2015-16 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Travel To New York To Face Ohio State

The Cats finished the first 1/3 of their regular season with a single blemish, which is precisely the record forecast prior to the season for this 10 game sequence. However, that forecast had the Cats losing a close one to Duke and beating UCLA, and those results were flipped by an over performance against Duke and an under performance against the Bruins. The Cats' final three non-conference games include a neutral site encounter with Ohio State this Saturday, a home court war with Louisville the following Saturday, and a trip to face the Jayhawks at the end of January, at the midpoint of the SEC season.

Many observers pointed to this neutral court meeting with the Buckeyes as a game that could go either way, but based on the way each of these teams have played through their first 10 games, the Cats will enter this game as a strong, double digit favorite on the neutral hardwood.

On Saturday, Thad Matts's Ohio State will travel to New York with an eye on upsetting the highly ranked Wildcats. The Buckeyes have played ten games so far this season, eight at home, one at neutral venues, and one on the road, posting a 5-5 record. The Buckeyes' most impressive win so far this season occurred this past Wednesday evening when the Buckeyes defeated #172 Northern Illinois by 13 in Columbus. Ohio State's losses have come at the hands of #1 Virginia by 6, at #24 Connecticut by 20, to #66 Memphis by 5 in OT at a neutral location, to #85 UT Arlington by 5, and to #112 Louisiana Tech by 8. The Buckeyes will enter this game with a #74 Pomeroy rating having played the #252 nd toughest early schedule (0.4403). Kentucky has stabilized as the #8 Pomeroy rated team, having played the 165 th toughest early schedule (0.5203).

Kentucky has played its first nine games at a pace of 71 possessions per game while Ohio State has played at a 69 possession pace. Kentucky has posted an offensive efficiency, 1.117 ppp as compared to OSU's 1.035 ppp. The Cats have enjoyed lower defensive efficiency 0.909 ppp as compared to 0.939 ppp for OSU. Pomeroy sees this game as a 10-point Kentucky advantage, 74-64 at a pace of 68 possessions. My ANE analysis sees Kentucky with an 11-point advantage, 76-65 at a pace of 70 possessions.

Game Summary:


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


For the first time this season, Skal Labissiere does not control the opening tip of the game. After OSU misses on their first shot, Tyler Ulis scores. The teams traded the lead, and the Cats last lead was 7-4, on the strength of 3-4 shooting by Tyler Ulis to score all 7 of the Cats' points. OSU outscored the Cats 5-0 over the last 2 possessions of the segment to lead 9-7 at the under 16 media timeout.


In the second segment, OSU controlled the game making 4 of their 6 shots, including 2-3 from outside the arc to move the lead to a game high 7 points, 19-12. Marcus Lee ended the scoring in the segment with a basket while being fouled to pull the Cats to within 5, 19-14 at the under 12 media timeout, with 10:38 remaining in the first half. Marcus Lee will try to complete his 3 point play after the timeout.


After the timeout, Marcus Lee makes his free throw to trim the lead to 4, but OSU drains back to back 3 pointers to move on top by 10 points, 25-15, forcing Coach Calipari to take a quick timeout. OSU is 5-8 from outside the arc, and this shooting has provided the Buckeyes their 10 point margin. OSU continues its surge to move on top by 14 after the Kentucky timeout, and lead 31-17 at the under 8 media timeout. In the first 12 minutes, the Cats have had 21 possessions (17 points) to 22 possessions (31 points) for OSU.


In the 4 th segment, the Cats scored the only basket and points to trim the lead to 12, 31-19 at the under 4 media timeout. The Cats are shooting a miserable 8-25 (32%) for the game while OSU has made 12-29 (41%). The big difference occurs on shots outside the arc, 1-5 (20%) for the Cats vs 5-9 (56%) for OSU. These 12 points provide the margin of the first half.


In the final segment, the Cats get a put back basket, and a steal and fast break basket to trim the lead to 8, 31-23. Coach Matta takes a timeout with 2:35 remaining in the first half. After the timeout, the Buckeyes outscore the Cats 6-2 on a pair of 3 pointers including the final one from about 26 feet at the buzzer. The Cats head to the locker room down by 12 points, 37-25.


Kentucky scored 25 points on 34 possessions (0.74 ppp) while OSU scored 37 points on 35 possessions (1.06 ppp). The Cats shot poorly, making 11-36 shots (31.0%), and only 1-6 (16.7%) from long range. OSU shot the ball better, but still poor, 14-33 overall (42.4%) which included 7-12 (58.3%) from long range. From the line, the Cats were 2-3 (66.7%) while OSU was 2-2 (100.0%). The Cats committed 7 turnovers, one for each 4.8 possessions, and the Cats forced OSU into 7 turnovers, one for each 5.0 possessions.


On the boards, the Cats won the battle 23-21 and the Cats won the battle on the offensive glass 10-6. The Cats converted their 10 second chance opportunities into 7 second chance points while OSU used their 6 second chances to score 4 second chance points.


OSU had an efficiency of 0.94 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 0.667 ppp on its 6 second chance possessions. Kentucky had an efficiency of 0.53 ppp on its 34 first chance possessions and 0.70 ppp on its 10 second chance possession. The Cats grabbed a 40.0% of its misses and OSU grabbed 31.6% of its missed shots in the first half.


Second Half:


The Buckeyes open the second half with an empty possession, and Jamal Murray hits the Cats' second 3 pointer of the game to trim the lead to 9 points. However, the Cats could not generate any momentum from this initial score of the half, and swapped scores with OSU over the balance of the segment to trail by 10, 41-31 at the under 16 media timeout.


OSU opens the second segment with a pair of free throws to reestablish their 12 point halftime lead, and then score twice more, once off a UK miss and then off a UK turnover to move on top by 16 points, 47-31, forcing Coach Calipari to take another timeout. After the timeout, Jamal Murray hits another 3 pointer, and Alex Poythress gets to the rim for a dunk, but OSU makes a 3 pointer on its third possession of a single trip into offensive court, and OSU maintains its lead at 13 points, 52-39, at the under 12 media timeout.


In the third segment, the Cats' offense comes to life as Jamal Murray hits 3 consecutive 3 pointers and a basket on a drive to cut the lead to 8 points. OSU stops the UK run with a basket at the end of the segment to extend their lead back to 10 points, 59-49 at the under 8 media timeout. The Cats continue their charge in the 4 th segment with another 3 pointer by Jamal Murray and Alex Poythress makes his first 3 pointer since the NCAA tournament in 2014 to cut the lead to 3 points, 63-60 at the under 4 media timeout with 3:34 remaining in the game. After the timeout, Alex Poythress will be shooting free throws with a chance to trim the lead to 2 or 1 points.


Alex Poythress missed the front end, and after a couple of exchanged possessions, OSU gets a 4 point trip from an intentional foul called on Tyler Ulis. The Cats could not get any closer than 3, and the Cats lose by 7, 74-67.




UK scored its 67 points on 69 possessions for the game, and OSU scored its 74 points on 70 possessions.


The Buckeyes won the battle of the boards 42-40, and each team grabbed 13 offensive rebounds. Kentucky used its 13 second chance possessions to score 9 second chance points, and OSU used its 13 second chance possessions to score 13 second chance points. OSU had an offensive efficiency of 0.871 ppp on its 70 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 13 second chance possessions. UK had 0.841 ppp on its 69 first chance possessions and 0.692 ppp on its 13 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a weak 31.0%of its misses as offensive rebounds while OSU was able to convert 32.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.


UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 8-14 [57.1%]. OSU made 13-17 [76.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 25-63 overall [39.7%] and 9-19 from long range [47.4%]. For OSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a 17-46 [37.0%] and from long range, OSU hit 9-18 [50.0%].


The Cats committed 12 turnovers, one for every 5.6 possessions. The Cats forced 11 OSU turnovers, one for every 6.4 possessions.


Next Game On Schedule: Next Saturday afternoon against Louisville at Rupp in the twelfth regular season game of the 2015-16 season .

Submitted by Richard Cheeks

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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