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2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
On Saturday, the Cats bobsledded their way into Columnbia, MISSOURI to play at the University of MISSOURI for the first time ever. Coming off the heels of a disappointing road loss at LSU, the trip to MISSOURI became a must win situation for the Cats to remain relevant in the SEC race. The Cats rose to the occasion, and got out of Iced over Mizzou with a badly needed 5 point win, 84-79.
The Cats return to Rupp on Tuesday night for the only home game in a five game sequence. The two leading road games are in the books at 1-1, and the Cats margin for error has evaporated with losses at Arkansas and LSU. Therefore, the team must take care of business regardless of opponent or venue for the next 10 games to win the SEC regular season championship, assuming Florida does not stumble against any other opponent such as Tennessee.
The Cats entered the MISSOURI game as a 2 point favorite in Las Vegas even though the NGE model placed the line in MISSOURI's favor by a similar 2 points. A 5 point win, even in the face of a 2 point underdog role is nice, and reassuring, but it is not the type of win that signals the emergence of a “new attitude.” No, the 7 point swing between the predicted and actual margin is within the normal range of variance. A rising trend will require larger positive variances sustained over the course of at least 5 games to establish.
MISSISSIPPI will put their 15-6; 6-2 SEC record on the line when the Cats host Ole Miss in the first of two meetings between these teams this season.
The Rebels completed their non-conference season 9-4 losing at #44 Kansas State by 3, and at home to #39 Oregon by 10 in OT, to #85 Mercer by 3, and to #65 Dayton by 3 in OT. The Rebels most impressive non-conference win this season has been over #86 Penn State by 3 on a neutral court. However, when SEC play began, the Rebels opened with a 3 point win over Auburn, and after falling to Mississippi State by 4 on the road, ran of four straight SEC wins including a 14 point win over LSU in OT before lsing at #23 Tennessee by 16 last week. MISSISSIPPI's schedule strength has been 0.5257 (138 th ).
MISSISSIPPI has averaged 72 possessions per game, scoring 77.5 ppg (1.073 ppp) and allowing 71.1 ppg (0.988 ppp). MISSISSIPPI has turned the ball over on 16.3% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 20.6% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, MISSISSIPPI has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 32.8% about 2% above the 31% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 64.1%, about 5% below the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 possessions per game, producing 80.0 ppg (1.145 ppp) and allowing 67.2 ppg (0.965 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 17.7% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 16.3% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 42.8% and 69.1% on the offensive and defensive ends against a schedule strength of .6388 (#33).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Kentucky by 16 points, 82-66 in a game played at a pace of 71 possessions for the Cats and 71 possessions for MISSISSIPPI. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 13 points, 83-70 at a pace of 71 possessions.
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Coach Calipari pulled Willie Cauley-Stein from the starting lineup and replaces him with Dakari Johnson, for an all freshmen starting lineup. Johnson joins the four freshmen Randle, Young, and the Harrison Twins. Willie Cauley-Stein, Poythress, Hawkins, Lee, and Polson will probably see action off the bench.
Ole Miss controlled the tip, and scored off an offensive rebound. After the Cats move on top briefly, 4-2 and again at 5-4, but Mississippi scored for the second time off an offensive rebound to ease back into the lead, 6-5. Willie Cauley-Stein entered the game, and the Cats immediately went deep to him on a lob that he made, but he could not complete the 3 point play from the line. At the under 16 media timeout, the score is even, 9-9, and the Cats have the possession. After the timeout, the Cats score 5 straight points to move on top 14-9 prompting a Mississippi timeout with 13:48 to play in the first half. The timeout was effective, as Ole Miss stopped the Cats run and trimmed the lead back to 2 points, 16-14 at the under 12 media timeout. In the third segment, Ole Miss forged back into the lead, 20-18, but a 3 pointer by Young put the Cats back on top by a point. The teams traded baskets to the under 8 media timeout with the Cats clinging to a 1 point lead, 23-22, and Mississippi will have the first possession after the timeout.
