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2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
A little over a month ago, the Kentucky Wildcats opened their 2014 SEC quest at home against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Cats took care of business that night and sent the Bulldogs home with a 22 point loss, 85-63. Each team will begin the second half of the SEC season together, this time the Cats return the favor and travel to Starkville. While the Cats' two losses in the first half of the season must be characterized as disappointing, the Bulldogs have won 3 and lost 6, and as remarkable as it may seem, that is two more wins than the experts expected them to win in the first nine. The Bulldogs managed home wins over Ole Miss and Texas A&M, and their only conference home loss has occurred at the hands of the Gators by 11.
For the Cats, Mississippi State will be the first SEC opponent that appears a second time on this schedule. The Bulldogs, however, have already played home-away against two SEC opponents, Ole Miss and Texas A&M, winning both at home and losing both on the road. The Cats need to break that MSU pattern with another road win if they want to maintain the slim hopes they are hanging onto for an SEC Championship in 2014. Regardless of whether Florida stumbles this week in their trip to Knoxville, the Cats will have to win out from here, including two wins over the Gators to win the SEC title.
MISSISSIPPI STATE will put their 13-9; 3-6 SEC record on the line when the Cats come calling for this rematch. MISSISSIPPI STATE's schedule strength has been 0.4059 (288 th ). MISSISSIPPI STATE has averaged 69 to 70 possessions per game, scoring 68.1 ppg (0.979 ppp) and allowing 68.5 ppg (0.986 ppp). MISSISSIPPI STATE has turned the ball over on 19.8% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 21.3% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, MISSISSIPPI STATE has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 28.4% about 1% below the 29% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 69.7%, about 1% below the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 69 to 70 possessions per game, producing 80.0 ppg (1.149 ppp) and allowing 67.0 ppg (0.967 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 17.6% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 16.1% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 43.3% and 68.9% on the offensive and defensive ends against a schedule strength of .6304 (#43).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Kentucky by 12 points, 77-65 in a game played at a pace of 70 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for MISSISSIPPI STATE. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 14 points, 79-65 at a pace of 69 possessions.
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For the third consecutive game, Coach Calipari has started Dakari Johnson in lieu of Willie Cauley-Stein and Coach Calipari will again put an all freshmen starting lineup on the court. 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.
The Cats control the opening tip and score on the first possession, and 2 of the next 3 to move on top by 6 points early, 6-0. However, over the balance of the opening segment, MSU closed the gap to 2 points, 9-7, forcing Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 14:40 to play. Out of the timeout, the Cats miss a quick 3 pointer, and MSU converts on a fast break to pull even at 9-9. Then, the Cats commit their 4 th turnover of the first 6 minutes to take the game into a delayed under 16 media timeout with the score tied and about 14 minutes remaining in the first half. Over the short second segment, MSU then moved on top 11-9 before the Cats stopped the 8-0 run to pull even. However, MSU was fouled to send the game to the under 12 media timeout, and the Bulldogs will be shooting a pair of free throws after the break. They converted both to move back on top by 2 points.
After tying the score again at 13, the Bulldogs completed another 4 free throws around the Cats' 5 th turnover to move on top by 4 points, 17-13. The Cats score the next 6 points to regain the lead, 19-17 at the under 8 media timeout with 7:33 to play, and MSU to attempt a pair of free throws on Willie Cauley-Stein's second foul. In the first 12+ minutes, MSU has beaten the Cats down the court several times following Cat missed shots and turnovers and have negated the major UK strengths on the boards and trips to the free throw line. In the fourth segment, the Cats began to work the offensive boards, and eased on top by 4 points 25-21 by the under 4 media timeout with 3:38 left in the first half. The Cats will have the ball to start the final segment.
Out of the timeout, Polson was fouled as he obtained an offensive rebound. Jarrod missed his first free throw attempt of the season, but Dakari Johnson got another Kentucky offensive rebound and put the ball in the basket to lift the Cats up by 6 points. After a MSU dry trip, Jon Hood makes a 3 pointer to put the Cats up by 9 points, 30-21. The teams go to the locker room with the Cats on top by 9, 32-23.
UK scored its 32 points in a total of 31 possessions for the half, and MISSISSIPPI STATE scored its 23 points on a total of 31 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half, 23-15, and Kentucky controlled the offensive glass with a 9-4 advantage. Kentucky converted its 9 second chance possessions to score 10 second chance points, and MISSISSIPPI STATE used its 4 second chance possessions to score 2 second chance points. MISSISSIPPI STATE had an efficiency of 0.677 ppp for its 31 first chance possessions, and 0.500 ppp for its 4-second chance possessions. UK had 0.710 ppp on its 31 first chance possessions and 1.111 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 45.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI STATE was able to convert 22.2% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, making 4-6 [66.7%]. MISSISSIPPI STATE was 9-10 [90.0%] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 13-31 overall [41.9%] and 2-11 from long range [18.2%]. For MISSISSIPPI STATE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 7-21 [33.3%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI STATE hit 0-3 [0.0%].
The Cats committed 5 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 6.2 possessions MISSISSIPPI STATE committed 6 turnovers in this first half, one for each 5.2 possessions.
MSU opens play in the second half and immediately draws Young's third foul. Then on the Cats' first offensive possession, Andrew Harrison picks up his third foul on a charging foul. Young and Andrew Harrison take to the bench and Polson and Poythress return to the floor. After the Cats miss a dunk shot, MSU gets a run out basket to cut the lead to 6 points, forcing Coach Calipari to take a quick second half timeout with the score 32-26. After the timeout, Aaron Harrison stops the MSU run with a 3 pointers, and the Cats finish the opening segment with an 8 point lead, 39-31, at the under 16 media timeout. MSU will have the ball when the game resumes.
In the second segment, the Cats see their lead trimmed to 7 points, 46-39, at the under 12 media timeout, and MSU will have free throws after the timeout with a chance to trim the lead to only 5 points. MSU missed both free throws, and the Cats extended their lead to a game high 12 points, last at 55-43, but MSU scored the last 4 points of the segment to trim the lead back to 8 points,l 55-47 at the under 8 media timeout, and MSU will have 1 free throw to complete a 3 point play after the timeout.
Andrew Harrison fouled out with 5:31 to play, on a defensive hold away from the ball, and after the free throws, the UK lead stands at 7 points, 59-52. The Cats manage to get 2 of the points back prior to the under 4 media timeout, to extend their lead back to 9 points, 61-52. The Cats will have the ball to start the final segment with 3:30 left to play in the game. Cats get the road win by 10, 69-59.
UK scored its 69 points in a total of 65 possessions (1.062 ppp) for the game, and MISSISSIPPI STATE scored its 59 points on a total of 65 possessions (0.908 ppp). Kentucky controlled the boards with a 38-33 advantage, and Kentucky won the battle on the offensive glass 13-8. Kentucky used its 13 second chance possessions to score 14 second chance points, and MISSISSIPPI STATE converted their 8 offensive rebounds into 4 second chance points. MISSISSIPPI STATE had an offensive efficiency of 0.846 ppp on its 65 first chance possessions and 0.500 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 0.846 ppp on its 65 first chance possessions and 1.077 ppp on its 13 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 34.2% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI STATE was able to convert 24.2%, of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 12-18 [66.7%]. MISSISSIPPI STATE made 22-28 [78.6%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 27-60 overall [45.00%] and 3-18 from long range [16.7%]. For MISSISSIPPI STATE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 17-39 [43.6%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI STATE hit 1-8 [12.5%].
The Cats committed 9 turnovers, one for every 7.2 possessions. The Cats forced 13 MISSISSIPPI STATE turnovers, one for every 5.0 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Wednesday night against Auburn at Auburn.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks