BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2015-16 Season Analytical Writings
On Friday night, the Cats seemed disinterested in playing the Wright State Raiders and would have preferred to continue basking in the warmth of their victory over Duke. As a result, the Cats gradually built a 13 point halftime margin, and then coasted home in the second half to a less than impressive 15 point victory, 75-63. It is far too early in the careers of Skal Labissiere, Charles Matthews, Isaac Humphries, Isaiah Briscoe, and Mychal Mulder to take such attitudes into games regardless of the opponent. There four freshmen and one JUCO transfer combined 10 turnovers and only 4 assists between them.
Tyler Ulis was the game's MVP, with 21 points on 4-6 shooting, 10-12 from the charity stripe, and 5 assists with only 2 turnovers. Alex Poythress came off the bench to contribute 10 points on 3-4 shooting, 4-4 from the line, and 10 rebounds. Beyond these two individual efforts, the game was less than this team's best effort.
The schedule maker provided these young Cats a two game home stand that they could use to fine tune its overall game with an eye toward its upcoming trips/ Now, that opportunity is down to one game, against Boston University on Tuesday night before the Cats hit the road again, this time to Miami to take on USF. Other road excursions loom to Brooklyn to take on Ohio State, and to Los Angeles to confront a revenge minded group of Bruins before the Cats get to confront the Louisville Cardinals in their annual grudge match that preludes the SEC wars.
Boston University has played four games so far this season, the first two at home, beating #116 Albany by 5 and losing to #113 Northeastern by 3 in overtime. The second two games were on the road, losing to #134 NJIT by 14 and winning at #234 South Florida by 12. The Terriers will enter Rupp with a #126 Pomeroy rating having played the #158 th toughest early schedule (0.5313). Kentucky is now the #1 Pomeroy rated team, having played the 132 nd toughest early schedule (0.5827).
Kentucky has played its first four games at a pace of 70 possessions per game while Boston University has pushed it at a 71 to 72 possession pace. Kentucky has posted an offensive efficiency, 1.126 ppp as compared to Boston University's 1.077 ppp. The Cats have enjoyed lower defensive efficiency (0.883 ppp as compared to 1.059 ppp for Boston University. Pomeroy sees this game as a 20-point Kentucky advantage, 84-64 at a pace of 69 possessions. My ANE analysis sees Kentucky with a 17 point advantage, 82-65 at a pace of 71 possessions.
Coach Calipari starts Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray, Marcus Lee, and Skal Labissiere. The reserve players include Derek Willis, Alex Poythress, Charles Matthews, and Dominique Hawkins. Isaac Humphries will not be available tonight due to an injury.
Skal Labissiere controlled the tip, and the Cats race out to a 10-0 lead in less than 3 minutes, forcing a Boston timeout with 17:13 remaining in the first half. Each of Kentucky's five starters have scored a basket in this fast start. After the timeout, Boston gets its first basket and following UK's second turnover of the game, a 3 pointer to cut the 10 point lead in half at the under 16 media timeout, 10-5. Boston will have a pair of free throws when play resumes with an opportunity to cut that 10 point deficit to only 3 points. In the second segment, the Terriers made both free throws, and following a dry trip by the Cats, made a basket to claw back to within a single point, 10-9. The Cats responded with a pair of 3 pointers by Jamal Murray, but the Terriers made three 3 pointers in the segment and pulled to within 4 points, 22-18 at the under 12 media timeout with 10:32 remaining in the first half.
In the third segment, the Cats managed to move back on top by 9 points, 29-20 around 4 Terrier turnovers in 6 possessions. At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats have the ball under their own basket with 7:28 remaining in the half. In the fourth segment, it was all about the Terriers, as they outscored the Cats 10-2 to pull back to within 1 point, 31-30 at the under 4 media timeout, and the Terriers will have possession after the timeout.
Out of the timeout, Boston scores to take their first lead, 32-31. After playing on unimpressive even terms for the next 3 minutes, and holding a lead of 34-33, the Cats score the final 6 points of the half to lead by 7, 40-33 at the half.
Kentucky scored 40 points on 37 possessions (1.08 ppp) while Boston University scored 33 points on 37 possessions (0.87 ppp). The Cats shot well, making 17-34 shots (50.0%), including 2-11 (18.2%) from long range. Boston University shot the ball poorly, 11-30 overall (36.7%) which included 5-15 (33.3%) from long range. From the line, the Cats were only 4-10 (40.0%) while Boston University was 6-8 (75.0%). The Cats committed 7 turnovers, one for each 5.3 possessions, and the Cats forced Boston University into only 10 turnovers, one for each 3.7 possessions.
On the boards, the Cats won the battle 23-18, and the Cats won the battle on the offensive glass 9-6. The Cats converted their 9 second chance opportunities into 10 second chance points while Boston University used their 6 second chances to score 3 second chance points.
Boston University had an efficiency of 0.79 ppp on its 37 first chance possessions and 0.50 ppp on its 6 second chance possessions. Kentucky had an efficiency of 0.810 ppp on its 37 first chance possessions and 1.111 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. The Cats grabbed a respectable 42.9% of its misses and Boston University grabbed 30.0% of its missed shots in the first half.
Boston opens play in the second half with a turnover, their 11 th of the game, and the Cats stretch the lead from 7 to 11, 44-33, but Boston answers with 4 of their own before the Cats finish the segment on a 5-0 run to establish their biggest lead of the game, 49-37 at the under 16 media timeout with 15:11 remaining in the game. In the second segment, the Terriers outscored the Cats 12-8 to trim the lead back to 8 points, 57-49, at the under 12 media timeout. In the third segment, the Cats added a pair of points to their lead to lead by 10, 66-56 at the under 8 media timeout. Tyler Ulis will have a pair of free throws after the break. At the start of the 4 th segment, the Cats score 6 quick points to move on top by 16 points, 72-56, forcing a Boston timeout with 6:30 remaining. The Cats finished the game with a 20 point win, 82-62.
UK scored its 82 points in a total of 71 possessions for the game, and Boston University scored its 62 points on a total of 73 possessions.
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, 45-27, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive boards 18-8. Kentucky used its 18 second chance possessions to score 24 second chance points, and BOSTON UNIVERSITY used its 8 second chance possessions to score 9 second chance points. BOSTON UNIVERSITY had an offensive efficiency of 0.726 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 1.125 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 0.817 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.333 ppp on its 18 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 48.6%of its misses as offensive rebounds while BOSTON UNIVERSITY was able to convert a weak 22.9% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit very poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 13-26 [50.0%]. BOSTON UNIVERSITY made 14-18 [77.8%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 33-64 overall [51.6%] and- 3-15 from long range [20.0%]. For BOSTON UNIVERSITY, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 12-30 [40.0%] and from long range, BOSTON UNIVERSITY hit 8-24 [33.3%].
The Cats committed 12 turnovers, one for every 5.9 possessions. The Cats forced 17 BOSTON UNIVERSITY turnovers, one for every 4.3 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Friday afternoon in Miami, the Cats will face USF in the sixth regular season game of the 2015-16 season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks