2013-14 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Return To Rupp For Chance To Avenge Loss To LSU

The Cats travelled to Oxford, Mississippi on Tuesday for their rematch with the Mississippi team the Cats handled with relative ease at Rupp by 16 points earlier this month. The Cats played perhaps their best half of basketball of this season as they dominated Ole Miss 42-25 in the first half. The Cats continued that dominance into the second half as they built a lead on the road of 22 points, 62-40 with 9:10 remaining in the game. That is all very good news for this team, and the Big Blue Nation welcomed the sight of it all.

Then they traded baskets with the Rebels over the next 4 minutes, allowing Mississippi to trim the 22 point lead to 15 points, 70-55 with 5:20 remaining, and over the next 4 minutes, Ole Miss outscored the Cats 15-6 to cut the one-time 22 point lead to a mere 6 points, 76-70 with 1:17 remaining in the game. That is all not such good news for this team, because again, they could not sustain the great effort for a full 40 minute game, and they allowed Ole Miss to sniff upset with a about 1 ½ minutes to play in a game that the Cats all but owned.

Yes, the Ole Miss comeback stalled at that point, and the Cats finished with a 8-0 finish to win by 14 points. Yes, a 14 point win on the road over a team that Vegas said would play the Cats within low single digits is a nice outcome. Yes, this team has now four straight SEC road games for the first time since the Championship season, and only the second time a Calipari led UK team has won four straight road games. These are all reasons for hope, for encouragement that this team is making strides toward the competitiveness that the Coaches and the Fans have been seeking. But, the 4 minutes Mississippi run at the end is eerily reminiscent of the end of the Baylor game and the end of the Florida game, which could have transformed an overall good game performance into another distasteful loss.

And then there were five (5), and of the five final opponents, the Cats will have an opportunity to avenge earlier losses three times. The first such opportunity arrives for this team on Saturday afternoon when LSU visits Rupp Arena. On January 28, the Cats ventured into the Maravich center with high hopes and higher expectations, and the Bengal Tigers punched them on the opening tip, and the Cats never held a lead the entire night. The Tigers were on top 22-6 after about 6 ½ minutes before the Cats came out of the fog of the initial punch. The Cats did show some resilence in trimming that lead to only 2 points with about 5 minutes remaining in the half, but the Cats could get no closer, falling behind by 9 again, and trailing by 6 at the half. In the second half, the Tigers extended their lead to 15 again at the midway point before the Cats chipped away at that lead to a final margin of 5 points over the last 7 minutes.

LSU will bring their 16-9, 7-6 SEC record into Rupp on Saturday. Since they beat the Cats, the Tigers have split their last 6 games, winning 3 times in Baton Rouge and losing 3 times on the road. LSU's schedule strength has been 0.5845 (93 rd ). LSU has averaged 73 to 74 possessions per game, scoring 77.8 ppg (1.057 ppp) and allowing 72.6 ppg (0.991 ppp). LSU has turned the ball over on 19.5% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 18.4% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, LSU has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 36.8% about 8% above the 29% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 68.1%, about 2% below the NCAA average.

In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 68 to 69 possessions per game, producing 78.3 ppg (1.138 ppp) and allowing 66.5 ppg (0.969 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 17.9% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 16.0% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 43.0% and 69.2% on the offensive and defensive ends against a schedule strength of 0.6575 (#31).

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 LSU. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 14 points, 84-70 at a pace of 71 possessions.

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Game Summary:

For the seventh 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.

LSU controls the opening tip, and Johnny O'Bryant scores the first 6 points of the game on a put back, a baseline drive, and a jump shot from the key, forcing Coach Calipari to take a quick timeout with only 90 seconds gone. The Cats fail to score out of the timeout, but after getting a defensive stop, Andrew Harrison breaks the ice with a floater. James Young then gets to the line following LSU's first turnover. Young made the first, and Willie Cauley-Stein rebounding Young's miss, allowing Young to score a second chance basket to cut the LSU lead to a single point, 6-5, at the under 16 media timeout.

Out of the timeout, the Cats get a defensive stop, and Aaron Harrison gets fouled on his way to the basket. He makes both shots to give the Cats their first lead of the game. The Cats go into a zone defense, and force a turnover. Aaron Harrison makes it a 3 point lead, and following a miss, Andrew Harrison drives to the rim to give the Cats a 5 point lead, 11-6, and the Cats are in the process of an 11 point run since Coach Calipari called the timeout. This time, LSU takes the timeout with 14:54 to play in the half. Willie Cauley-Stein gets a put back to extend the run to 13-0 before LSU makes the second of two free throws to stop the run. The Cats lead 13-9 at the under 12 media timeout.

Hickey drains back to back 3 pointers to tie the score at 15-15, but the Cats respond with a 3 pointer by Young, and a 3 point play by Aaron Harrison to move back on top by 6, 21-15. At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats hold a game high 7 point lead, 27-20 with 6:58 to play in the half. After the timeout, LSU will be shooting a pair of free throws. LSU converted both free throws, and the Cats' shooting cooled off in the fourth segment allowing LSU to trim the lead to 6, 30-24, at the under 4 media timeout. On the final play of the fourth segment, O'Bryant undercut Aaron Harrison, sending him to a crash onto the floor, head first. Harrison was clearly stunned by the blow to the head but managed to get up, and return to the bench on his own.

After the timeout, Aaron Harrison made both of his free throws. However, the Cats only manage 3 more points in the final segment of the half, and LSU used a rare 4 point play to trim the lead to 3 points, 35-32 at the half.

UK scored its 35 points in a total of 33 possessions for the half, and LSU scored its 32 points on a total of 33 possessions. Kentucky and LSU each grabbed 19 rebounds, but LSU won the battle of the offensive glass with a 7-6. Kentucky converted its 6 second chance possessions to score 11 second chance points, and LSU used its 7 second chance possessions to score 2 second chance points. LSU had an efficiency of 0.909 ppp for its 33 first chance possessions, and 0.286 ppp for its 7-second chance possessions. UK had 0.727 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 1.833 ppp on its 8 second chance possessions.

UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, making 8-12 [66.7]. LSU was 4-5 [80.0] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 13-29 overall [44.8%] and 1-5 from long range [20.0%]. For LSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 8-20 [40.0%] and from long range, LSU hit 4-12 [33.3%].

The Cats committed 4 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 8.2 possessions LSU committed 6 turnovers in this first half, one for each 5.5 possessions.

Second Half

LSU opens the second half the way they opened the game scoring the first 6 points to move back on top 38-35 just 2 minutes into the second half. Together with the 8-3 run that LSU ended the first half with, the total LSU run is 16-3 before Young finally stops it with a basket. The Cats then fight back on the Boards to forge a brief 1 point lead, at 41-40. At the under 16 media timeout, the game is tied at 41-41 and LSU has possession when play resumes. In the second segment of the second half, the Cats continued their board work to ease up to a 4 point lead, 49-45 at the under 12 media timeout, and the Cats will have the ball after the timeout.

After the timeout, the Cats turn it over and LSU converts on the run out to trim the lead back to 2 points. After the Cats score the next 4, to go up 53-47, LSU answers. Coach Calipari calls a timeout with 9:40 to play to make a substitution. Over the balance of the segment, the teams trade baskets to a 55-51 Kentucky lead at the under 8 media timeout, with LSU in possession. Out of the timeout, LSU hits a 3 pointer to cut the lead to a single point, and following a missed 3 pointer by Hawkins, LSU ties the score at 55-55 with 7:03 to play on 1 of 2 free throws. Willie Cauley-Stein misses from 4 feet, and LSU has the ball but can't move into the lead. The game is tied at 55, 57, and 59 before the Cats ease up by 1 point, 60-59 at the under 4 media timeout. The Tigers move up by 1 point on a second chance basket, and the Cats move back on top by 1 point on a penetration into the lane by Aaron Harrison. After O'Bryant commits an offensive foul, the Cats take possession with a 1 point lead, 62-61, with 3:09 to play in the game.

In this game the Cats have started each half outscored 6-0 in the first and 8-0 in the second. They also ended the first half outscored 8-3. We are at the crunch time in this game, and a repeat of the first half closing will produce another home loss.

The Cats miss the first possession down the stretch, and after an offensive rebound, LSU turns the ball over. Young makes one of two free throws to ease the Cats out by 2 points. Hickey makes a long 3 pointer with 1:45 to play to give LSU the 1 point lead. After each team has an empty possession, Coach Calipari calls a timeout with 45 seconds to play, the Cats with the ball, down by a point, 64-63. The Cats settle for a mid range jump shot, and it misses the mark, and LSU takes a timeout after getting the rebound with 22 ½ seconds to play in the game. The Cats fouls Springer. He missed the first and makes the second, to lift the Tigers to a 2 point lead. LSU fouls Andrew Harrison in the lane. He converts them both. Hickey missed a 3 point attempt at the buzzer to send this game into overtime, 65-65.

The Cats control the overtime tip, but can't convert the possession into a score. O'Bryant scores for the Tigers. After the Cats answer, Hickey drains a 3 pointer at the end of their shot clock to go up by 3 in OT. The teams trade baskets to 40 seconds, with LSU in possession and up by 1 point, 74-73. LSU takes a timeout out to play their last possessions of this overtime. LSU missed, and Young took the ball the length of the floor to draw a foul and get two free throws with 25 seconds left in the OT. Young made both. Springer scores at the other end, and Randle puts a miss by Young in the basket to get the win for the Cats by 1 point in OT, 77-76.


UK scored its 77 points in a total of 74 possessions (1.041 ppp) for the game, and LSU scored its 76 points on a total of 73 possessions (1.041 ppp). Kentucky won the battle of the boards with a 43-40 advantage, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 17-15. Kentucky used its 17 second chance possessions to score 24 second chance points, and LSU converted their 15 offensive rebounds into 9 second chance points. LSU had an offensive efficiency of 0.918 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 0.600 ppp for its 15 second chance possessions. UK had 0.716 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 1.412 ppp on its 17 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 40.5.% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LSU was able to convert 366%, of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 20-27 [74.1%]. LSU made 15-20 [75.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-67 overall [41.8%] and 1-9 from long range [11.1%]. For LSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 20-50 [40.0%] and from long range, LSU hit 7-17 [41.2%].

The Cats committed 10 turnovers, one for every 7.4 possessions. The Cats forced 12 LSU turnovers, one for every 6.1 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Thursday night against Arkansas at Rupp.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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