2015-16 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Continue SEC Road Swing At Alabama

The Cats ventured into another hostile arena on Tuesday night, and the Cats left that arena on the short end of a 85-67 pounding by an SEC average LSU team. The Cats not only did not get any significant production from its front court players, the Cats overall played with no sense of urgency, trailing for all but the first 33 seconds of the game. The marks of the pitiful performance show in rebounding, turnovers, shooting from the field, and shooting from the free throw line.

The Cats stay on the SEC road on Saturday with a stop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Based on their performance to date, Alabama is not as strong as LSU, but if the Cats do not correct some very serious issues by tipoff on Saturday, they run a real risk of losing again, and dropping to 1-2 in the early SEC race.

Alabama brings a 9-4 record, 0-1 in the SEC, into this meeting with the 11-3; 1-1 Wildcats. Alabama has lost at #40 Dayton by 38, to #9 Xavier by 19 on a neutral courts, to #37 Oregon by 4, and on Thursday night at #84 Mississippi by 8. Alabama's most impressive win came at the expense of #35 Wichita State by 4 on a neutral court.

The losses were to #113 Marquette by 1, at #120 College of Charleston by 12, at #79 Houston by 7 in OT, to #77 NC State by 11 in OT, and at home to #89 Wake Forest by 6. Prior to the Vanderbilt win, the Crimson Tide ' most impressive nonconference win had been by 11 over #132 North Florida.

The teams only common opponent has been #84 Mississippi. The Cats defeated the Rebels by 22 points at Rupp and Alabama fell to the Rebels by 8 at Oxford.

ALABAMA has played its first 13 games at an average tempo of about 68 possessions per game, scoring 66.4 ppg (0.977 ppp) and allowing an average 65.6 ppg (0.968 ppp). ALABAMA has turned the ball over on 21.5% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 20.0% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, ALABAMA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 26.4%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 67.8%.

In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 71 possessions per game, producing 77.6 ppg (1.097 ppp) and allowing 67.2 ppg (0.951 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 18.4% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 19.7% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 40.4% and 67.2% on the offensive and defensive ends.

Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Kentucky by 6 points, 72-66 in a game played at a pace of 69 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for ALABAMA. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 3 points, 68-65 at a pace of 67 possessions. Vegas opens with the Cats a 4 point favorite.

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Game Summary:

Coach Calipari returns Isaiah Briscoe to the starting lineup tonight to join Marcus Lee, Alex Poythress, Tyler Ulis, and Jamal Murray. Dominique Hawkins will not be available for the game tonight.

Marcus Lee controls the opening tip, and the Cats go immediately to the inside to Alex Poythress who draws a foul and makes both of his free throws. Following a ‘Bama turnover, Alex Poythress gets a basket off an offensive rebound, and following a ‘Bama miss, Alex Poythress gets fouled following another offensive rebound. Alex Poythress made 1 of his 2 attempts on this second trip to lift the Cats to a quick 5-0 start. At the under 16 media timeout, the Cats maintain a lead of 7-4 and have possession of the ball.

After the timeout, Jamal Murray drains the Cats' first 3 pointer of the game. However, ‘Bama matches the 3 pointer at their end, and Jamal Murray gets a 3 point play to lift the Cats up to a 6 point lead, 13-7. Following a missed shot, the Cats were called for a rebounding foul Skal Labissiere who was also assessed a technical foul. ‘Bama made 1 of 2 of the technical shots, and Alabama gets a bonus possession. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats maintain the 5 point lead that Alex Poythress established in the first 2 minutes of the game, 15-10. Since the Alex Poythress show of 5-0, the next 10 points have been scored by Jamal Murray.

After the timeout, ‘Bama drains a 3 pointer, and the Cats respond with a 3 point play by Alex Poythress. In the third segment, the teams trade scores to a 20-16 UK lead at the under 12 media timeout. After the break, Alex Poythress will have a pair of free throws. Through 12 minutes of this game, only two Cats have scored, Jamal Murray with 12 points and Alex Poythress with 8 points. The Cats are shooting the ball poorly, 6-19 (32%) including 1-6 from outside the arc.

In the 4 th segment, the Cats began to extend their lead. With about 5 minutes remaining, the Cats led by 9, 27-18. Jamal Murray scored 14 and Alex Poythress 13 to reach the Cats' total. Jamal Murray had to leave the game after picking up his second foul. Tyler Ulis became the first Cats not named Jamal Murray or Alex Poythress to score to lift the Cats to an 11 point lead at the under 4 media timeout.

The Cats extended their lead to a game high 16 points, 38-22, but ‘Bama scored the final 6 points of the half to trim the lead to 10, 38-28 at the half.

Kentucky scored 38 points on 33 possessions (1.15 ppp) while ALABAMA scored 28 points on 33 possessions (0.85 ppp). The Cats shot poorly for most of the half, but a strong finish lifted them to 13-29 (44.8%) including 2-7 (28.6%) from long range. ALABAMA shot the ball poorly, 9-23 overall (39.1%) which included 3-11 (27.3%) from long range. From the line, the Cats were 10-13 (76.9%) while ALABAMA was 7-13 (53.8%). The Cats committed 6 turnovers, one for each 5.5 possessions, and the Cats forced ALABAMA into 7 turnovers, one for each 4.7 possessions.

On the boards, the Cats won the battle 22-12 and the Cats won the battle on the offensive glass 8-2. The Cats converted their 8 second chance opportunities into 5 second chance points while ALABAMA used their 2 second chances to score 1 second chance points.

ALABAMA had an efficiency of 0.82 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 0. 500 ppp on its 2 second chance possessions. Kentucky had an efficiency of 1.00 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 0.625 ppp on its 8 second chance possession. The Cats grabbed a 44.4% of its misses and ALABAMA grabbed 12.5% of its missed shots in the first half.

Second Half:

The Crimson Tide open the second half with a 3 point shot, which is 9 straight points going back to the last minute of the first half. Following an exchange of baskets, ‘Bama drains another 3 pointer to trim the lead to 6 points, 42-36, forcing Coach Calipari to take a timeout early in the second half. After the timeout, Alex Poythress stops the ‘Bama run to give the Cats an 8 point lead, 44-36 at the under 16 media timeout. However, just prior to the break, Jamal Murray fouled a 3 point shooter at the end of the shot clock, and ‘Bama will have 3 free throws after the break. After making 2 of the 3 free throws, ‘Bama trimmed the lead to 4 points, 46-42, but the Cats run the next 6 points, 4 by Briscoe, to extend their lead back to 10 points, 52-42 forcing a ‘Bama timeout with 12:05 remaining in the game. At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats are holding a comfortable 13 point lead, 60-47 with 7:50 remaining in the game.

In the fourth segment the Cats added a point to the lead, now 14, 68-54, at the under 4 media timeout. Cats win 77-61


UK scored its 77 points on 61 possessions for the game, and ALABAMA scored its 61 points on 62 possessions.

The Cats won the battle of the boards 43-25, and the Cats controlled the offensive rebounds 14-8. Kentucky used its 14 second chance possessions to score 11 second chance points, and ALABAMA used its 8 second chance possessions to score 10 second chance points. ALABAMA had an offensive efficiency of 0.823 ppp on its 62 first chance possessions and 1.250 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 1.082 ppp on its 61 first chance possessions and 0.786 ppp on its 14 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 45.2%of its misses as offensive rebounds while ALABAMA was able to convert 21.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 19-30 [63.3%]. ALABAMA made 18-27 [66.7%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-51 overall [54.9%] and 2-9 from long range [22.2%]. For ALABAMA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a 11-28 [39.3%] and from long range, ALABAMA hit 7-24 [29.2%].

The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 5.5 possessions. The Cats forced 7 ALABAMA turnovers, one for every 8.9 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening against Mississippi State in the sixteenth regular season and fourth SEC game of the 2015-16 season .

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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