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2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
On Saturday, the Cats began the final stretch of five games to close out the SEC regular season, and three of those five games provide an opportunity to avenge an earlier loss. The first rematch ended with the Cats getting their revenge. Howver, much to the chagrin of most Big Blue Fans, the Cats not only required overtime to get the job done, the Cats could not finish the job until Julius Randle transformed a lame attack of the basket by James Young into a game winning basket with only 2.5 second left in the extra period.
Just as Qualls picked off an offensive rebound of the Madden miss and slammed it into the basket at the end of overtime in Fayetteville on January 14 to hand the Cats a 2 point loss in overtime, this “fortunate” bounce of the ball gave the Cats the 1 point win in overtime over LSU.
Ironically, those same Arkansas Razorbacks, who “stole” the 2-point OT win from the Cats in January, are the next opponent in this revenge minded final stretch. The Hogs will come to Rupp Thursday night to face a Kentucky team that still has revenge on its mind.
After the Hogs beat the Cats, they stood proud with a 12-4 overall record, but only 1-2 in the SEC after dropping their SEC opener to Texas A&M and dropping a 2 pointer in overtime to Florida prior to Kentucky's visit to Fayetteville. Immediately following the Hogs' win over the Cats, they proceeded to lose four of their next 5 games, as their record dropped to an unimpressive 13-8, and 2-6 in the SEC. It seemed that Arkansas was headed for a dismal SEC finish on February 1 on their trip back to Fayetteville from Baton Rouge following their 14 point loss to the Hogs. However, the Hogs have won five of the six games since that February 1 loss to elevate their record to 18-9, and are one of seven SEC teams standing at 7-7 with 4 games remaining. Arkansas is probably playing their best basketball of the season over the last 3 weeks as they prepare for their rematch with the Cats.
Those who look for positives to take from a 1 point OT win over LSU at Rupp point to the ability to finish with a game winning play that was so elusive to this team from November through January as a sign that the Cats are “getting it”. Perhaps they are. However, the chatter in the Bluegrass since Sunday about the Hogs has been they win in Fayetteville, and loss on the road. However, two of their five wins over the last 3 weeks have come on the road in the SEC. I am confident that the Hog fans are pointing to this recent road success by their Hogs as a sign that the Hogs are “getting it” too. Perhaps they are.
ARKANSAS will bring their 19-9, 7-7 SEC record into Rupp on Thursday night. ARKANSAS's schedule strength has been 0.5699 (105 th ). ARKANSAS has averaged 74 possessions per game, scoring 80.5 ppg (1.089 ppp) and allowing 70.5 ppg (0.954 ppp). ARKANSAS has turned the ball over on 15.8% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 23.6% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, ARKANSAS has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 32.7% about 4% above the 29% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 65.8%, about 3% below the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 69 possessions per game, producing 78.2 ppg (1.135 ppp) and allowing 66.9 ppg (0.971 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 17.7% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 16.0% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 42.8% and 68.9% on the offensive and defensive ends against a schedule strength of 0.6600 (#36).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Kentucky by 12 points, 80-68 in a game played at a pace of 71 possessions for the Cats and 71 possessions for ARKANSAS. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 11 points, 82-71 at a pace of 72 possessions.
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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.
The Cats control the opening tip, but Arkansas forces two Kentucky turnovers in the first 4 possessions and the Hogs race up to a 7-2 lead. A three point play by Andrew Harrison and a hook shot by Willie Cauley-Stein ties the score at 7-7. Then following an Arkansas miss from outside the arc, Willie Cauley-Stein drives the lane for his second straight basket to give the Cats their first lead, 9-7 at the under 16 media timeout. In the first 4 minutes, each team has had 7 possessions, with two turnovers. The Cats have a 3 point play and the Hogs have a 3 point shot made. The Cats are 4-5 overall while Arkansas started only 3-7 from the field.
After the Cats eased back on top 11-7, the Hogs used 4 UK turnovers, and UK's failure to score on back to back fast break opportunities into a 15-13 lead at the under 12 media timeout, and Arkansas will have the ball after the TV break. Six UK turnovers in a little over 8 minutes is a repeat of the UK performance in Fayetteville that ended with 17 turnovers. Out of the timeout, the Hogs make their 2 nd and 3 rd 3 point shots around a quick 3 point attempt by Young that missed badly to lift the Hogs on top by 8 points, 21-13, forcing Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 10:52 remaining in the first half.
In the remainder of the 3 rd segment, the Hogs extend their lead to 10 points,29-19 at the under 8 media timeout. In the 4 th segment, the Hogs maintain that 10 point lead to the under 4 media timeout, 33-23. In the final segment, the Hogs post the largest lead of the game at 12 points, 35-23. The Cats trail at the half, 37-30.
UK scored its 30 points in a total of 37 possessions for the half, and ARKANSAS scored its 37 points on a total of 36 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the boards 24-15, and UK controlled the offensive glass, 13-3. Kentucky converted its 13 second chance possessions to score 4 second chance points, and ARKANSAS used its 3 second chance possessions to score 2 second chance points. ARKANSAS had an efficiency of 0.972 ppp for its 36 first chance possessions, and 0.667 ppp for its 3-second chance possessions. UK had 0.703 ppp on its 37 first chance possessions and 0.308 ppp on its 13 second chance possessions.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this half, making 4-5 [80.0]. ARKANSAS was 8-8 [100.0] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 13-37 overall [35.1%] and 0-3 from long range [0.0%]. For ARKANSAS, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 13-27 [48.1%] and from long range, ARKANSAS hit 3-7 [42.9%].
The Cats committed 11 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 3.4 possessions ARKANSAS committed 8 turnovers in this first half, one for each 4.5 possessions.
The Cats open the second half with a miss and manage to trim 1 point from the 7 point halftime deficit at the under 16 media timeout. Again, the Cats miss 5 of their first 8 shots, and commit their 12 th turnover of the game. After the timeout, the Cats again fails to score on two shots, and Arkansas drains another 3 pointer at the other end to go back on top by 9, 45-36 with 15:20 remaining in the game.
In the second segment, the Cats clawed to within 4 points on their only 3 pointer of the game, but Arkansas wasted no time answering with a 3 pointer of their own, to maintain the 7 point lead, 50-43, at the under 12 media timeout. After the timeout, the Cats convert two Arkansas turnovers and an airball from 3 point range into 5 points, to cut the lead to 2 points, 50-48, forcing an Arkansas timeout with 9:57 to play in the game. However, in this stretch, the Cats missed 3 free throws. With 8:22, Johnson makes the first of two to trim the Arkansas lead to 1 point. Arkansas takes another timeout with 8:17, up by a single point, 50-49. The Cats have now missed 4 of their last 6 free throw attempts after making 6 of their first 7.
After the Arkansas timeout, the Cats hold on defense and force Arkansas to take a bad shot near the end of the shot clock, but the Cats can't secure the rebound, losing it out of bounds, Arkansas retaining possession at the under 8 media timeout with 7:46 to play in the game. In the 4 th segment, the Cats finally catch up at 50-50, and then move on top 55-50 before Arkansas can manage a basket, as the Cats comeback has been built entirely on the defensive end. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats lead 57-54, with 3:05 left in the game. Young will be shooting a pair of free throws after the break. The Cats have mounted this comeback from down 7 (43-50) to up 3 (57-53), a 14-3 run even though they have missed 5 of 8 free throw attempts during this span.
Young missed both of his free throws. The Cats manage to get a bucket and one of two free throws to ease up by 2. A pair of Arkansas free throws ties the game 60-60 with 30 seconds left, and the Cats with the ball for the last possession. Andrew Harrison's shot is blocked, and a desperation shot by the Hogs at the buzzer falls short. Overtime for the second time in a row at Rupp, and for the second time this season with the Hogs.
Overtime. This team made only 4-12 free throws over the last 12 minutes of this game.
Each team, UK first and Arkansas second, open the OT with turnovers. After the Cats commit their second consecutive turnover of the OT, Arkansas uses an offensive rebound to drain a 3 pointer to up by 3. A basket and a foul could have tied the score again, but the Cats again missed from the line. Arkansas made 4-4 from the line while the Cats manage one basket. However, after Arkansas scores to go back on top by 3, the Cats turn the ball over, and Arkansas has the ball, up 3, with 1:35 remaining in the OT. The Cats get the stop, but can't score. Arkansas makes two more free throws to go up by 5, 69-64, with only 36 seconds left in the OT. Young makes a 3 pointer to trim the lead to 2 points with 30 seconds remaining. Arkansas gets the ball into front court, and the Cats foul. Arkansas beats the Cats in Rupp Arena for the first time since 1994, and the Hogs sweep the season series, something that had not happened before in the Calipari era.
Cats lose 71-67.
UK scored its 67 points in a total of 78 possessions (0.859 ppp) for the game, and ARKANSAS scored its 71 points on a total of 75 possessions (0.947 ppp). Kentucky won the battle of the boards with a 47-38 advantage, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 26-11 Kentucky used its 26 second chance possessions to score 19 second chance points, and ARKANSAS converted their 11 offensive rebounds into 11 second chance points. ARKANSAS had an offensive efficiency of 0.800 ppp on its 75 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 11 second chance possessions. UK had 0.615 ppp on its 78 first chance possessions and 0.731 ppp on its 26 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 49.1.% of its misses as offensive rebounds while ARKANSAS was able to convert 34.4%, of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 12-22 [54.5%]. ARKANSAS made 16-16 [100.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 26-76 overall [34.2%] and 3-13 from long range [27.3%]. For ARKANSAS, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 17-39 [43.6%] and from long range, ARKANSAS hit 7-19 [36.8%].
The Cats committed 18 turnovers, one for every 4.3 possessions. The Cats forced 20 ARKANSAS turnovers, one for every 3.8 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday evening against South Carolina at Columbia.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks