2014-15 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Get Final Tune Up Against Kentucky State

On Monday night, the Cats wore their game threads for the first time this season and wasted no time letting NAIA Division II Ottawa University's basketball team that their respective basketball worlds are further apart than the 13-0 run that the Cats used to start their season. From there, the Cats went through the motions that Coach Calipari wanted to see and left an impressive imprint from their first live encounter with an opponent. The 117-58 final score is built on a wealth of impressive statistics, team and individual. The only aspect of that performance that causes any pause about this team is its free throw shooting, 9-18 on the heels of a similar team effort from the line during the Blue-White game the previous week.

Kentucky State is also a Division II program, but the difference will be significant because Kentucky State is NCAA Division II and Ottawa was NAIA Division II. Therefore, the Thoroughbreds will give the Cats a better measure of the progress the team has made and the areas of the Cats' game that requires additional focus prior the their first “real” game next week against Albany. Despite Kentucky State's higher status than Ottawa in the sport's hierarchy, this second exhibition game will still be about the Cats, and the areas needing focus from the players and coaches as the season unfolds.























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Over the previous 6 seasons, the Cats have averaged a 37 point victory over its first exhibition opponent (92-55) and Monday's 59 point margin is the highest for a first Exhibition game of the Calipari era. The raw Net Efficiency Monday was 0.73 points per possession, also a high for first exhibitions. In the six previous second exhibition games, the Calipari teams have averaged a 59 point margin, 109-50 with a raw net efficiency of 0.746 ppp. The improvement from game 1 to game 2 was positive in 5 of these 6 seasons, with only 2013 showing a decline. In the five seasons fitting this pattern of improvement, the improvements have been 0.31 ppp, 0.44 ppp, 0.44 ppp, 0.26 ppp, and 0.22 ppp last year.

All of this history points toward a UK team that will perform at an even higher level on Friday night than it put on display this past Monday.

For these reasons, this game with Kentucky State shapes up to be a 47 point game, 104-57 over NCAA Division II Kentucky State in a game played at a pace of 81 possessions..

Game Summary:

Coach Calipari continues into the second exhibition game with the same starting five, Tyler Ulis, Isaah Briscoe, Jamal Murray, with Marcus Lee and Skal LaBissiere on the front line.

Skal LaBissiere controls the opening tip and the Cats waste no time getting the first basket of the game. Following a pair of missed free throws at the K State end, Jamal Murray drains a 3 pointer to lift the Cats to a quick 5-0 lead. At the under 16 media timeout, the Cats manage to maintain a 4 point lead, 11-7. In the second segment, the Thoroughbreds showed an ability to go toe to toe with the larger, more talented Cats, and managed to go to the under 12 media timeout trailing by 6, 19-13.

In the third segment, the Cats allowed the Thoroughbreds to play with them for most of the segment, but a 3 pointer following an offensive rebound, both by Derek Willis, lifted the Cats to a 12 point lead, 27-15, at the under 8 media timeout. In the fourth segment, the Cats blew this game wide open, out scoring Kentucky State 12-2 to extend the lead from 12 to 22 points, 39-17 at the under 4 media timeout, and Tyler Ulis will have a pair of free throws after the timeout.

In the final segment, the Cats continued its onslaught by outscoring the Thoroughbreds 12-3 to take a 31 point lead to the locker room, 51-20. The Cats, who only led by 4 points, 17-13, just before the under 12 media timeout, outscored the Thoroughbreds 34-7 over the final 13 minutes.

The Cats scored 51 points on 41 possessions, 1.244 points per possession, and Kentucky State managed their 20 points on 40 possessions, 0.500 ppp. The Cats made a solid 56.3% of their first half shots, but only 2-6 from outside the arc. Kentucky State was limited to only 26.5% shooting in the first half, and only managed to make 2 of 9 shots from long range (22.2%) and only 7-25 from inside the arc where the Cats' interior defense was nearly air tight.

The Cats made 13-19 free throws (68%) and Kentucky State managed to make 0-4 free throws.

On the Boards, the Cats controlled the glass 25-21 overall, but Kentucky State managed 8 offensive rebounds to the Cats' 6, the Cats secured 31.6% of their misses and limited Kentucky State to 29.6% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

The Cats open the second half much the way they finished the first half, out scoring Kentucky State 15-4 to extend their lead to 42 points, 66-24 at the under 16 media timeout. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats hold a commanding 76-33 lead. At the 14 minute mark, Coach Calipari went deep into his bench with Mychal Mulder, Isaac Humphries, Charles Matthews, and Derek Willis, sending 4 of his starters to an early rest for the remainder of the game. In the third segment, the Cats extend their lead to 50 points, 92-42 at the under 8 media timeout. Cats finish the game with a 111-58 win over Kentucky State.


UK scored its 111 points in a total of 83 possessions for the game, and Kentucky State scored its 58 points on a total of 81 possessions.

Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 57-35, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 17-15. Kentucky used its 17 second chance possessions to score 21 second chance points, winning the second chance points battle 21-7 Kentucky State had an offensive efficiency of 0.630 ppp on its 81 first chance possessions and 0.467 ppp for its 15 second chance possessions. UK had 1.084 ppp on its 83 first chance possessions and 1.235 ppp on its 17 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 45.9%of its misses as offensive rebounds while Kentucky State was able to convert a respectable 27.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 31-44 [70.5%]. Kentucky State made 12-23 [52.2%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 38-67 overall [56.7%] and 4-15 from long range [26.7%]. For Kentucky State, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a low 14-46 [30.4%] and from long range, Kentucky State hit 6-22 [27.3%].

The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 7.5 possessions. The Cats forced 17 Kentucky State turnovers, one for every 4.8 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Friday night, again at Rupp Arena, the Cats will take on Albany in the first regular season game of the 2015-16 season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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