BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2015-16 Season Analytical Writings
On Tuesday night, the Cats struggled through most of the first half against a pesky group of Boston Terriers. At the under 4 media timeout of the first half, Boston led the Cats 32-31, and after playing on unimpressive even terms for the next 3 minutes, the Cats managed to move back into the lead at 34-33. The Cats then scored the final 6 points of the half in the closing seconds to lead by 7, 40-33 at the half.
In the second half, the Cats and the Terriers played on even terms to the under 8 media timeout at which time the Cats lead had only increased by 3 points, to 10 at 66-56. However, out of that timeout, the Cats posted 6 quick, unanswered points, and continued to surge to a 23 point lead when the horn sounded for the under 4 media timeout, 81-58. That 15-2 run in the game's ninth TV segment coupled with the 6-0 close in the final minutes of the first half not only delivered the victory but fully defined the final margin for the Cats. The Terriers played the Cats on even terms for the other 35 minutes of the basketball game.
This largely unimpressive game performance by the highly ranked Wildcats is the second consecutive game for which this team appeared to either have no interest or intensity. Following the Wright State game, Coach Calipari remarked that his team was not playing great basketball, and at least 20 teams are playing better right now that his Cats. While my immediate reaction to this remark was one of disbelief, following the Boston University results, I am in complete agreement with Coach Calipari about the manner in which his team is playing the game.
Back to back home games intended to allow the team to fine tune some of the subtleties of the game have been squandered, and the team is in a pattern of regression rather than progression, not the direction of development one would prefer prior to a team's first road game of the season. On Friday, November 27, a day after a Thanksgiving feast within the shadows of South Beach, this group of Wildcats will face the South Florida Bulls, who are now coached by long time Calipari assistant Orlando Antigua.
USF has played five games so far this season, all at home. After losing their first four games, the Bulls defeated #127 Albany by 2 on Tuesday night. The USF losses have been to #274 Troy by 5, #130 NJIT by 3, #47 George Washington by 6, and #128 Boston University by 12. The Bulls will enter this game with a #229 Pomeroy rating having played the #266 th toughest early schedule (0.4035). Kentucky remains the #1 Pomeroy rated team, having played the 154 th toughest early schedule (0.5494).
Kentucky has played its first five games at a pace of 70 to 71 possessions per game while USF University has pushed it at a 70 to 71 possession pace. Kentucky has posted an offensive efficiency, 1.132 ppp as compared to USF University's 0.934 ppp. The Cats have enjoyed lower defensive efficiency (0.878 ppp as compared to 1.006 ppp for USF University. Pomeroy sees this game as a 20-point Kentucky advantage, 79-59 at a pace of 68 possessions. My ANE analysis sees Kentucky with a 25 point advantage, 82-57at a pace of 70 to 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 after three empty trips, USF finally breaks through and work to a 4-2 early lead. Then the Cats end the segment on an 8-0 run to lead 10-4, and 10-6 at the under 16 media timeout with 14:40. In an abbreviated second segment, the Cats extended their early lead to 6 points, 14-8 at the under 12 media timeout with 11:51 remaining in the first half. In the first 8 minutes, the Cats are 5-12 while USF is 3-11. The Cats hold a slim 8-7 edge on the Boards, and a 4-2 advantage in second chance points.
In the third segment, the Cats used 3-4 shooting from long range to move on top briefly by 11, 23-12, but USF answered quickly to trim the lead to 9, 25-16 at the under 8 media timeout with 7:07 remaining in the first half, and USF will have a pair of free throws after the timeout. In the fourth segment, Tyler Ulis left the game with a right arm injury, and the Cats extended their lead to a game high 11, 32-21, at the under 4 media timeout with 3:52 remaining in the first half.
The Cats open the final segment of the first half with a 6-0 run to go on top 38-21, forcing a timeout by USF with 2:18 remaining. The Cats double up the Bulls, 42-21 in the first half.
Kentucky scored 42 points on 33 possessions (1.27 ppp) while USF University scored 21 points on 33 possessions (0.64 ppp). The Cats shot well, making 16-29 shots (55.2%), including 4-7 (57.1%) from long range. USF shot the ball poorly, 8-27 overall (29.6%) which included 1-6 (16.7%) from long range. From the line, the Cats were 6-8 (75.0%) while USF University was 4-4 (100.0%). The Cats committed 5 turnovers, one for each 6.6 possessions, and the Cats forced USF University into 8 turnovers, one for each 4.1 possessions.
On the boards, the Cats won the battle 20-13, and the Cats won the battle on the offensive glass 5-4. The Cats converted their 5 second chance opportunities into 4 second chance points while USF used their 4 second chances to score 2 second chance points.
USF University had an efficiency of 0.58 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 0.50 ppp on its 4 second chance possessions. Kentucky had an efficiency of 1.15 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 0.80 ppp on its 5 second chance possessions. The Cats grabbed a respectable 35.7% of its misses and USF grabbed 21.1% of its missed shots in the first half.
During halftime, the UK locker room announced that Tyler Ulis has a right elbow injury and will not return in this game. The Cats open the second half with Alex Poythress and Charles Matthews with Isaiah Briscoe, Skal Labissiere, and Jamal Murray. USF manages to score 7 points on its 7 possessions of the first segment despite 3 more turnovers, but the Cats added 15 points from their 8 possessions to extend their 21 point halftime lead to 29 points, 57-28 at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, the Cats allowed the Bulls to trim a point from the margin to 28 points, 66-38 at the under 12 media timeout.
The medical report on Tyler Ulis is a hyper extended elbow.
At the end of the third segment, the Cats lead stands at 27 points, 73-46. The lead stands at 25, 77-52 at the under 4 media timeout. In the final segment, the Bulls trim the lead to 19 points before the Cats close the game with a 21 point win, 84-63.
UK scored its 84 points in a total of 67 possessions for the game, and USF University scored its 63 points on a total of 67 possessions.
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, 37-21, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive boards 12-10. Kentucky used its 12 second chance possessions to score 14 second chance points, and USF used its 10 second chance possessions to score 10 second chance points. USF had an offensive efficiency of 0.791 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 10 second chance possessions. UK had 1.048 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 1.167 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 52.2%of its misses as offensive rebounds while USF was able to convert a weak 28.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 16-19 [84.2%]. USF made 9-15 [60.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 31-62 overall [50.0%] and- 6-13 from long range [46.2%]. For USF, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a storng 24-46 [52.2%] and from long range, USF UNIVERSITY hit 2-10 [20.0%].
The Cats committed 8 turnovers, one for every 8.4 possessions. The Cats forced 14 USF turnovers, one for every 4.8 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Monday evening at Rupp Arena, the Cats will face Illinois State in the seventh regular season game of the 2015-16 season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks