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2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
Coach Calipari's test drive of this year's final four venue did not work out quite the way he had planned. Travel was complicated by the weather, the crowd was smaller because of the weather, the game was delayed about an hour by the preliminary women's game that took 4 overtime periods, and most importantly, Coach Calipari's team quit playing the last 13 minutes of the game. Baylor tamed the Wildcats over those last 13 mintues, and the Cats squandered a 9 point second half lead to take it on the chin at the end by 5 points.
The Cats did return to Rupp to lick their wounds and look for the fight, the determination to win that seemed lacking in Dallas a week ago tonight. Boise State was a worthy opponent, but not on par with Baylor, not on par with Michigan State, and certainly not on par with North Carolina in the Dean Dome, Belmont at Rupp, or Louisville at Rupp. The Cats managed to finish Boise State by 14 points at the end, but much of that game was played with a working margin of 3 to 8 points. Did the Cats succeed in finding that determination? We will get part of that answer on Saturday afternoon/evening when Coach Calipari takes his team into an opponent's lair for the first time this season.
After taking a one year hiatus in their annual home and home series, Kentucky and North Carolina resume their annual love affair on Saturday. This game will be in Chapel Hill, where Coach Calipari will take this young group of kittens into a truly hostile environment for the first time this season. This will be the only non-conference road game, and perhaps the most difficult venue for this team this year given the rocky start that Florida has experienced through their first 9 games. Kentucky has lost its last 4 games at the Dean Dome, and has lost 5 of 7 games at North Carolina all time. The last Kentucky win in Chapel Hill occurred in December 2003.
The North Carolina Tarheels bring a 6-2 record into this game, UNC is holding a #7 Pomeroy rating. Four of their eight games have been at home, and they have beaten #178 Oakland, #135 Holy Cross, and #329 UNC Greensboro but dropped a home game to #62 Belmont by 3 points. The Tar Heels won twice on neutral courts, beating #66 Richmond by 10 and #1 Louisville by 9. The Tar Heels have split their two road games, losing to #83 UAB by 4 and beating #11 Michigan State by 14. Much like UK, the UNC team has dropped a couple of games that they figured to win in the pre-season, but unlike the Cats, UNC has picked up a couple of impressive victories, at Michigan State and over Louisville. North Carolina's early schedule strength has been 0.6646 (#45).
NORTH CAROLINA has averaged about 73 possessions per game, producing 80.2 ppg (1.09 ppp) and allowing 70.8 ppg (0.97 ppp). NORTH CAROLINA has turned the ball over on 18.4% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 21.0% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, NORTH CAROLINA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 36.8% about 5% above the 32% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 75.1%, about 7% above the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 69 possessions per game, producing 80.8 ppg (1.16 ppp) and allowing 63.4 ppg (0.93 ppp) against a schedule strength of 0..4688 (210 th ). The Cats have committed turnovers on 19.0% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 16.1% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 46.3% and 67.4% on the offensive and defensive ends.
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of North Carolina by 4 points, 72-76 in a game played at a pace of 71 possessions for the Cats and 71 possessions for North Carolina. Pomeroy figures the Game in North Carolina's favor by 4 points, 73-77 at a pace of 71 possessions.
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Coach Calipari continues to start Willie Cauley-Stein with the our freshmen Randle, Young, and the Harrison Twins. Poythress, Hawkins, and Johnson will be first off the bench. Lee has returned from a one game illness, and Jon Hood has returned to practice following his head injury that kept him sidelined for the last several games.
The Cats control the tip, and after each team ends their first possession with a turnover, the Cats draw first blood, but the team trade baskets to an early 4-4 tie. After Aaron Harrison makes a 3 point play, he commits his second foul and goes to the bench with the Cats up 7-4 at the under 16 media timeout. The Cats will have possession when play resumes, and for only the third time in 11 games, the Cats are able to lead at the first media timeout.
Out of the timeout, Young misses from 15 feet, but after a Carolina turnover, Andrew Harrison gets to the rim and is fouled. However, unable to complete the 3 point play, the Cats go up by 5, 9-4. However, the Tar Heels answer with a basket and a 3 pointer around a Kentucky turnover to tie the score, 9-9. The Cats then outscored UNC 5-2 over the balance of the second segment to maintain their early 3 point lead, 14-11, at the under 12 media timeout, but UNC will have the ball after this timeout. In the first 8 minutes, the Cats have committed 6 turnovers to UNC's 3. UNC has made 1 3 pointer; UK 0-2 from outside the arc in the early going.
The official scorer changed the UNC 3 pointer to a 2 pointer during the media timeout, and the Cats moved on top by a game high 7 points, 19-12 on Young's 3 pointer and a pair of free throws by Young. However, shortly thereafter, Young goes to the bench with his second foul. At the end of the third segment, Randle picks up his second foul, and the Cats go to the under 8 media timeout clinging to a 1 point lead, 20-19, and UNC will be shooting free throws after the break. In the fourth segment, a pair of UK turnovers (8 th and 9 th ) produced run out baskets and lifted UNC to its first leads of the game, forcing a UK timeout and UK down 3, 23-26 with about 5 minutes remaining in the first half.
After Johnson stops the UNC run, Willie Cauley-Stein commits his 2 nd foul, UK's 4 th starter with 2 first half fouls. Then Johnson commits his 3 rd foul. At the under 4 media timeout, UNC is showing that it is in control, now that 5 UK players are saddled with foul troubles, and leads by 4 points, 29-25, and will have the ball after the timeout. After the Cats claw back to a 30-30 tie, a questionable foul on Willie Cauley-Stein, his 3 rd , drew a strong reaction from Coach Calipari, and the referees gave Coach Calipari a technical foul with 1.9 seconds remaining. UNC makes 3 of the 4 free tosses to take a 3 point lead to the locker room at the half, 33-30.
UK scored its 30 points in a total of 29 possessions for the half, and NORTH CAROLINA scored its 33 points on a total of 30 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half, 24-16, and Kentucky grabbed 11 offensive rebounds while held the Tar Heels to only 9 offensive rebounds in the first half. Kentucky used its 11 second chance possessions to score 6 points while North Carolina converted their 9 second chances into 4 second chance points. North Carolina had an efficiency of 0.967 ppp for its 30 first chance possessions, and 0.444 ppp for its 9-second chance possessions. UK had 0.828 ppp on its 29 first chance possessions and 0.545 ppp on its 11-second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 61.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while NORTH CAROLINA was able to convert 40.9% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, making 9-17 [52.9%]. NORTH CAROLINA was 12-21 [57.1%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 10-23 overall [43.5%] and 1-5 from long range [20.0%]. For UNC, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 9-23 [39.1%] and from long range, NORTH CAROLINA hit 1-3 [33.3%].
The Cats committed 10 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 2.9 possessions NORTH CAROLINA committed 4 turnovers in this first half, one for each 7.5 possessions.
The Cats open play in the second half, but UNC stretches their halftime lead to 5 points, 37-32 before a 8-2 UK run gives the Cats a brief 1 point lead. However, the Tar Heels answer and move back on top by a point just prior to the under 16 media timeout with 15:21 to play, and Aaron Harrison set to shoot a pair of free throws. Aaron made them both, and the Cats moved up by 2 points following a 1 for 2 trip to the line by UNC's Meeks, but a fast break basket and a runout basket after a steal lifted the Tar Heels back on top by 2 points, 48-46, prompting another UK timeout with 13:30 to play in the game. After the timeout, the Cats committed another turnover to go down by 6, 54-48, at the under 12 media timeout. After the timeout, Young will be shooting the bonus from the line. The second segment ended on a 10-2 Carolina run. In the third segment, the Cats scratched to within 3 points, 57-54, and had two possessions with chances to cut the lead to a single point, but both possessions ended without points, and UNC hit their second 3 pointer of the game to go back on top by 6, 60-54 at the under 8 media timeout.
The Tar Heels continue to stretch their lead, and after the Cats trimmed the margin to 4 points, 62-58, back to back baskets by UNC lifted them up by 8, 66-58, prompting another UK timeout with 5:30 to play. After the timeout, the Cats score the final 5 points of the segment, a 3 pointer by Young, and a pair of free throws by Andrew Harrison to trim the lead to 3 points. The Cats failed to convert on a possession to trim the lead to a single point, and then fouled UNC at the end of the shot clock taking the game to the under 4 media timeout with 3:00 to play and UNC leading 66-63. UNC will be shooting a pair of free throws when play resumes.
UNC converted both to go up by 5 points, but Young got to the rim to trim the lead back to 3 points. The Tar Heels finish the deal with 10 for 18 from the line in the last 3 minutes, to win by 5, 82-77.
UK scored its 77 points in a total of 74 possessions (1.041 ppp) for the game, and NORTH CAROLINA scored its 82 points on a total of 74 possessions (1.108 ppp). Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 44-32, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 17-12 Kentucky used its 17 second chance possessions to score 19 second chance points, and NORTH CAROLINA converted their 12 offensive rebounds into 12 second chance points. NORTH CAROLINA had an offensive efficiency of 0.946 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 0.784 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 1.118 ppp on its 17 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 47.2% of its misses as offensive rebounds while NORTH CAROLINA was able to convert 30.8% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 29-43 [67.4%]. NORTH CAROLINA made 26-45 [57.8%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 22-54 overall [40/7%] and 4-12 from long range [33.3%]. For UNC, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a low 25-49 [51.0%] and from long range, NORTH CAROLINA hit 2-7 [28.6%].
The Cats committed 17 turnovers, one for every 4.4 possessions. The Cats forced 9 NORTH CAROLINA turnovers, one for every 8.2 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon against Belmont at Rupp Arena.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks