BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2014-15 Season Analytical Writings
The calendar has not even turned to February yet, but this Thursday-Saturday scheduling has a feel of March. It is not March; March will be here in due course. Today, these Cats have moved into rare company as the only SEC team to start a season 20-0 since Rupp's Runts ran off their first 23 games. Before January ends, these Cats have work remaining to add another digit to that 20.
On Saturday, Alabama will come into Rupp Arena, and their entire purpose will be to make their mark in the world of college basketball by spoiling the unbeaten dreams of these Cats. That will be their sole purpose for playing, and the Cats should expect nothing but the very strongest effort from the Crimson Tide.
The Tide fell victim to the Cats in Tuscaloosa two weeks ago by 22 points, 70-48, and Alabama has been reeling out of control losing 4 of their last 5 SEC games, only beating #152 Auburn by 2 in Tuscaloosa. However, their SEC losses have been no embarrassment, at #51 South Carolina by 2, at #43 Arkansas by 2 in OT, and to #35 Florida by 2 this past Tuesday. The Tide's record now stands at 13-7, 3-4 in the SEC.
ALABAMA has played its first 20 games at an average tempo of about 65 possessions per game, scoring 68.5 ppg (1.051 ppp) and allowing an average 63.9 ppg (0.981 ppp). ALABAMA has turned the ball over on 19.5% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 21.0% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, ALABAMA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 30.2%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 67.0%.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 65 to 66 possessions per game, producing 74.3 ppg (1.13 ppp) and allowing 50.5 ppg (0.77 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 17.3% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 23.8% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 42.6% and 66.8% on the offensive and defensive ends.
The Crimson Tide' schedule strength stands at 0.6240 (#37), and the Cats' schedule strength is 0.6381 (#27).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of KENTUCKY by 25 points, 77-52 in a game played at a pace of 65 possessions for the Cats and 65 possessions for ALABAMA. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 17 points, 67-50 at a pace of 61 possessions. The March towards March in Search of Perfection will continue Saturday evening at 7 PM in Rupp Arena.
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The starting players for the ALABAMA game are Willie Cauley-Stein,, Karl-Anthony Towns, Dominique Hawkins, Aaron Harrison, and Andrew Harrison. Platoon 2 consists of Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Dominique Hawkins, Devin Booker, and Tyler Ulis. Trey Lyles is not available for this game due to a personal illness. 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 10th or 11 th players.
Karl-Anthony Towns controls the tip, but the Cats can't corral it before it goes out of bounds, giving Alabama the first possession. Although the Tide's first possession was shakey, includes 3 bobbled passes, they managed to score on a 12 foot jumpshot from the baseline. The first two trips, the Cats went deep to Karl-Anthony Towns, who made a left hand hook and a fall away jumper on the baseline. Following an Alabama miss, Aaron Harrison hit a 3 pointer from the corner drawing a quick Alabama timeout after only 90 seconds. On Alabama's first possession after the timeout, the officials awarded the Tide 3 free throws on a 3 point “shot” attempt with 2 seconds remaining on the shot clock, a 3 point gift, and enough to trim the UK early lead to 7-5, which is where it remains at the under 16 media timeout with Alabama in possession.
In the second segment, the Cats run off 8 straight to go on top 15-5 before Alabama drives into the lane for a jump shot basket to trim the lead to 8 points, 15-7 at the under 12 media timeout. The Cats will have the ball after the media timeout with 11:05 remaining in the first half. After the timeout, the Cats go inside to Karl-Anthony Towns who scores, and following another Alabama turnover, tyler Ulis hit a 3 pointer in transition, drawing Alabama's second timeout with 10:17 remaining in the half.
In the third segment, the Cats used 3-3 shooting, 4-4 from the line, and 3 Alabama turnovers out of 6 possessions to extend their lead to 16 points, 26-10 at the under 8 media timeout. When play resumes with 7:27 remaining, the Cats will have the ball. In the fourth segment, the Tide made 3 of 6 of their shots, and trimmed 1 point from the UK lead, to trail by 15, 32-17, at the under 4 media timeout with 3:34 remaining, and the Tide in possession of the ball.
The Cats allow the Tide to trim 2 more points from the lead down to only 13 points, 37-24 at the half.
The first half was played at a pace of 27 possessions (54 game pace). The Cats scored its 37 points on 27 possessions (1.37 ppp) and ALABAMA scored 24 points on 27 possessions (0.89 ppp). The Cats shot well in the first half making 13-23 (56.5%) overall and 3-9 (33.3%) from outside the arc. ALABAMA shot well for the half, making 7-12 (58.3%) inside the arc, and the Crimson Tide were 1-6 (16.7%) shooting the ball from outside the arc. From the line, UK made 8-11 (72.7%) while ALABAMA made 7-10 (70.0%). Alabama won the battle of the boards in the first half, out rebounding the Cats 14-10 overall. The Cats managed to grab 3 offensive rebounds to 5 for the Crimson Tide. Each team scored 2 second chance points in the first half. The Cats managed to get 25.0% of its misses, while ALABAMA grabbed 41.7% of its misses.
The Cats committed 2 turnovers (7.4%) and forced 10 ALABAMA turnovers (37.0%).
Alabama opens play in the second half, and manages to score 7 points on its 6 possessions of the first segment. However, the Cats use 4-5 shooting and a pair of free throws by Dakari Johnson to score 12 on their 5 possessions to stretch the lead to 18 points, 49-31, at the under 16 media timeout, and the Cats will have the ball after the timeout. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats lead stands at 15, 55-40, with 11:28 remaining in the game, and Dakari Johnson set for a pair of free throws after the break. In the third segment, the Cats managed to add one point back to their lead, but Karl-Anthony Towns fouled out of the game sending the game to the under 8 media timeout with 7:22 remaining. Alabama will have a pair of free throws after the break, down 17, 62-45.
At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats lead stands at 15 points,66-51, and Willie Cauley-Stein will have a pair of free throws after the timeout. The Cats win 70-55.
UK scored its 70 points in 52 possessions (1.35 ppp) for the game, and ALABAMA scored its 55 points on 54 possessions (1.02 ppp).
Alabama won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 21-26, and the Tide won the battle for the offensive rebounds 5-8. ‘BAMA won the second chance points 8-9. ALABAMA had an offensive efficiency of 0.852ppp on its 54 first chance possessions and 1.125 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 1.192 ppp on its 52 first chance possessions and 1.600 ppp on its 5-second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a weak 21.7% of its misses as offensive rebounds while ALABAMA was able to convert 33.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 15-23 [65.2%]. ALABAMA made 17-25 [68.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 24-41 overall [58.5%] and 7-15 from long range [46.7%]. For ALABAMA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 13-21 [61.9%] and from long range, ALABAMA hit 4-16 [25.0%].
The Cats committed 5 turnovers, one for every 10.4 possessions. The Cats forced 13 ALABAMA turnovers, one for every 4.2 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening, February 3, 2015 against Georgia in the 9 th SEC game of the 2015 season at Rupp Arena.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks