BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
When I checked the Pomeroy ratings this morning, I found that the Cats had fallen overnight from #17 to #18, and they did not even play. Prior to the Arkansas game, the Cats stood at #13, and a win over the Hogs likely would have lifted this team 1 or 2 spots close to the top 10, a region this team sacrificed shortly after their loss to North Carolina a month ago.
Many people want to compare this team to the 2011 team that struggled through the SEC season before finding its identity, and finishing the post season in strong fashion at the Final Four. However, that team, despite its inability to close and win the close games on the SEC road. However, that team played well enough through the season to maintain a top 10 Pomeroy status, something that this team has been unable to sustain.
This team is more akin to last year's team with respect to Pomeroy rating. Last year, between early January and the fateful game at Florida, their play supported a Pomeroy rating in the upper teens, and #18 when the team traveled into Knoxville for the game after Nerlens went down.
I know that we all want to believe this team will be able to put forward a strong finish and a deeper post season run than their present quality of play could justify. To support that belief, we fall back to that 2011 team. However, the quality of play we are seeing from this group is much more closely aligned with the 2013 group than the 2011 group. That is not a particularly comforting conclusion.
To be sure, I believe this team is slightly better than Pomeroy's #18 today, but not significantly better. And this team is trending in the wrong direction with either system.
It is time for this team to step it up. Tennessee provides the next best opportunity for that to happen. Tennessee comes to this game with a record of 11-5 and 2-1 in SEC play. Their non-conference losses came at #27 Xavier by 4, to #111 UTEP by 8, at #14 Wichita State by 9, and to #97 NC State at home by 7. In conference play, the Vols have a 18 point road win at LSU, an 11 point win at home over Auburn, and a 1 point home court loss to Texas A&M. Tennessee's most impressive wins thus far this season have been over #27 Xavier by 15 on a neutral court, and over #17 Virginia by 35 in Knoxville. The Tennessee schedule strength is 0.5647 (109 th most difficult).
TENNESSEE has averaged 65 possessions per game, scoring 73.4 ppg (1.131 ppp) and allowing 62.7 ppg (0.963 ppp). TENNESSEE has turned the ball over on 16.4% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 17.8% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, TENNESSEE has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 41.1% about 9% above the 32% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 71.8%, about 4% above the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 possessions per game, producing 80.8 ppg (1.147 ppp) and allowing 67.1 ppg (0.957 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 18.3% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 15.7% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 45.4% and 69.8% on the offensive and defensive ends against a schedule strength of .5962 (#60).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of KENTUCKY by 10 points, 76-66 in a game played at a pace of 68 possessions for the Cats and 68 possessions for TENNESSEE. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 5 points, 73-68 at a pace of 65 possessions.
See how other Big Blue Fans see this game's likely outcome by clicking the following link.
You can enter your prediction at any time prior to tip off by visiting the 247 Sports prediction thread for this game at:
Coach Calipari continues to start Willie Cauley-Stein with the four freshmen Randle, Young, and the Harrison Twins. Poythress, Hawkins, Lee, Polson, and Johnson will probably see action off the bench.
The Cats control the tip and commit a turnover on their first possession. Tennessee makes 3 of their first six shots, including 2 second chance shots while the Cats miss their first 4 shots and one turnover, the Cats find themselves down 6-0 just 2:38 into the game, prompting a timeout by Coach Calipari. After the timeout, Randle goes to work with a basket inside and his first 3 pointer of his UK career to trim the lead to 5, 9-5, at the under 16 media timeout. After the timeout, Tennessee will be shooting a pair of free throws. In the second segment, the Vols extend their early lead to 9 points, 18-9, before Andrew Harrison gets a basket on a drive to trim the lead to 7, 18-11, at the under 12 media timeout.
