BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
Saturday wraps up the 2013-14 regular basketball season, and both Kentucky and Florida know their finish in the SEC regardless of the outcome of this game. I am confident that the SEC schedule maker anticipated that this game would have some conference and NCAA significance, but the reality is that it is a yawner for both teams. The Gators hold down the #1 position in the polls and will be playing on their Senior day for the first 18-0 SEC regular season record, but the Cats have little to for Saturday beyond pride and respect, each of which has been seriously ignored and damaged over the course of this season by this group of Cats.
The Cats did manage to hold to the tradition of winning on their Senior Night with a 7 point win over ALABAMA, but the 55 points scored by the Cats in that win is a season low, and the Cats trailed a much weaker opponent again at the halftime break. Poor shooting near the rim, poor shooting from the arc, excessive turnovers, few forced turnovers, and control of the Boards were the earmarks of the ALABAMA game just as they have been through most of this season.
So the routine of season endings begins to play out on Saturday. They will return to Lexington for a few days of school and practice before they head to Atlanta for the SEC Tournament. The Cats will be the 2 Seed and appear in their first game in the Quarterfinals on Friday evening. Whether their stay in Atlanta is for one game or three, the Cats will find out with the rest of the nation where they will begin NCAA play on Selection Sunday. Whether its no wins, or three wins in Atlanta, the Cats will not return to Lexington for any schooling due to UK's annual Spring Break that coincides with the NCAA first round week and weekend. They will return after Spring Break either finished with their season, or preparing to move right back on the road for the NCAA Sweet 16.
FLORIDA has a 28-2 overall record, 17-0 in the SEC against a schedule strength of 0.6624 (45 th ). FLORIDA has averaged 64 possessions per game, scoring 71.1 ppg (1.112 ppp) and allowing 58.2 ppg (0.913 ppp). FLORIDA has turned the ball over on 17.7% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 21.9% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, FLORIDA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 37.2% about 8% above the 29% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of70.1%, about 1% above the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged just under 69 possessions per game, producing 76.7 ppg (1.112 ppp) and allowing 66.5 ppg (0.972 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 18.0% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 16.2% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 43.6% and 69.2% on the offensive and defensive ends against a schedule strength of 0.6601 (#49).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Florida by 10 points, 73-63 in a game played at a pace of 66 possessions for the Cats and 66 possessions for FLORIDA.
Pomeroy figures the Game in Florida's favor by 8 points, 69-61 at a pace of 62 possessions.
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Coach Calipari returns to his regular starting lineup for todays season finale. The only question is whether he will opt for the all-freshman starting five, or whether he will begin the game with Willie Cauley-Stein in lieu of Dakari Johnson. Julius Randle, James Young, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison will join the center Coach Calipari calls on to start this game at the center circle. Willie Cauley-Stein gets the call, and Johnson, Poythress, Hawkins, Lee, and Polson will probably see action off the bench.
The Cats get the first possession after Florida's Young attemps to steal the tip and bats the ball out of bounds at midcourt. However, the Gators score first on a basket and 1 of 2 free throws before a 3 pointer by Young ties the score at 3-3. After the Cats move on top 10-5, Young makes his second 3 pointer of the game to pull the Cats to within 2 points. The Gators continue to score on easy inside shots, and move on top 12-8 at the under 16 media timeout. Dakari Johnson was fouled to take the game to that first break.
The second segment is scoreless for the Cats on 6 possessions while the Gators added 5 more points to their total to stretch their early lead to 9 points, 17-8 at the under 12 media timeout. When play resumes, Aaron Harrison will be at the line for a pair of free throws where the Cats are 1-2 in the early going. As has been the custom recently, the Cats' shooting remains abysmal at 27% while the Gators are 6-10 overall, and 2-4 from outside the arc. The Cats have 4 early turnovers while the Gators have only 1 turnover, leading to a 6-0 advantage from points after turnovers. In the third segment, the Cats make 1 of 2 from the line, and a 3 pointer at the other end puts the Gators up by 11, 20-9. However, the Cats scored the next 7 to cut the lead back to 4 points, 20-16. However, the Gators closed the segment with the last 4 points, and will have the ball after the under 8 media timeout with 7:10 to play and the score 24-16. The Gators score, force a bad shot, and drain a 3 pointer to go on top by 13, 29-16, forcing a UK timeout with 6:48 remaining in the first half. The Gators extend the lead to 15 before a free throw by Aaron Harrison stops the run at 11 points. In the fourth segment, the Gators explode to a 19 point lead, 39-20 forcing yet another UK timeout with 4:10 to play. After the timeout, the Cats score to stop the run, but only momentarily because after a defensive stop, James Young turns the ball over for the Cats' 8 th of the half that led to a run out basket for the Gators, and an injury to Julius Randle, who left the game limping at the under 4 media timeout with the score 41-22 and 3:16 remaining in the first half. The teams finish the half with the same 19 point margin, 49-28.
UK scored its 28 points in a total of 38 possessions for the half, and FLORIDA scored its 49 points on a total of 39 possessions. Florida won the battle of the boards 18-11, and UK won the offensive glass, 2-1. Kentucky converted its 2 second chance possessions to score 0 second chance points, and FLORIDA used its 1 second chance possession to score 0 second chance points. FLORIDA had an efficiency of 1.256 ppp for its 39 first chance possessions, and 0.000 ppp for its 1-second chance possession. UK had 0.737 ppp on its 38 first chance possessions and 0.000 ppp on its 2 second chance possessions. The Cats managed to grab 10.5% of their misses as offensive rebounds while FLORIDA managed to get 10.0% of their misses for second chance possessions.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, making 9-15 [60.0%]. FLORIDA was 10-14 [71.4] for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 8-26 overall [36.4%] and 3-6 from long range [50.0%]. For FLORIDA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 9-14 [64.3%] and from long range, FLORIDA hit 7-12 [58.3%].
The Cats committed 11 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 3.5 possessions FLORIDA committed 7 turnovers in this first half, one for each 5.6 possessions.
The Cats open the second half with their 12 th turnover. The Gators fail to convert, and the Cats get a basket by Randle to trim the lead to 19, but the Gators have an answer. After Andrew Harrison trims the lead to 19 again, the Gators get an easy basket inside, forcing Coach Calipari to take another timeout, down 21 with 17:30 remaining.
After the timeout, the Cats increase the defensive intensity and trim the lead to 15, 53-38 at the under 16 media timeout. The Gators committed their 9 th turnover of the game prior to the break, and the Cats will have the first possession of the second segment. After the timeout, the Cats go to the Boards, getting a 3 point play following their second offensive rebound to cut the lead to 12. Following a dry trip by the Cats, the Gators miss a pair of free throws, and Dakari Johnson makes free throws to trim the lead to 10, 53-43. The Gators miss again, and Randle drives to the hoop to cut the lead to 8. After another Gator miss, Dakari Johnson makes a hook from 5 feet in the lane, following an offensive rebound by Willie Cauley-Stein to trim the lead to 6 points, 53-47. Billy Donovan calls a timeout with 12:18 remaining, to try to find a solution to this Gator scoring drought that has allowed the Cats to score 15 straight.
The Gators make a 3 pointer to go back on top by 9, 56-47 at the under 12 media timeout with 11:16 remaining in the game. However, the Cats could get no closer as the Gators recovered from the UK blitz to outscore the Cats 9-3 in the third segment to extend their lead back into double figures at 12 points, 62-50 at the under 8 media timeout, and with UK in possession of the ball. On the first possession, the Cats benefit from some sloppy ball handling when Dakari Johnson picks up a loose ball and puts it in the basket. He was fouled but could not complete the 3 point play. Over the remainder of the 4 th segment, the teams traded scores to the under 4 media timeout with the Gators maintaining a 13 point lead, 72-59.
The Gators use a Wilbekon three pointer, his second of the second half to lift the Gators back on top by 17, 77-60, and Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 2:24 remaining in the game. The Gators take care of business and finish their first ever for the SEC 18-0 conference season with a 19 point win, 84-65
UK scored its 65 points in a total of 70 possessions (0.929 ppp) for the game, and FLORIDA scored its 84 points on a total of 68 possessions (1.235 ppp). Florida won the battle of the boards with a 32-27 advantage, but Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 6-3 Kentucky used its 6 second chance possessions to score 7 second chance points, and FLORIDA converted their 3 offensive rebounds into 4 second chance points. FLORIDA had an offensive efficiency of 1.173 ppp on its 68 first chance possessions and 1.333 ppp for its 3 second chance possessions. UK had 0.829 ppp on its 70 first chance possessions and 1.167 ppp on its 6 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 17.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while FLORIDA was able to convert 12.5%, of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 15-25 [60.0%]. FLORIDA made 19-29 [65.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 23-51 overall [45.1%] and 4-10 from long range [40.0%]. For FLORIDA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 19-32 [59.4%] and from long range, FLORIDA hit 9-15 [60.0%].
The Cats committed 14 turnovers, one for every 5.0 possessions. The Cats forced 10 FLORIDA turnovers, one for every 6.8 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Friday night in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinal Round as the Conference #2 seed. The opponent is not known at this time, and will not be determined until Thursday night's second round game pitting the winner of the #7 and #10 seeds.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks