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2014-15 Season Analytical Writings
The 2014-15 basketball season will cross its mid-point for the Cats on Tuesday night when Missouri comes calling for the 16 th game of a 31 game regular season, and the third SEC game of what is proving to be a grueling SEC race. However, a survey of the basketball landscape indicates that the difficulties this UK team has experienced in its first two SEC games are not limited to the Cats. Virginia needed two overtimes to avoid an upset at Miami of Florida, and Duke fell victim at North Carolina State on Sunday, falling from the ranks of the unbeatens.
It is Sunday afternoon, January 11, and the good news is there are only two unbeaten teams still standing. UK is one of the two. The bad news is the Cats have been battered in the last two games. The good news is this team has been good enough to withstand the disappearance of their interior game that dominated 13 non-conference opponents, and find a way to get both wins. The bad news is the team has not been playing the way Coach Calipari wants. The good news is Coach Calipari has 2 more days before classes begin at UK for the Spring Semester, and a weak Missouri team coming to Rupp for the next game. The bad news is their game next Saturday will be at Alabama, a team that is the antithesis of struggling, having beaten Texas A&M by 21 and Tennessee by 18 on the road. The Cats simply must use the next few days, and their game against Missouri to find its misplaced interior game, both offense and defense.
Coach Calipari indicated today would be an off day, for healing, before attending to the work at hand for the visit by Missouri and next weekend's trip to Tuscaloosa.
The Cats and Tigers do not have a common non-conference opponent. The Tigers finished their non-conference schedule with a 6-7 record. The Tigers' best wins have been by 15 over #83 Valparaiso and by 7 over #60 LSU in overtime in their SEC opener last week. Missouri's most perplexing loss was by 8 to #296 Missouri- Kansas City in the season opener. However, the Missouri Tigers lost to #136 Auburn in their second SEC game yesterday, negating the benefits of their opening win over LSU. Missouri's non-conference schedule has a strength of 0.5958 (#75), and the Tigers schedule strength after the first week of SEC play stands at 0.6062 (#40).
MISSOURI has played its first 15 games at an average tempo of about 63 possessions per game, scoring 61.9 ppg (0.965 ppp) and allowing an average 64.4 ppg (1.029 ppp). MISSOURI has turned the ball over on 19.9% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 18.8% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, MISSOURI has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 29.4%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 67.5%.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 66 to 67 possessions per game, producing 75.9 ppg (1.13 ppp) and allowing 51.5 ppg (0.77 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 17.3% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 24.1% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 44.4% and 66.1% on the offensive and defensive ends. The Cats' non-conference schedule has a strength of 0.5837(#88) and the Cats' schedule strength after the first week of SEC play stands at 0.6129 (#37).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of KENTUCKY by 33 points, 80-47 in a game played at a pace of 65 possessions for the Cats and 65 possessions for MISSOURI. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 23 points, 74-51 at a pace of 62 possessions. The March towards March in Search of Perfection will continue Tuesday night at Rupp Arena against Missouri.
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The starting players for the MISSOURI game are Willie Cauley-Stein,, Karl-Anthony Towns, Dominique Hawkins, Aaron Harrison, and Andrew Harrison. Platoon 2 consists of Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Trey Lyles, Devin Booker, and Tyler Ulis. Coach Calipari has decided that he needs to return to the full platoon system. Derek Willis, and E. J. Floreal to provide deep reserve help should the game require or permit Coach Calipari to go to his 11 th or 12 th players.
I missed the first half due to a business commitment. The Cats lead the Tigers at the half 44-18.
The first half was played at a pace of 30 possessions (60 game pace). The Cats scored its 44 points on 30 possessions (1.47 ppp) and MISSOURI scored 18 points on 29 possessions (0.62 ppp). The Cats shot well in the first half making 14-28 (50.0%) overall and 4-9 (44.4%) from outside the arc. MISSOURI shot poorly for the half, making 9-24 (37.5%) inside the arc, and the Tigers were 0-5(0.0%) shooting the ball from outside the arc. From the line, UK made 10-15 (66.7%) while MISSOURI made 0-0 (0.0%). Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half, out rebounding MISSOURI 22-13 overall. Kentucky also managed to grab 10 offensive rebounds to only 7 for the Tigers. I do not know the second chance points for the first half. The Cats managed to get 62.5% of its misses, while MISSOURI grabbed 36.8% of its misses.
The Cats committed 4 turnovers (13.3%) and forced 7 MISSOURI turnovers (24.1%).
The Cats open the second half with sluggish shooting, making 2 of 7 shots until Coach Calipari pulled the second platoon and sent the first group with the lead 1 point less then they held at the half. The first group then hit their first 3 shots, including a three pointer by Aaron Harrison to extend the lead to 32 points, 57-25. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats lead 67-31 with 10:39 remaining in the game. Cats win by 49 points, 86-37 and move to 16-0; 3-0.
UK scored its 86 points in 62 possessions (1.39 ppp) for the game, and MISSOURI scored its 37 points on 62 possessions (0.60 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 45-27, and the Cats won the battle for the offensive rebounds 16-12. The Cats won the second chance points 25-8. MISSOURI had an offensive efficiency of 0.468 ppp on its 62 first chance possessions and 0.667 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 0.984 ppp on its 62 first chance possessions and 1.563 ppp on its 25-second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a powerful 51.6% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSOURI was able to convert 28.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 24-30 [80.0%]. MISSOURI made 4-8 [50.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 27-56 overall [48.2%] and 8-18 from long range [44.4%]. For MISSOURI, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 15-41 [36.6%] and from long range, MISSOURI hit 1-18 [5.6%].
The Cats committed 8 turnovers, one for every 7.8 possessions. The Cats forced 11 MISSOURI turnovers, one for every 5.6 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon, January 17, 2015 against Alabama in the 4 th SEC game of the 2015 season at Tuscaloosa.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks