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2013-14 Season Analytical Writings
On Friday night, the Cats will open their SEC Tournament action against the one team in the SEC that most observers say present the worst match up issues for the UK team. As evidence, they point to the two games these two teams have already played this season. In Baton Rouge, LSU controlled the game from the opening tip and the Cats seemed completely out of any order. The rematch at Rupp could have been the Cats' redemption against the Bengal Tigers, but rather than assert its will to win, and demonstrate to the world that LSU is not the monster that it appeared to be at the Maravich center the Cats could never demonstrate any superiority. The Cats needed overtime, and a last second, “look what I found” basket by Julius Randle to pull a 1 point victory from the jaws of the Tigers.
So, on Friday night, the Cats will get one last chance to get it right against an LSU team that could only manage 8 SEC wins in their 16 games against the other 12 members of the conference, and win the rubber match between them. LSU earned the right to take on the Cats for this third time by taking care of business in the second round game against Alabama, 68-56. The Tigers enter this game with a 19-12 overall record against a schedule strength of 0.6259 (72 nd ). LSU has averaged 72 possessions per game, scoring 75.3 ppg (1.045 ppp) and allowing 70.8 ppg (0.989 ppp). LSU has turned the ball over on 19.2% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 18.2% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, LSU has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 35.9% about 7% above the 29% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 68.6%, about 1/2% below the NCAA average.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged just under 69 possessions per game, producing 76.3 ppg (1.110 ppp) and allowing 67.1 ppg (0.980 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 18.0% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 16.1% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 42.8% and 69.5% on the offensive and defensive ends against a schedule strength of 0.6726 (#39).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Kentucky by 7 points, 76-69 in a game played at a pace of 70 possessions for the Cats and 70 possessions for LSU.
Pomeroy has the game as a 5 point margin in favor of Kentucky, 76-71 in a game played at a place of 70 possessions.
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Coach Calipari returns to the all freshmen starting lineup with Dakari Johnson, Julius Randle, James Young, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison, to start the game. Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, Hawkins, Lee, and Polson will probably see action off the bench. The big unknown for this game is the tweak that Coach Calipari has teased the media with all week long, and can the Cats begin to find the level of play that the entire BBN has been waiting to see all season.
LSU controls the opening tip and responds to a double team on O'Bryant to kick the ball out for back to back 3 pointers around a UK turnover on its only possession, forcing a UK timeout with 18:59 still remaining and the Cats down 6-0. Kentucky answered with a 3 pointer, but LSU repeated their formula for their 3 rd 3 pointer. Before the first segment closed with a foul on James Young, LSU had converted the O-Bryant double team into four 3 pointers and a 6 point lead, 16-10, at the under 16 media timeout with 14:56 remaining in the first half. In the short second segment, LSU extended their lead to a game high 8 points, 22-14 but Kentucky closed the segment scoring with a second chance basket after getting 3 consecutive offensive rebounds on their last possession of the segment with the score 22-16 with 11:56 remaining in the first half. LSU has the first possession after the timeout.
After the timeout, the Cats get 4 second chance points on 1-2 free throws by Randle, and a 3 pointer by James Young, his third of the game, to trim the lead to 2 points, 22-20. LSU takes a timeout with 9:26 in response. After the timeout, Willie Cauley-Stein gets a basket after an offensive rebound, and then Andrew Harrison makes a 15 foot jump shot to lift the Cats into the lead for the first time, 24-22 at the under 8 media timeout with 7:33 left in the first half. The combination of Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson on the front line, with Alex Poythress, coupled with a Kentucky zone defense, held the Tigers scoreless in the third segment. In the fourth segment, Johnny O'Bryant ends the Cats run at 12-0 with a fall away jump shot to pull the Tigers to within 2 points of the Cats, 26-24, but the Cats continued their blitz of the Tigers with a 9-1 run to finish the segment that lifted the Cats on top by 10, 35-25 at the under 4 media timeout and 3:53 remaining in the first half. When play resumes, the Cats will have a 1+1 free throw opportunity to increase the 10 point lead. Tonight, the Cats started 3-8 from the charity stripe, but have made their last two attempts to stand at 5-10. In the fifth segment, the teams played on even terms, and the Cats head to the locker room at the half with a 10 point lead, 42-32.
During the decisive run of the first half, the Cats moved from 8 down to 12 up by outscoring LSU 27-7, one of the strongest offensive segments of the entire season.
UK scored its 42 points in a total of 33 possessions for the half, and LSU scored its 32 points on a total of 34 possessions. Kentucky won the battle of the boards 26-16, and UK won the offensive glass, 12-5. Kentucky converted its 12 second chance possessions to score 18 second chance points, and LSU used its 5 second chance possessions to score 2 second chance points. LSU had an efficiency of 0.882 ppp for its 34 first chance possessions, and 0.400 ppp for its 5-second chance possession. UK had 0.727 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 1.500 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. The Cats managed to grab 52.2% of their misses as offensive rebounds while LSU managed to get 26.3% of their misses for second chance possessions.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this half, making 6-15 [40.0%]. LSU was 4-10 [40.0% for the half. Field goal shooting for UK was 16-34 overall [47.1%] and 4-10from long range [40.0%]. For LSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 8-17 [47.1%] and from long range, LSU hit 4-10 [40.0%].
The Cats committed 3 turnovers in the first half, 1 for each 11.0 possessions LSU committed 7 turnovers in this first half, one for each 4.9 possessions.
LSU opens play in the second half and draws a foul from Randle on their first possession. After making 1 or 2 free throws to trim the lead back into single digits, the Cats score 7 straight to go on top by 16 before a 3 pointer stops the Cats' fun and pulls the Tigers back to within 13 points at the under 16 media timeout. After the timeout, O'Bryant makes a basket and draws Alex Poythress' 4 th foul. Then LSU makes a driving basket, Hickey steals the inbounds pass that results in a 3 pointer to cut the one time 16 point lead to 6 points, 51-45, prompting Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 14:00 remaining in the game. At the under 12 media timeout, LSU has the ball and is only down 5 points, 52-47.
After the timeout, Stringer drives the baseline for a basket and draws a foul from Randle, but he misses the free throw to trim the lead to 3 points. Alex Poythress drains a 3 pointer, and Julius Randle makes a pair of free throws to lift the Cats back on top by 8, 57-49. The Tigers however stop the Cats' recovery, and trim the lead to 7 points, 61-54 at the under 8 media timeout with 7:49 to play, and LSU in possession of the ball after the timeout. In the fourth segment, the Cats ended the segment with a 7-0 run, forcing LSU to take their next to last timeout with 3:58 to play and the Cats standing tall with their biggest lead, 17 points, 76-59. After the timeout, Dakari Johnson commits a foul taking the game to the under 4 media timeout, with the same 3:58 to play, but LSU will be shooting a pair of free throws after this timeout.
Cats win impressively 85-67.
UK scored its 85 points in a total of 70 possessions (1.214 ppp) for the game, and LSU scored its 67 points on a total of 72 possessions (0.931 ppp). Kentucky won the battle of the boards with a 48-32 advantage, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 15-10 Kentucky used its 15 second chance possessions to score 21 second chance points, and LSU converted their 10 offensive rebounds into 7 second chance points. LSU had an offensive efficiency of 0.833 ppp on its 72 first chance possessions and 0.700 ppp for its 10 second chance possessions. UK had 0.914 ppp on its 70 first chance possessions and 1.400 ppp on its 15 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 23.3%, of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 26-41 [63.4%]. LSU made 12-24 [50.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 26-55 overall [47.3%] and 7-17 from long range [41.2%]. For LSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 17-40 [42.5%] and from long range, LSU hit 7-19 [36.8%].
The Cats committed 9 turnovers, one for every 7.8 possessions. The Cats forced 12 LSU turnovers, one for every 6.0 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon in the SEC Tournament Semifinal Round as the Conference #2 seed against the #3 Seed Georgia Bulldogs
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks