2014-15 Season Analytical Writings

Hogs and Cats Will Face Off For SEC Championship

Auburn's carriage finally turned to a pumpkin, and the Cats were sure to let the Tigers know their midnight had arrived before the first media timeout of the game on Saturday. Arkansas took care of business in the second semifinal game on Saturday and sent Georgia on its way home.

Following the Kentucky win, and before the Hogs even took the floor to prepare for their game against Georgia, Hog players were trash talking to the Wildcats as the Cats were heading back to their locker room to prepare for tomorrow's game. Then after the Hogs defeated Georgia, the Hog players once again were full of trash in their mouths. Seems the same Hogs were spewing the same trash before their trip to Rupp last month. The Cats beat them down to a 31 point deficit before coasting to the finish in their 17 point defeat of the trash talking Hogs.

Talk is cheap.

In the first meeting, the Cats claimed their 46 th regular season SEC Championship. On Sunday, the Cats will lay claim to their 27 th SEC Tournament Championship. Fitting rewards for putting these trash talking Hogs in their place.

ARKANSAS's Hogs have played 33 games at an average tempo of about 72 possessions per game, scoring 79.0 ppg (1.10 ppp) and allowing an average 70.5 ppg (0.98 ppp). ARKANSAS has turned the ball over on 16.3% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 22.6% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, ARKANSAS has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 35.6%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 66.6%.

In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 65 possessions per game, producing 74.8 ppg (1.14 ppp) and allowing 53.7 ppg (0.83 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 16.1% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 21.7% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 40.2% and 68.5% on the offensive and defensive ends.

The Hogs ' schedule strength stands at 0.6246 (#71), and the Cats' schedule strength is 0.6637 (#44).

Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of KENTUCKY by 15 points, 77-62 in a game played at a pace of 69 possessions for the Cats and 68 possessions for ARKANSAS . Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 13 points, 78-65 at a pace of 69 possessions. Vegas has opened with a 13 1/2 point line in favor of the Cats, and the Vegas line jumped to 14 points almost as soon as the 13 ½ line appeared.

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.

The Cats control the opening tip, and after an early foul by Arkansas, Andrew Harrison drains a 3 pointer. Following an Arkansas turnover, Willie Cauley Stein makes a pair of free throws, and Andrew Harrison makes his second 3 pointer to lift the Cats to an early 8-0 lead and an Arkansas timeout. Following the timeout, the Hogs score 5 straight on a second chance 3 pointer and a layup following a UK turnover. At the under 16 media timeout, the Cats have the ball holding a 10-7 lead. In the second segment, Portis ties the game with a 3 pointer, the second by the Hogs, at 10-10, and after ties at 12, and 14, Devin Booker drains his first 3 pointer, the Cats' third, to give the Cats another 3 point lead. At the end of the segment, Portis lost the ball out of bounds on a turnover at the under 12 media timeout.

In the third segment, the Hogs pull even at 19-19 but the Cats run off the next 6 points, and 9 of the next 11 points to move out by 7, 28-21, at the under 8 media timeout. At the end of the segment, Karl Anthony Towns committed his second foul and will have to sit the last 7:22 of the first half of this game. Andrew Harrison also is on the bench with two fouls. So far, the Cats have been whistled for 6 fouls against only 4 on the Hogs. However, there have been several Hog fouls uncalled that allowed the Hogs to retain possession after a missed shot.

In the 4 th segment, the Cats outscored the Hogs 7-2 in 5 possessions to extend their 7 point lead to 12, 35-23 at the under 4 media timeout. After the break, Portis will be at the line. Portis makes 1 of 2 from the line. The Cats add 4 more points to their margin to take a 16 point halftime lead, 41-25.

The first half was played at a pace of 31 possessions (62 game pace). The Cats scored its 41 points on 31 possessions (1.32 ppp) and ARKANSAS scored 25 points on 31 possessions (0.806 ppp). The Cats shot well in the first half making 14-27 (51.9%) overall and 5-9 (55.5%) from outside the arc. ARKANSAS shot poorly for the half, making 6-21 (28.6%) inside the arc, and the Hogs were 3-9 (33.3%) shooting the ball from outside the arc. From the line, UK made 8-8 (100.0%) while ARKANSAS made 4-7 (57.1%). Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half, out rebounding the Hogs 22-14 overall. The Hogs won the offensive rebounds 8-7, and the Hogs won the battle of second chance points, 12-7.

The Cats committed 7 turnovers (22.6% of possessions) and forced 5 ARKANSAS turnovers (16.1% of possessions).

In their first meeting, at Rupp Arena, the first half was played at a faster pace, 36 to 37 possessions, and the Cats led on that day by 16, 42-26. In the second half, the Cats expanded that lead to a game high 31 points with just over 8 minutes remaining, before coasting to the final buzzer for the 17 point win. The Hogs' apparent ability to close that 31 point game to 17 points over 8 minutes gave the Hogs a false sense of hope about their real ability to compete with these Cats. Thus, the likely source of their trash mouth talk yesterday afternoon. The Cats should have known that with Hogs, you do not have mercy, but maintain the destruction of Cats that this team will be forever remembered for.

Second Half:

Arkansas opens the second half with a turnover, but after a missed shot, Andrew Harrison commits his 3 rd foul of the game. Andrew Harrison goes to the bench for Devin Booker. The Hogs score, and Devin Booker turns the ball over. Aaron Harrison enters the game for Devin Booker. Karl Anthony Towns fouls Portis, his 3 rd foul. Dakari Johnson replaces Karl Anthony Towns. Over the balance of the segment, the Cats score 5 points to 7 for the Hogs, as the Hogs trim the UK lead to 14 points, 46-32, at the under 16 media timeout, with the Cats in possession. Towns returned to the game, and immediately committed his 4 th foul. In the second segment, the Hogs trim another 5 points from the lead, getting within 9 points at 48-39 at the under 12 media timeout. At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats had reasserted themselves, and pushed the lead back to the halftime margin, 16 points, 63-47 with 7:17 remaining in the game. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats lead was 19 points, 69-50, with Willie Cauley Stein set to take a pair of free throws when play resumes.

Cats win 78-63.


UK scored its 78 points in 62 possessions (1.258 ppp) for the game, and ARKANSAS scored its 63 points on 62 possessions (1.016 ppp).

Kentucky won the rebounding battle 33-25, but ARKANSAS and UK battled on even terms on the offensive rebounding 13-13. The Hogs won the second chance point battle 15-14. ARKANSAS had an offensive efficiency of 0.774 ppp on its 62 first chance possessions and 1.154 ppp for its 13 second chance possessions. UK had 1.032 ppp on its 62 first chance possessions and 1.077 ppp on its 13-second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 52.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while ARKANSAS was able to convert 39.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 21-27 [77.8%]. ARKANSAS made 11-17 [64.7%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 25-49 overall [51.0%] and 7-12 from long range [58.3%]. For ARKANSAS , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 20-41 [48.8%] and from long range, ARKANSAS hit 4-13 [30.8%].

The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 4.8 possessions. The Cats forced 12 ARKANSAS turnovers, one for every 5.2 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against an opponent to be determined Sunday evening when the NCAA announces the tournament seedings.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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