BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
The Cats stand at 13-4, 3-1 in the SEC, and on Tuesday night, they will host the Aggies of Texas A&M for the second of three consecutive home games. On Saturday, the Cats stumbled out of the starting gates again, falling behind an aggressive bunch of Volunteers by 9 points, but the Cats caught fire in the last 5 minutes of the first half, and forged a slim 2 point lead by halftime. The irony of this game was that the Vols negated the Cats' strongest attribute of the season, rebounding with a 15 rebound advantage, built largely on a 20-7 advantage on the offensive glass. The Cats overcame this with outstanding free throw shooting at 23-24 (not a strong suit for this team), excellent 3 point shooting, 7-16 (not a strong suit for this team), and an 8-12 advantage in turnovers (not a strong suit for this team). The Cats maintained control of the game in the second half to send the Vols back to Knoxville with yet another loss in Rupp Arena, where the Vols have lost to the Cats every year except 5 since Rupp Arena opened, and every year but 2 since 1979.
I have gone back and turned over all the records to confirm this, since Rupp Arena Opened in 1976. Tennessee waltzed in with the Ernie and Bernie show and got out of Lexington with wins on consecutive years. A quick review of SEC history indicates that only four SEC opponents have ever escaped Rupp with wins on consecutive appearances: Vandy in 2006 and 2007, LSU in 1979 and 1980, and Florida in 1988 and 1989 and again in 2006 and 2007. Non-conference, UNC did it in 2006 and 2007, and Louisville has never turned that trick on the Cats. On Tuesday night, Texas A&M will come to the shrine of college basketball and attempt to do what only Ernie and Bernie, Vandy, LSU, Florida and North Carolina could do.
Of course, they have to play the game, but the probability of this or any Texas A&M team pulling off that kind of instant replay in Rupp is exceedingly low.
Texas A&M comes to this game with a record of 12-5 and 3-1 in SEC play. Their non-conference losses came on neutral courts to #25 SMU by 3, to #151 Missouri State by 6, and at home or semi-home to #38 Oklashoma by 12 and #178 North Texas by 20. The Aggies' most impressive non-conference win to date has been over #106 Buffalo by 24. In conference play, the Aggies have a 16 point road win over #47 Arkansas and an 8 point win over #133 South Carolina to their credit at home. The Aggies have split their two early SEC road games, beating #23 Tennessee in Knoxville by 1 point, and losing at #189 Mississippi State by 9 in OT. The Texas A&M schedule strength is 0.3800 (319 th most difficult).
TEXAS A&M has averaged 67 possessions per game, scoring 67.5 ppg (1.000 ppp) and allowing 62.1ppg (0.927 ppp). TEXAS A&M has turned the ball over on 18.9% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 20.5% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, TEXAS A&M has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 28.7% about 3% under the 32% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 69.7%, about 2% above the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 possessions per game, producing 80.4 ppg (1.149 ppp) and allowing 67.1 ppg (0.963 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 18.0% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 15.9% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 44.6% and 68.6% on the offensive and defensive ends against a schedule strength of .6383 (#23).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of KENTUCKY by 21 points, 80-59 in a game played at a pace of 68 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for TEXAS A&M. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 14 points, 73-59 at a pace of 65 possessions.
See how other Big Blue Fans see this game's likely oTAMUcome 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.
Kentucky controls thde opening tip, and unlike most recent games, the Cats draw first blood with an Andrew Harrison 3 pointer. After the Aggies answer with a 3 pointer of their own, and a basket to move on top 5-3, the Cats run off 8 straight on Andrew Harrison's second 3 pointer, a 3 pointer by Aaron Harrison, and a basket by Young. At the under 16 media timeout, the Cats lead 11-7. In the second segment the Cats extended their 4 point lead to 7 points, 16-9 at the under 12 media timeout, and the Cats will have the ball after the timeout. In the third segment, TAMU trimmed the lead to 3 points, 18-15, but the Cats responded with a dunk by Johnson and a 3 pointer by Young to go back on top by 8 points, 23-15 at the under 8 media timeout with 6:59 to play in the first half.
In the fourth segment, the Cats stretched their lead to 10 points, 25-15 on their first possession, but the Cats only managed 2 more points over the balance of the segment, and maintained a lead at 7 points, 27-20 at the under 4 media timeout. After the timeout, Randle will be at the line for the bonus. The Cats falter down the stretch of the first half, and lead by 7, 34-27.
UK scored its 34 points in a total of 37 possessions for the half, and TEXAS A&M scored its 27 points on a total of 37 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half, 20-15, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 4-1. Neither team managed to score a second chance point in the first half. TEXAS A&M had an efficiency of 0.730 ppp for its 37 first chance possessions, and 0.000 ppp for its 1-second chance possession. UK had 0.919 ppp on its 37 first chance possessions and 0.000 ppp on its 4-second chance possession. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 22.2% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TEXAS A&M was able to convert 5.9% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, making 7-12 [58.3%]. TEXAS A&M was 4-7 [57.1.%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 11-26 overall [42.3%] and 5-15 from long range [33.3%]. For TEXAS A&M, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 10-22 [50.0%] and from long range, TEXAS A&M hit 1-4 [25.0%].
The Cats committed 8 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 4.6 possessions TEXAS A&M committed 9 turnovers in this first half, one for each 4.1 possessions.
Dakari Johnson starts the second half in place of Willie Cauley-Stein. The Aggies use a sluggish second half start by the Cats to trim the lead to only 4 points, 37-33 before Alex Poythress hit a pair of free throws to lift the Cats back on top by 6 points, 39-33 at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, Alex Poythress put the Cats on his back on led the team back to a 10 point advantage, 46-36 at the under 12 media timeout.
In the third segment, the Cats finally show signs of pulling away from the Aggies as they go up by 17, 55-38 at the under 8 media timeout with 7:31 to play in the game. In the fourth segment, the Cats go up by 21, 64-43 at the under 4 media timeout. The Cats led by 21 with a minute to play, but turnovers on the last 3 possessions allow the Aggies to close the final margin to 17 points, 68-51.
UK scored its 68 points in a total of 65 possessions (1.046 ppp) for the game, and TEXAS A&M scored its 51 points on a total of 66 possessions (0.773 ppp).Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 42-24, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 12-6 Kentucky used its 12 second chance possessions to score 15 second chance points, and TEXAS A&M converted their 6 offensive rebounds into 4 second chance points. TEXAS A&M had an offensive efficiency of 0.712 ppp on its 66 first chance possessions and 0.667 ppp for its 6 second chance possessions. UK had 0.815 ppp on its 65 first chance possessions and 1.250 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 40.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TEXAS A&M was able to convert 16.7%, a season high for UK opponents, of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 18-27 [66.7%]. TEXAS A&M made 11-21 [52.4%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 22-50 overall [44.0%] and 6-21 from long range [28.6%]. For TEXAS A&M, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a moderate 17-43 [39.5%] and from long range, TEXAS A&M hit 2-8 [25.0%].
The Cats committed 15 turnovers, one for every 4.3 possessions. The Cats forced 11 TEXAS A&M turnovers, one for every 6.0 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon against Georgia at Rupp Arena.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks