BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2014-15 Season Analytical Writings
On Saturday, Cincinnati turned a basketball game into a street fight in an attempt to find some way to derail the Big Blue Express that is on track to plow through any obstructions that happen to clutter its path to the nineth national championship, and the second of the John Calipari Era. It was clear that Cincinnati does not have the basketball talent to compete with this Destruction of Wildcats. The most joyous moment for the Bearcats occurred in the second half when their thug in chief found great personal pleasure after goading Aaron Harrison into a retaliatory shove that delivered a pair of technical free throws to the Bearcats' cause.
However, at the end of the day, the Cats did not just survive this street fight, they led by an overwhelming 19 points (62-43) with about 2 minutes remaining when Coach Calipari pulled his main players and emptied his bench. Cincinnati's miserable season ended there and the Wildcats move their train up the tracks to Cleveland where another larger street fight has been promised by its coach. Consider that the Mountaineers advanced to Cleveland by overpowering a bunch of turtles in a similar fashion that Cincinnati attempted to use against the Cats. At one critical point, an illegal pick by WVa's thug in chief sent the Maryland point guard to the floor, head first. Game, set, match for the Mountaineers.
What the talking heads don't seem to understand is that Cincinnati was not the first set of thugs these Cats have overcome in their attempts to turn a basketball game into a street fight. This list begins each year with Louisville, but it does not end there because several SEC teams have determined that is the only way they can remain on the floor with the Cats. This list includes Georgia, Arkansas, Florida, and Tennessee. It is doubtful that the Huggie Bear brand of Thuggery will the last that the Cats will encounter.
Isn't it amazing how quickly this tournament eliminates the pretenders as it reduces the field from the 68 teams the NCAA selects the previous Sunday evening to only 16 teams over the course of 1 week. The preliminaries are over, and the real tournament can begin. The Cats are now only 4 wins away from achieving what the vast majority of “experts” determined was impossible, and insisted such as recently as early February on broadcast after broadcast. The entire nation is focused on the journey, hoping against hope that someone can derail this express. The number of viewers for the UK games are setting new records for viewers. Only those in the Big Blue Nation are watching to see this team achieve the impossible. Nearly everyone else is turning in to see if the Destruction of Wildcats can be destroyed. With each added win on this final journey, the intensity of interest in seeing the Cats stopped will grow exponentially.
West Virginia has played 6 times this season against opponents that appeared on the Kentucky schedule.
In addition, WVa lost 3 of their last 4 games leading into this NCAA Tournament including two losses to first round loser Baylor.
WEST VIRGINIA's Mountaineers have played 34 games at an average tempo of about 70 possessions per game, scoring 73.6 ppg (1.050 ppp) and allowing an average 66.5 ppg (0.947 ppp). WEST VIRGINIA has turned the ball over on 18.5% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 28.4% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, WEST VIRGINIA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 40.6%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 69.2%.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 65 possessions per game, producing 74.7 ppg (1.142 ppp) and allowing 53.9 ppg (0.828 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 16.2% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 21.4% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 40.0% and 68.5% on the offensive and defensive ends.
The Mountaineers' schedule strength stands at 0.6950 (#21), and the Cats' schedule strength is 0.6536 (#47).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of KENTWVAKY by 14 points, 74-60 in a game played at a pace of 68 possessions for the Cats and 68 possessions for WEST VIRGINIA. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 13 points, 75-62 at a pace of 67 possessions. Vegas has set this game at Kentucky -13 1/2.
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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, but the initial possession ends after the officials take immediate control of the game calling a touch foul on WVa and a charging foul on Karl Anthony Towns. WVa also turned the ball over on its first possession. Andrew Harrison breaks the scoring ice with a layup, and after Staten ties the score with a jump shot, Trey Lyles makes a drive to the basket, and Aaron Harrison drains a 3 pointer to put the Cats on top early, 7-2, prompting a WVa timeout with 16:33 remaining in the first half.
Out of the timeout, WVa commits a turnover and misses their only shot while the Cats turn the ball over twice, taking the game to the under 16 media timeout with the score remaining 7-2 and the Mountaineers in possession. Each team has committed 3 early turnovers. The Cats have made 3 of their first 6 shots, while WVa has only made 1 of 4 shots. Neither team has been to the stripe, but WVa has been whistled for 5 fouls in the first 4 minutes and the Cats 2, one on Karl Anthony Towns and one on Aaron Harrison, both offensive. After the timeout, Aaron Harrison drains his second 3 pointer, and when the Cats break the press, Devin Booker gets a fast break layup to put the Cats up 14-2, and Bob Huggins takes another timeout with 13:39 remaining in the game.
After the timeout, the Cats add a pair of free throws, and a lob slam dunk by Marcus Lee with the assist to Tyler Ulis. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats lead 18-2 with 11:50 left in the first half. In the third segment, WVa hit their first two shots of the segment to score 4 consecutive points, trimming the lead from 16 to 12, 18-6. However, the Cats finished the segment with a 12-3 run to lead by 21, 30-9, at the under 8 media timeout with 7:36 remaining in the first half. In the fourth segment, the game becomes a free throw shooting contest. The Mountaineers were awarded 8 attempts, and they made 6. The Cats had a 3 pointer by Devin Booker, and 4 free throws, making 3 to maintain the lead at 21 points, 36-15, at the under 4 media timeout. Andrew Harrison will have a pair of free throws after this final media timeout of the first half. The Cats finish the half strong to lead by 26 points, 44-18.
The first half was played at a pace of 32 possessions (64 game pace). The Cats scored its 44 points on 32 possessions (1.38 ppp) and WEST VIRGINIA scored 18 points on 32 possessions (0.56 ppp). The Cats shot well in the first half making 14-23 (60.9%) overall and 4-7 (57.1%) from outside the arc. WEST VIRGINIA shot poorly for the half, making 4-18 (22.2%) inside the arc, and the Mountaineers were 1-8 (12.5%) shooting the ball from outside the arc. From the line, UK made 12-14 (85.7%) while WEST VIRGINIA made 7 of 10 (70.0%). Kentucky won the battle of the boards in the first half, out rebounding the Mountaineers 20-14 overall. WVa won the offensive rebounds 8-3, but the Cats won the battle of second chance points, 4-0.
The Cats committed 5 turnovers (15.6% of possessions) and forced 7 WEST VIRGINIA turnovers (21.9% of possessions).
WVa opens the second half with a trip to the line where they miss the first and make the second, and the Cats then add a pair of baskets to lead 48-19. However, Aaron Harrison sustained a dislocated little finger on his left hand and had to leave the game, and Karl Anthony Towns picked up his third and fourth fouls in the opening minutes and had to sit. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats lead stands at 35 points, 54-19.
At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats continue to dominate by 36 points, 66-30. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats lead by 38, 74-36 with 3:19 remaining in the game, and the Cats in possession of the ball.
The final score is 78-39, and advance to the Midwest Regional Final (Elite 8) in Cleveland on Saturday evening against Notre Dame with a perfect 37-0 record. At 37-0, the Cats now claim the longest winning streak in a single season in NCAA history. Another page of the record book that this team has rewritten.
UK scored its 78 points in 65 possessions (1.200 ppp) for the game, and WEST VIRGINIA scored its 39 points on 65 possessions (0.600 ppp).
Kentucky won the rebounding battle 44-32, and West Virginia won the offensive rebounding 13-11. The Wildcats won the second chance point battle 15-6. WEST VIRGINIA had an offensive efficiency of 0.508 ppp on its 65 first chance possessions and 0.462 ppp for its 13 second chance possessions. UK had 0.969 ppp on its 65 first chance possessions and 1.364 ppp on its 11-second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 39.8% of its misses as offensive rebounds while WEST VIRGINIA was able to convert 31.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 26-32 [81.3%]. WEST VIRGINIA made 11-19 [57.9%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 24-50 overall [48.0%] and 4-15 from long range [26.7%]. For WEST VIRGINIA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 11-39 [28.2%] and from long range, WEST VIRGINIA hit 2-15 [13.3%].
The Cats committed 10 turnovers, one for every 6.5 possessions. The Cats forced 13 WEST VIRGINIA turnovers, one for every 5.0 possessions.Next Game On Schedule: Saturday evening in the NCAA Elite 8 against Notre Dame.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks