2014-15 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Open Post Season Against Florida

Just five days ago, the Kentucky Wildcats finished their perfect regular season against the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena. The Basketball gods have an unusual sense of humor and they are laughing openly about the Cats having to face the very same Gators in their first post season appearance.

The Cats and Gators have already played twice, Cats winning by 7 in Gainesville and by 18 last week at Rupp. Not much more that can be said other than these teams know each other quite well. The only thing that has changed is the Gators have played one post season game to earn the right to advance into Friday's quarterfinal round against the Cats. The Gators beat Alabama by 8, 69-61.

FLORIDA's Gators have played 32 games at an average tempo of about 64 possessions per game, scoring 64.1 ppg (1.00 ppp) and allowing an average 59.9 ppg (0.94 ppp). FLORIDA has turned the ball over on 19.5% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 21.7% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, FLORIDA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 31.6%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 71.4%.

In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 65 to 66 possessions per game, producing 74.6 ppg (1.14 ppp) and allowing 53.4 ppg (0.82 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 16.3% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 22.2% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 40.3% and 68.2% on the offensive and defensive ends.

The Gato rs' schedule strength stands at 0.7264 (#7), and the Cats' schedule strength is 0.6644 (#42).

Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of KENTUCKY by 16 points, 71-55 in a game played at a pace of 65 possessions for the Cats and 64 possessions for FLORIDA . Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 13 points, 66-53 at a pace of 61 possessions. Vegas has opened with a 13 point line in favor of the Cats.

See how other Big Blue Fans see this game's likely outcome by clicking the following link.

You can enter your prediction at any time prior to tip off by visiting the 247 Sports prediction thread for this game at:

Game Summary:

Coach Calipari starts Trey Lyles, Willie Cauley-Stein,, Karl-Anthony Towns, Aaron Harrison, and Andrew Harrison. Platoon 2 consists of 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.

Karl Anthony Towns controlled the opening tip, and the Cats draw first blood on a jump shot in the lane by Aaron Harrison after each team failed to score on their first possession. Florida answered and scored on their next 5 possessions to move on top of the Cats 10-5 forcing Coach Calipari to take an early timeout. After the timeout, the Cats manage to trim a pair of points off the lead prior to the under 16 media timeout with the Gators in possession and leading 10-7 with 14:41 remaining.

In the second segment, the Gators moved back on top by 5, 12-7, but a pair of free throws by Willie Cauley Stein and a 3 pointer by Andrew Harrison pulled the Cats even with the Gators. That did not last long as Florida made a 3 pointer on their next possession. The Cats ended the segment down 1 point, 15-14 at the under 12 media timeout with 11:46 remaining and the Cats in possession. In the third segment, the Cats swap baskets with the Gators to 17-16, and then the Cats score 4 straight to move on top 20-17. Florida stopped the mini-run at the end of the third segment with the Cats in possession at the under 8 media timeout, leading 20-19.

In the 4 th segment, the teams each scored 4 points on 5 possessions as the Cats maintained their slim 1point lead to the under 4 media timeout with 3:32 remaining in the half. Out of the timeout, Devin Booker scores his first points of the day after a shaky start, but the Gators have an answer at the other end. The Cats manage to extend their lead to 4 points at the half, 31-27.

The first half was played at a pace of 30 possessions (60 game pace). The Cats scored its 31 points on 30 possessions (1.03 ppp) and FLORIDA scored 27 points on 30 possessions (0.900 ppp). The Cats shot poorly in the first half making 12-33 (36.4%) overall and 1-6 (16.7%) from outside the arc. FLORIDA shot well for the half, making 12-22 (54.5%) inside the arc, and the Gators were 1-6(16.7%) shooting the ball from outside the arc. From the line, UK made 6-8 (75.0%) while FLORIDA made 0-1 (0.0%). Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half, out rebounding the Gators 20-19 overall. The Cats also won the offensive rebounds 9-5, using them to earn a 7-4 advantage on second chance points.

The Cats committed 2 turnovers (6.7% of possessions) and forced 7 FLORIDA turnovers (23.3% of possessions).

Second Half:

The Gators open the second half trimming the lead to 2 points twice, 31-29 and 33-31, but the Cats score the next 4 points, and force a Gator turnover at the under 16 media timeout to lead by 6, 37-31 and have possession after the timeout. After the timeout, the Cats continue their run by add 5 more to the 4 they ended the last segment, forcing Florida to take a timeout with 14:03 remaining and the Cats on top by 11, 42-31. The Gators respond with 5 points of their own to trim the 11 point lead to 6 before Karl Anthony Towns stops the Gators' min-run. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats are clinging to a 6 point lead, 44-38, with Willie Cauley Stein set for a pair of free throws after the break.

In the third segment, each team added 6 points on 6 possessions, and the Cats remain on top by 6 points, 50-44 at the under 8 media timeout, with 7:45 remaining in the game. The Gators will have the ball after the timeout. In the 4 th segment, the Cats outscored the Gators 12-3 to extend their lead from a delicate 6 to a commanding 15 points, 62-47, at the under 4 media timeout with 3:41 remaining in the game and the Gators in possession. The dagger was delivered by Tyler Ulis with a deep 3 pointer at the end of a shot clock that the Cats run to the maximum extent.

The Cats win 64-49.


UK scored its 64 points in 58 possessions (1.103 ppp) for the game, and FLORIDA scored its 49 points on 59 possessions (0.831 ppp).

Kentucky won the rebounding battle 39-31, and Kentucky won the offensive rebounding 16-11. The Cats also won the second chance point battle 12-6. FLORIDA had an offensive efficiency of 0.729 ppp on its 59 first chance possessions and 0.546 ppp for its 11 second chance possessions. UK had 0.900 ppp on its 58 first chance possessions and 0.750 ppp on its 16-second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 42.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while FLORIDA was able to convert 32.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 19-23 [82.6%]. FLORIDA made 3-5[60.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 21-56 overall [37.5%] and 3-10 from long range [30.0%]. For FLORIDA , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 20-45 [44.4%] and from long range, FLORIDA hit 2-11 [18.2%].

The Cats committed 7 turnovers, one for every 8.3 possessions. The Cats forced 12 FLORIDA turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon, March 14, 2015 against the winner of a quarterfinal round game in the SEC Tournament between Auburn and LSU at 1 pm in Nashville.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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