2015-16 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Host Arizona State

The Cats returned to the win side of the ledger on Wednesday evening by handing the Eastern Kentucky Colonels a 21 point setback, 88-67, which is about as close to an average performance that this team could have delivered. Saturday afternoon, the Cats host Arizona State.

During the off season, Arizona State hired Bobby Hurley as their head coach, and Bobby Hurley left the snow bound surroundings of Buffalo, New York for the sun filled skies of Arizona. Last season, Hurley escorted his Buffalo team into Rupp and led the Cats by 5 points at the half, 38-33. In the second half, Hurley's team managed to remain in the game, trailing by only 4 points 51-47 with just over 10 minutes remaining. The Cats outscored Buffalo 20-5 over the last ¼ of the game to walk away with a 19-point win. The game was much closer than the teams' average efficiencies would have indicated.

On Saturday, Hurley's first Arizona State will take the Rupp floor with an eye on upsetting the Wildcats. The Sun Devils have played eight games so far this season, five at home, two at neutral venues, and one on the road, posting an early season 6-2 record. The Sun Devils' most impressive win so far this season has been by 13 points over #35 Texas A&M in their last outing this past Saturday. Arizona State's losses have come at the hands of #200 Sacramento State in Tempe, and on a neutral site to #81 Marquette by 5 in overtime. The Sun Devils will enter this game with a #58 Pomeroy rating having played the #162 nd toughest early schedule (0.5249). Kentucky has slipped to the #8 Pomeroy rated team, having played the 176 th toughest early schedule (0.5104).

Kentucky has played its first nine games at a pace of 71 possessions per game while Arizona State has played at a 71 to 72 possession pace. Kentucky has posted an offensive efficiency, 1.129 ppp as compared to ASU's 1.060 ppp. The Cats have enjoyed lower defensive efficiency 0.920 ppp as compared to 0.948 ppp for ASU. Pomeroy sees this game as a 12-point Kentucky advantage, 77-65 at a pace of 69 possessions. My ANE analysis sees Kentucky with a 11 point advantage, 78-67 at a pace of 71 to 72 possessions.

Game Summary:

Coach Calipari returns to his starting lineup of Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere, and Alex Poythress

Skal Labissiere controls the tip, and the Cats go to the lane where Alex Poythress scores a 10-foot jump hook to take the first lead. The teams traded baskets through the opening segment of the game, and traded leads, with ASU leading by 1 at 6-5, and the Cats regaining the lead, 7-6, on an offensive rebound basket by Marcus Lee. At the under 16 media timeout, the Cats are clinging to that 1-point lead, and ASU has the ball. The Cats opened the second segment forcing back to back ASU turnovers, and converted those errors into 5 points to take a 12-6 lead. The Cats' lead shrunk to 4, 14-10, at the under 12 media timeout with ASU in possession. In the third segment, the Cats eased out to a game high 7 point lead, 21-14 at the under 8 media timeout. In the fourth segment, the Cats gave back 3 points, to lead by 4, 26-22 at the under 4 media timeout.

In the final segment, the Sun Devils tied the Cats at 26 and again at 28. After the Cats used a turnover basket to move on top by 4 points, an ASU 3 pointer at the buzzer sent the teams to the locker room with the Cats up by 1, 32-31.

Kentucky scored 32 points on 36 possessions (0.89 ppp) while ASU scored 31 points on 35 possessions (0.89 ppp). The Cats shot poorly, making 9-29 shots (31.0%), and only 1-11 (9.1%) from long range. ASU shot the ball better, but still poor, 12-31 overall (38.7 %) which included 2-8 (25.0%) from long range. From the line, the Cats were 13-16 (81.3%) while ASU was 5-6 (83.3%). The Cats committed 10 turnovers, one for each 4..0 possessions, and the Cats forced ASU into 8 turnovers, one for each 5.0 possessions.

On the boards, the Sun Devils won the battle 23-4 and the Sun Devils won the battle on the offensive glass 8-5. The Cats converted their 5 second chance opportunities into 7 second chance points while ASU used their 8 second chances to score 4 second chance points.

ASU had an efficiency of 0.77 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 0.500 ppp on its 8 second chance possessions. Kentucky had an efficiency of 0.69 ppp on its 36 first chance possessions and 1.40 ppp on its 5 second chance possession. The Cats grabbed a weak 25.0% of its misses and ASU grabbed a very strong 47.1% of its missed shots in the first half.

Second Half:

The Cats open the second half with a drive to the basket by Tyler Ulis, drawing a foul, but Tyler Ulis only made his second of two free throws to stretch the lead to 2 points. The teams traded scores for the balance of the segment, with the Cats holding to a 4 point lead, 37-33 at the under 16 media timeout, and ASU will have a pair of free throws after the break with a chance to pull back to within 2 points. In the second segment, 3 pointers by Isaiah Briscoe and Jamal Murray propel the Cats to the largest lead, 9 points, 49-40 forcing an ASU timeout with 12:40 remaining in the game.

After the timeout, ASU cuts the lead back to 6 points on a 3 pointer, but the Cats run off 5 more to go on top by 11, 54-43 at the under 12 media timeout, with 10:58 remaining in the game. The Cats continue to expand their lead until a 3 pointer by Tyler Ulis provides a 23 point lead, 71-48 with 4:25 remaining, and forcing Bobby Hurley to take another timeout to seek a solution to slow down this suddenly revived Kentucky offense.

ASU does not quit its fight, and close to 14 at the end, 72-58.


UK scored its 72 points on 71 possessions for the game, and ASU scored its 58 points on 71 possessions.

The Cats and Sun Devils fought to even terms on the boards, 36-36, and ASU won the battle of the offensive boards 15-11. Kentucky used its 11 second chance possessions to score 13 second chance points, and ASU used its 15 second chance possessions to score 8 second chance points. ASU had an offensive efficiency of 0.704 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 0.533 ppp for its 15 second chance possessions. UK had 0.831 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.182 ppp on its 11 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a weak 34.4%of its misses as offensive rebounds while ASU was able to convert 37.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 18-26 [69.2%]. ASU made 8-15 [53.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 24-55 overall [43.6%] and 6-21 from long range [28.6%]. For ASU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a 19-42 [45.2%] and from long range, ASU hit 4-20 [20.0%].

The Cats committed 14 turnovers, one for every 5.1 possessions. The Cats forced 17 ASU turnovers, one for every 4.2 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Next Saturday afternoon against Ohio State at Brooklyn, New York in the eleventh regular season game of the 2015-16 season .

Submitted by Richard Cheeks

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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