In the first 12 minutes, the pace of play has been about 67 possessions. Out of the timeout, Henderson hits two consecutive 3 pointers to give the Rebels a 5 point lead, 28-23. Coach Calipari called an immediate timeout. Over the balance of the segment, the Cats cut the lead to 1 point, and the lead stood at 1 point 30-29 at the under 4 media timeout. Alex Poythress will be shooting the bonus after the timeout. In the final segment, the Cats ease back into the lead at the half, 35-34.
UK scored its 35 points in a total of 32 possessions for the half, and MISSISSIPPI scored its 34 points on a total of 32 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half, 21-17, and Kentucky and Mississippi each grabbed 8 offensive rebounds. Kentucky converted its 8 second chance possessions to score 8 second chance points, and MISSISSIPPI used its 8 second chance possessions to score 8 second chance points. MISSISSIPPI had an efficiency of 0.812 ppp for its 32first chance possessions, and 1.000 ppp for its 8-second chance possessions. UK had 0.844 ppp on its 32 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 8 second chance possession. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 47.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI was able to convert 38.1% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, making 11-18 [61.1%]. MISSISSIPPI was 1-2 [50.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 11-26 overall [42.3%] and 2-10 from long range [20.0%]. For MISSISSIPPI, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 12-26 [46.2%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI hit 3-10 [30.0%].
The Cats committed 5 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 6.4 possessions MISSISSIPPI committed 3 turnovers in this first half, one for each 10.7 possessions.
The Cats open the second half with 4 quick points to extend their lead back to the game high 5 points, and the teams battle on even terms over the balance of the segment with the Cats up 46-41 at the under 16 media timeout After the timeout, Ole Miss has back to back empty possessions, and Randle makes them pay with 2-2 from the line and a fast break slam to lift the Cats to a 9 point lead, 50-41, forcing a quick Mississippi timeout with 15:05 remaining in the game. In the second segment, the Cats played with a margin of 8 to 10 points, and led by 8 at the under 12 media timeout, 55-47.
In the third segment, Ole Miss trimmed the lead to 7 points, but the Cats responded with back to back scores to move on top by a game high 11 points, 62-51, forcing Ole Miss to take its third timeout with 8:19 to play in the game. Out of their timeout Henderson hit a 3 pointer to cut the lead back to 8, but Andrew Harrison's jump shot from the elbow lifted the Cats on top by 10 points at the under 8 media timeout with 7:35 to play and the Cats in possession. Out of the timeout, the officials negate a basket by Harrison calling an offensive foul on his jump shot, but the Cats run out after back to back missed 3 pointers to baskets and a 14 point lead, 68-54, prompting Ole Miss's 4 th timeout out with 6:10 to play. In the fourth segment, the Cats established the biggest lead of the game, 16 points, and lead by 14, 73-59 at the under 4 media timeout with Young at the line for 2 shots after the timeout.
Cats win 80-64.
UK scored its 80 points in a total of 63 possessions (1.270 ppp) for the game, and MISSISSIPPI scored its 64 points on a total of 64 possessions (1.000 ppp). Kentucky controlled the boards with a 41-26 advantage, and Kentucky won the battle on the offensive glass 15-14. Kentucky used its 15 second chance possessions to score 19 second chance points, and MISSISSIPPI converted their 14 offensive rebounds into 15 second chance points. MISSISSIPPI had an offensive efficiency of 0.765 ppp on its 64 first chance possessions and 1.071 ppp for its 14 second chance possessions. UK had 0.968 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 1.267 ppp on its 15 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 55.6% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI was able to convert 35.0%, of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 26-36 [72.2%]. MISSISSIPPI made 8-10 [80.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 26-51 overall [51.0%] and 2-13 from long range [15.4%]. For MISSISSIPPI, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 19-44 [43.2%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI hit 6-21 [28.6%].
The Cats committed 10 turnovers, one for every 6.3 possessions. The Cats forced 8 MISSISSIPPI turnovers, one for every 8.0 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon against Mississippi State in Starkville.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks