2014-15 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Return to Rupp Unbeaten

Twenty-four games are now in the book, and seven regular season games remain on the Cats' schedule. These final seven games will occur in Rupp Arena four times with visits to Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Georgia. The Cats stand unbeaten at 24-0, and only one UK team has ever had a better start to a season than this team. The 1953-54 Cats finished their season without a post season game and a perfect 25-0 record. On Saturday afternoon, this team will play to tie that record that has stood untouched for 61 seasons. South Carolina will come into Rupp Arena intent upon salvaging a rather disappointing season by ending the Cats' winning streak.

This will be a rematch for these teams. The Cats won the first encounter in Columbia, South Carolina 58-43 in a game played at a snail's pace, 57 possessions. Since their loss to Kentucky, South Carolina has only won two games while losing three. The Gamecocks enter Rupp Arena with a 12-11 overall record and only 3-8 in SEC play.

SOUTH CAROLINA has played its first 22 games at an average tempo of about 66 to 67 possessions per game, scoring 66.3 ppg (0.980 ppp) and allowing an average 61.7 ppg (0.914 ppp). SOUTH CAROLINA has turned the ball over on 20.2% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 21.0% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, SOUTH CAROLINA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 35.3%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 71.1%.

In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 65 possessions per game, producing 73.5 ppg (1.13 ppp) and allowing 52.2 ppg (0.807 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 16.9% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 23.2% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 40.9% and 67.1% on the offensive and defensive ends.

The Gamecocks' schedule strength stands at 0.6773 (#21), and the Cats' schedule strength is 0.6735 (#23).

Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of KENTUCKY by 23 points, 75-52 in a game played at a pace of 66 possessions for the Cats and 66 possessions for SOUTH CAROLINA . Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 17 points, 69-52 at a pace of 63 possessions. The Vegas line opened at 19 points in favor of the Cats. The March towards March in Search of Perfection will continue Saturday afternoon at 2 PM at Rupp Arena.

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Game Summary:

Nevertheless, Coach Calipari sticks with the starting players he has used since Trey Lyles illness. for the SOUTH CAROLINA game are Willie Cauley-Stein,, Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles, Aaron Harrison, and Andrew Harrison. Platoon 2 consists of Dominique Hawkins, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Dominique Hawkins, Devin Booker, and Tyler Ulis. Derek Willis, and E. J. Floreal to provide deep reserve help should the game require or permit Coach Calipari to go to his 11th or 12 th players.

Kentucky controls the opening jump ball and goes inside to Karl Anthony Towns for the first score. USC 1-7 shooting coupled with Karl Anthony Towns scoring another basket and a pair of free throws, the Cats ease out to a 6-2 lead at the under 16 media timeout. After the Cats add another 6 quick points to their lead, Coach Martin takes a timeout with the score 12-2. At the end of the second segment, the Cats lead is 18-6 at the under 12 media timeout.

In the third segment, the Cats held USC scoreless while expanding the lead to 20 points, 26-6 before a late basket by USC trimmed the lead to 18 at the under 8 media timeout with the score 26-8. In the fourth segment, the Cats continue with the rout, extending the score to 34-9 on a 3 pointers by Devin Booker, prompting Coach Martin's second timeout with 5:35 remaining. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats lead 36-11.

In the final segment, the Cats complete their domination for an entire half and take a 25 point lead to the locker room, 43-18.

The first half was played at a pace of 30 possessions (60 game pace). The Cats scored its 43 points on 30 possessions (1.43 ppp) and SOUTH CAROLINA scored 18 points on 30 possessions (0.60 ppp). The Cats shot well in the first half making 17-30 (56.7%) overall and 2-5 (40.0%) from outside the arc. SOUTH CAROLINA shot poorly for the half, making 3-12 (25.0%) inside the arc, and the Gamecocks were 2-12 (16.7%) shooting the ball from outside the arc. From the line, UK made 7-8 (87.5%) while SOUTH CAROLINA made 6-8 (75.0%). Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half, out rebounding the Gamecocks 20-10 overall. The Cats also won the offensive glass 7-4 and the second chance points, 10-0.

The Cats committed 4turnovers (13.3% of possessions) and forced 6 SOUTH CAROLINA turnovers (20.0% of possessions).

This was the 6 th most dominant half of the season with an adjusted NGE of 0.83 ppp and the strongest half since the first half against Missouri in Game 16.

Second Half:

The Cats open the second half with a pair of free throws by Andrew Harrison, and add a fast break slam dunk by Willie Cauley Stein to extend their lead to 29 points, 47-18, at the under 16 media timeout. In the first segment, the Cats committed 4 turnovers and had 1-6 shooting, both major shifts from the level of play during the first half. USC was 0-7 and had 1 turnover. The Cats had 8 possessions and USC had 7 possessions, and will have the first possession of the second segment.

In the second segment, the Cats add a pair of points to their lead, which is 31 points at the under 12 media timeout with Trey Lyles prepared to shoot a pair of free throws to add to the 54-23 lead after the timeout.

In the third segment, the Cats allowed USC to trim 4 points off the game high 31 point lead to 60-33 at the under 8 media timeout with 7:13 remaining. After the timeout, the Cats will be shooting a pair of free throws. In the fourth segment, a pair of free throws by Dakari Johnson, 3 pointers by Andrew Harrison and Devin Booker, and a lob dunk by Willie Cauley Stein gave the Cats 10 quick points on only 4 possessions, while USC could not score on its 3 possessions. Coach Martin took another timeout with the Cats on top 70-33 and 5:13 remaining in the game.

At the end of the fourth segment, the Cats lead swells to 39 points, 72-33 at the under 4 media timeout with 3:46 remaining, and the Cats in possession. During the timeout, Coach Calipari inserts Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins into the lineup for the first time. EJ Floreal also makes an appearance for the last 2 minutes, and the Cats win 77-43 to extend their winning streak to a program high 25-0.


UK scored its 77 points in 63 possessions (1.222 ppp) for the game, and SOUTH CAROLINA scored its 43 points on 62 possessions (0.694 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 46-21, and the Cats won the battle for the offensive rebounds 15-10. Kentucky had an eleven (11) point advantage on second chance points, 14-3 SOUTH CAROLINA had an offensive efficiency of 0.645 ppp on its 62 first chance possessions and 0.300 ppp for its 10 second chance possessions. UK had 1.000 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 0.933 ppp on its 15-second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 41.8% of its misses as offensive rebounds while SOUTH CAROLINA was able to convert 33.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 18-24 [75.0%]. SOUTH CAROLINA made 14-17 [82.4%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 27-54 overall [50.0%] and 5-14 from long range [35.7%]. For SOUTH CAROLINA , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 10-35 [28.6%] and from long range, SOUTH CAROLINA hit 3-20 [15.0%].

The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 4.8 possessions. The Cats forced 9 SOUTH CAROLINA turnovers, one for every 6.9 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening, February 17, 2015 against Tennessee in the 13 th SEC game of the 2015 season at Knoxville.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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