In the third segment, Tennessee remains in complete control of the game, both in terms of shooting, rebounding and turnovers, and hold an 8 point lead, 24-16, at the under 8 media timeout. In the first 12 minutes, The Vols are hitting 50% and the Cats have only managed to make 35% of its shots. Tennessee holds a 1 turnover advantange, 3-4, and on the Boards, the Vols are up 5 total rebounds and 3 offensive boards. Both teams have 4 second chance points. This is not a recipe for a UK win at Rupp today.
The Cats finally won a segment, trimming 4 points off the Tennessee lead, to a 28-24 score at the under 4 media timeout. The play that send the teams to the bench for the commercials was Mamon's second foul, throwing his elbows, which should also draw a Flagrant 1 or Flagrant 2 foul. However, after the video review, the officials reversed their foul call, and did not assess either form of a technical. Instead of UK with the ball and Mamon with two fouls, it will be UK's ball, Mamon with no foul on the play. UT converted the free possession, and Randle committed an inbounds infraction after the basket giving the ball back to UT. However, Randle goes to war with 7 straight points, and an assist for a 3 pointer by Young to lift the Cats into their first lead of the game, 34-32 with 0:50 to play in the first half. UT takes a timeout with 43 seconds left. Tennessee fails to score even though they managed 3 shot attempts before the buzzer sounded.
UK scored its 34 points in a total of 30 possessions for the half, and TENNESSEE scored its 32 points on a total of 30 possessions. Tennessee won the battle of the boards in the first half, 23-10, but Tennessee won the battle of the offensive glass 13-4. Tennessee converted its 13 second chance possessions into 6 second chance points and Kentucky used its 4 second chances to score 4 second chance points. TENNESSEE had an efficiency of 0.867 ppp for its 30 first chance possessions, and 0.462 ppp for its 13-second chance possessions. UK had 1.000 ppp on its 30 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 4-second chance possession. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 28.6% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TENNESSEE was able to convert 68.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this half, making 7-7 [100.0%]. TENNESSEE was 3-6 [50.0.%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 11-26 overall [42.3%] and 5-12 from long range [41.7%]. For TENNESSEE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 13-26 [50.0%] and from long range, TENNESSEE hit 1-7 [14.3%].
The Cats committed 5 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 6.0 possessions TENNESSEE committed 7 turnovers in this first half, one for each 4.3 possessions.
The Cats open the second half exactly as they ended their scoring in the first half with a 3 pointer by Young off an assist by Randle to lift the Cats to a 5 point lead, but Tennessee scored the next 7 points to move back on top 39-37. The Cats answered to regain the lead, and the ball, 41-39 at the under 16 media timeout.
In an abbreviated second segment, the Cats manage to add a pair of points to their lead, 4 points, 47-43, on a steal and run out basket by Young with 12:10 to play, prompting a Tennessee timeout. In the third segment, the Cats extended their lead to 10 points, 58-48, at the under 8 media timeout with 7:11 to play in the game. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats lead by 9, 64-55. The Cats close the door on the Vols from the free throw line and win by 8, 74-66
UK scored its 74 points in a total of 63 possessions (1.175 ppp) for the game, and TENNESSEE scored its 66 points on a total of 60 possessions (1.100 ppp). Tennessee won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 39-24, and the Vols won the battle of the offensive glass 20-7 Kentucky used its 7 second chance possessions to score 10 second chance points, and TENNESSEE converted their 20 offensive rebounds into 20 second chance points. TENNESSEE had an offensive efficiency of 0.767 ppp on its 60 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 20 second chance possessions. UK had 1.016 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 1.429 ppp on its 7 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a season low 26.9% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TENNESSEE was able to convert 54.1%, a season high for UK opponents, of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit very well from the free throw line in this game, making 23-24 [95.8%]. TENNESSEE made 16-23 [69.6%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 22-50 overall [44.0%] and 7-16 from long range [43.8%]. For TENNESSEE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a high 22-44 [50.0%] and from long range, TENNESSEE hit 2-13 [15.4%].
The Cats committed 8 turnovers, one for every 7.1 possessions. The Cats forced 12 TENNESSEE turnovers, one for every 5.0 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday night against Texas A&M at Rupp Arena.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks