2014-15 Season Analytical Writings

Cat Complete 2014-15 Exhibition Tune-ups
In Second Exhibition Game-Georgetown

Last Sunday, the UK team took apart an undermanned Pikeville team 116-68. Pikeville is undermanned with respect to UK, but the vast majority of NCAA D1 basketball teams will be undermanned with respect to this UK basketball team. However, no one should mistake this Pikeville team as simply fodder for any NCAA D1 mill because this Pikeville team will not be undermanned in most conventional meanings. They are a recent past NAIA Championship program that is favored to win the NAIA this season.

The night after they played UK, they traveled to Knoxville to take on the Vols. Before falling to the Vols by 18 points, 80-62, Pikeville held the lead for 10 minutes of the game, and the game was tied for another 2 minutes. I heard one report that Pikeville held the lead at least once in the second half.

This tandem of games, Pikeville vs. UK and UT provides a nice snapshot comparison of the UK and UT teams.


•  UK had a Net Game Efficiency of 48 points in 80 possessions (0.6 points per possession) while Tennessee managed only 18 points in 70 possessions (0.256 ppp).

•  UK's offensive efficiency was 1.45 ppp to Tennessee's 1.14 ppp

•  UK's defensive efficiency was 0.85 ppp to Tennessee's 0.89 ppp.

•  UK played them at 80 possessions, UT played them at 70 possessions.

•  This snapshot indicates that on a neutral court, UK is 26 points better than UT,

•  Pomeroy has Tennessee at #61. Other teams in that range include TAMU #68, Alabama #58, Georgia #48, NC State #60, West Virginia #55, Butler #67.


NGE Exhibiton #1

NGE Exhibtion #2

Change, #1 to #2

























With a similar exhibition matchup with Georgetown set for this Sunday, I wondered if Georgetown has a second game against a D1 team that might provide a similar snapshot comparison. When I checked their scheduled, I discovered that this Georgetown team has already played and won 3 regular season games of their own, winning by huge margins in games that have averaged a whopping 95 possessions per game. Georgetown is also a successful NAIA program, and it seems this team may be a good one, good enough to push Pikeville for top NAIA honors this season.

In four of Calipari's first 5 years, his teams have improved significantly between
exhibition #1 and exhibition #2 (last year is the exception). Here are the NGE values posted by each of Calipari's UK teams in their first and second exhibitions as shown in the table. I believe an examination of these exhibition results will reveal a good correlation to how those five earlier UK teams played during their seasons that followed the exhibition games. The average exhibition NGE values have been 0.626 ppp (2010), 0.584 ppp (2011), 0.832 ppp (2012), 0.586 ppp (2013 even with Nerlens loss for last 13), and 0.396 ppp (2014 even with the NCAA Tournament run over the last 6 games). Assuming the quality of exhibition foes have remained relatively consistent, game to game over these 6 seasons, this team will need to beat Georgetown with a NGE of about 0.54 to 0.66 ppp to post a start similar to 2010, 2011, and 2013. However, with the same assumption, this team will need to beat Georgetown in a manner similar to how the 2012 team manhandled Morehouse.

I don't know what will happen on Sunday, but I expect a pace that will resemble a blur. Last week, UK had 80 possessions against Pikeville (UT could only manage 70), and the Cats scored 1.45 points per possession. That is not the highest exhibition offensive efficiency in recent years, but it is right up there with the highest and it is the highest for an exhibition #1 game. This is an offensive juggernaut. They want to get the ball and move to the basket as quickly as humanly possible. If that is Georgetown's goal as well, we could see 90 to 100 possessions on Sunday. Can you image a game played at 95 possessions, with UK scoring at a rate of 1.45 ppp while shutting down the Georgetown offense with a defense that holds them to less than 0.5 ppp? A final score of in the range of 138-48? That would be Morehouse type (125-40).

I believe Georgetown will be several levels stronger than Morehouse, indeed most of the exhibition 2 opponents during the Calipari years (Clarion, Dillard, Morehouse, Transy, and Montavallo. My guess for Sunday is a resounding UK win, 123-60, in a game played with 85 possessions.

By 9 pm, we will know a little more about the 2014-15 UK basketball team.

Game Summary:

For the second preseason exhibition game, Coach Calipari has decided keep the platoons the same as he used against Pikeville last Sunday. However, “tinker” might be the rule rather than the exception as Coach Calipari learns how to use the Platoon approach. Tonight, the first unit will include the Platoon system with Willie Cauley-Stein, Karl-Anthony Towns, Alex Poythress, Aaron Harrison, and Andrew Harrison on the Opening Platoon. Trey Lyles, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Devin Booker, and Tyler Ulis are the five members of the Closing Platoon. Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis, and E. J. Floreal will provide reserve help to the platoons should injury or fouls become an issue during the game.

The Cats control the opening tip once again. Just as they did last game, the Cats' missed their first shot, a corner 3 point attempt by Aaron Harrison. After a miss, a UK turnover, Georgetown draws first blood by breaking the UK press. The Cats pull even with a pair of free throws, and after Willie Cauley-Stein makes one of two free throws, Aaron Harrison makes the Cats' first basket of the game from 10 feet in the lane to move on top 5-2 at the under 16 media timeout. The second platoon comes in and runs off 9 quick unanswered points while forcing 3 Georgetown turnovers, forcing a Tiger timeout with 13:34. The Cats extend their lead to 16-2 before Georgetown scores the last 5 points of the segment to pull within 9 points, 16-7 at the under 12 media timeout.

The first platoon managed 5 points on 8 possession and the second platoon posted 11 points on 10 possessions. Defensively, the first group started at 0.25 ppp while the second started at 0.55 ppp. Back to the first group after the under 12 media timeout with 11:44 remaining. In the third segment, the Cats score 16 straight points while not allowing Georgetown to score forcing another Georgetown timeout with 8:06 remaining, and the Cats on top 32-7. Coach Calipari moves back to Platoon 2 at this timeout. The first platoon scored 16 points on 9 possessions, for a total of 21 on 17, while yielding only 2 points on 17 possessions.

Georgetown breaks their scoring draught with a second chance 3 pointer out of the timeout, and Devin Booker answers with another 3 pointer of his own, his second of the night. However, the second group's defense abandons them over the rest of the segment until Georgetown's 3 rd 3 pointer of the segment forced a UK timeout with 3:42, and the score 43-30. The first platoon returns to the floor. In that fourth segment, Platoon 2 scorre 11 points on 8 possession but allowed 13 points on 9 possessions, bringing their two segment totals to 22 points on 18 possessions, and allowing 16 points on 18 possessions.

The Cats finish the final segment of the first half very well, taking a 60-24 lead to the locker room. The first Platoon scored 17 points in 9 possessions in the final segment while holding Georgetown to 4 points on 9 possessions. For their 3 segments of the first half, the first platoon scored 38 points on 26 possessions (1.46 ppp), and limited Georgetown to 6 points on 26 possessions (0.23 ppp). The second platoon scored 22 points on 18 possessions (1.22 ppp) while allowing 18 points on 18 possessions (1.00 ppp).

In the first half, the Cats scored 60 points on 44 possessions (1.364 ppp) and Georgetown scored its 24 points on 44 possessions (0.545 ppp). The Cats shot 54.3% overall (12-19 from inside the arc and 7-16 from beyond the arc) while Georgetown made on 4 of 20 shots inside the arc (20.0%) and 4 of 14 (28.6%) from beyond the arc. The Cats got to the line 18 times, making 15 (83.3%) and Georgetown made 4-7 (57.1%)

The Cats controlled the boards, 30-14 overall, and 8-4 on the offensive glass. The Cats used their 8 offensive rebounds to score 14 second chance points while Georgetown managed 3 second chance points from their 4 offensive rebounds. The Cats grabbed 44.4% of their misses while Georgetown managed to reclaim on 15.4% of its missed shots.

Second Half:

Platoon 2 opens the second half. The second platoon comes out strong in the second half, outscoring Georgetown 14-2 on just 8 possessions to take a 74-26 lead at the under 16 media timeout. The second platoon now has 36 points on 26 possessions while allowing 20 points on 26 possessions.

In the second segment, the first platoon put 18 more on the board while giving up 8 points to Georgetown on 8 possessions, but Willie Cauley-Stein will have a free throw after the timeout to add a point to the platoon's work and complete the 3 point play. The first platoon has now scored 56 points on 34 possessions while yielding 14 points on the same 34 possessions.

Willie Cauley-Stein missed his free throw, and the Cats and only 1 point to the margin in the segment, scoring 8 points on 5 possessions, and yielding 7 points on 6 possessions. Georgetown will have a free throw after the under 8 media timeout. The second platoon's numbers for the game is now 44 points in 34 possessions while allowing 27 points on 34 possessions. In that segment, Derek Willis entered the game for Marcus Lee. Hawkins had spelled Andrew Harrison on the first platoon when Andrew Harrison picked up his 3 rd foul in the first half. Andrew Harrison fouled out with 7 to play.

With 5:02 to play, Coach Calipari cleared his bench with score 110-46. The final score is 121-52.


UK scored its 121 points in a total of 81 possessions for the game, and Georgetown scored its 52 points on a total of 82 possessions.

Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 55-25, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 14-8. Kentucky used its 14 second chance possessions to score 22 second chance points, winning the second chance points battle 2-7 Georgetown had an offensive efficiency of 0.548 ppp on its 82 first chance possessions and 0.885 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 1.222 ppp on its 81 first chance possessions and 1.571 ppp on its 14 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 45.2%of its misses as offensive rebounds while Georgetown was able to convert an anemic 16.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 17-25 [68.0%]. Georgetown made 8-15 [53.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 46-72 overall [63.9%] and 12-27 from long range [44.4%]. For Georgetown, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a low 13-46 [28.3%] and from long range, Georgetown hit 6-21 [28.6%].

The Cats committed 12 turnovers, one for every 6.8 possessions. The Cats forced 16 Georgetown turnovers, one for every 5.1 possessions.

The platoon approach was interesting, if nothing else. Coach Calipari stayed with the basic platoons for the first 8 segments, 4 segments for each platoon. The last 8 minutes allowed Coach Calipari to empty his bench. The first platoon's 4 segments saw them score 56 points on 34 possessions (1.65 ppp) while yielding 14 points on the same 34 possessions (0.411 ppp) and a platoon NGE of 1.24 ppp. The second platoon scored 44 points in 34 possessions (1.294 ppp) while allowing 27 points on 34 possessions (0.794 ppp) for a platoon NGE of 0.500 ppp.

Next Game On Schedule: Friday night, again at Rupp Arena, the Cats will take on Grand Canyon in the first regular season game of the 2014-15 season

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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