. UK had 1.100 ppp on its 31 first chance possessions and 0.571 ppp on its 7-second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed low 36.8% of its misses as offensive rebounds while BAYLOR was able to convert a strong 50.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, making 4-10 [40.0%]. BAYLOR was 3-5 [60.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 14-30 overall [46.7%] and 6-10 from long range [60.0%]. For BAYLOR, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 13-22 [59.1%] and from long range, BAYLOR hit 2-7 [28.6%].
The Cats committed 3 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 10.3 possessions BAYLOR committed 9 turnovers in this first half, one for each 3.7 possessions.
The Cats open the second half with a score to push their lead to a game high 5 points, and then 7 points, 42-35 before Baylor scored on a pair of free throws. The Cats then moved back on top by 7, and following a Baylor turnover, Randle was fouled making a move to the basket at the under 16 media timeout. Randle will shoot a pair of free throws after the timeout with the Cats up 44-37. In the second segment, the Cats twice moved up by 9 points, last at 50-41, but back to back baskets by Baylor trimmed the margin to 5 points, prompting Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 12:21 to play in the game, and the Cats up by 5 points, 50-45. After the Kentucky timeout, the teams play scoreless for a minute before an interruption in play sent the teams back to their benches for the under 12 media timeout.
After the timeouts, Baylor takes it to the Cats, and a pair of free throws by Gathers, and a run out dunk by Gathers cuts the Kentucky lead to a single point, 50-49, forcing Coach Calipari to take another timeout with 9:57 to play in the game. At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats continue to cling to a 1 point lead, 53-50. In the fourth segment, the Cats only managed 4 points, on 4-5 free throw shooting, and Baylor moved back into the lead, leading by 4 points, 61-57, at the under 4 media timeout with 3:26 to play. For thie last 3 ½ minutes, the Cats have the arrow, and are in the double bonus. Out of the timeout, Young drains his 4 th 3 pointer of the game, ties up a Baylor player for the possession. Baylor fouls Young, but he missed both attempts. The Kentucky defense forced a long 3 point attempt at the end of the shot clock, but Baylor got the offensive rebound. The story of this game has been poor rebounding and poor free throw shooting. The Cats find themselves down 4, 65-61, with 41 seconds to play. Baylor beats UK for the second year in a row, 67-62. After leading by 9 points, 50-41, Baylor outscored the Cats 26-12 over the last 9 minutes.
UK scored its 62 points in a total of 61 possessions (1.016 ppp) for the game, and BAYLOR scored its 67 points on a total of 61 possessions (1.098 ppp). Baylor won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 41-25, and the Bears won the battle of the offensive glass 18-10 Kentucky used its 10 second chance possessions to score 6 second chance points, and BAYLOR converted their 18 offensive rebounds into 14 second chance points. BAYLOR had an offensive efficiency of 0.869 ppp on its 61 first chance possessions and 0.778 ppp for its 18 second chance possessions. UK had 0.918 ppp on its 61 first chance possessions and 0.600 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a below average 30.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while BAYLOR was able to convert a powerful 51.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 12-23 [52.2%]. BAYLOR made 13-22 [59.1%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 21-50 overall [42.0%] and 8-17 from long range [47.1%]. For BAYLOR, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a low 24-44 [54.5%] and from long range, BAYLOR hit 2-11 [18.2%].
The Cats committed 9 turnovers, one for every 6.7 possessions. The Cats forced 13 BAYLOR turnovers, one for every 4.7 possessions.
ext Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening against Boise State at Rupp Arena
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks