2015-16 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Go On The Road Again To Auburn

The Cats claim a 3-1 start, including 1 road win to the SEC season. However, the Cats have played very well in only two of those games, and poorly in the other two. Life on the road in the SEC is never easy, and the Cats return to that road for an encountered with the Tigers in Auburn, Alabama on Saturday.

On Tuesday night, the Cats played well enough to establish what should have been a secure 20 point lead in the second half, but for some reason, the Cats allowed Mississippi State to play its way back into contention, cutting the lead to 3 points, and in possession with a chance to tie the score with a 3 pointer. The Cats did manage to find a way to defend their home court and send Mississippi State home with a 6-point loss. However, everyone was left to wonder how the 21 st ranked team could allow the 110 th ranked team be competitive, much less have a legitimate chance to win the game within the last 4 minutes at Rupp Arena.

The questions are legitimate, and the answers are not comforting for Big Blue Fans.

Now, the team is travelling to Auburn Alabama where Coach Calipari's long time nemesis, Bruce Pearl waits for his 2016 chance to derail Calipari's Cats, and Auburn's senior forward, Cinmeon Bowers has promised a Tiger win over the Cats on Saturday. Do you think such a challenge will be sufficient to get the Wildcats' individual and collective attention?

I guess we will have to wait another day to find out. But, if the Cats have a couple of “no shows” on Saturday afternoon, Bowers' promise may be realized.

Auburn brings a 7-8 record, 1-3 in the SEC, into this meeting with the 13-3; 3-1 Wildcats. Auburn has lost at #9 Xavier by 24 points and at #27 Vanderbilt by 18. Auburn's most embarrassing loss was at #178 Missouri by 14. Auburn's most impressive win came at the expense of #88 Tennessee by 6 points in their first SEC game of the season.

Auburn and Kentucky have not played a common opponent as they prepare to meet at Auburn.

AUBURN has played its first 15 games at an average tempo of about 75 possessions per game, scoring 76.1 ppg (1.019 ppp) and allowing an average 77.7 ppg (1.042 ppp). AUBURN has turned the ball over on 19.1% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 19.6% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, AUBURN has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 28.8%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 68.2%.

In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 possessions per game, producing 77.8 ppg (1.106 ppp) and allowing 67.3 ppg (0.953 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 18.7% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 19.6% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 40.6% and 68.8% on the offensive and defensive ends.

Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Kentucky by 7 points, 78-71 in a game played at a pace of 72 possessions for the Cats and 73 possessions for Auburn. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 9 points, 81-72 at a pace of 72 possessions. Vegas opens with the Cats a 9 point favorite, but the line has climbed to between 10 and 12 points within a few hours.

See how other Big Blue Fans see this game's likely outcome by clicking the following link.

You can enter your prediction at any time prior to tip off by visiting the 247 Sports prediction thread for this game at:

Game Summary:

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

Marcus Lee controlled the opening tip, and Jamal Murray hits a 3 pointer from the right wing to start the scoring. Auburn matches with a 3 pointer of their own. Jamal Murray hit another 3 pointer, and Auburn matches the score with another 3 pointer of their own. Tyler Ulis scored from about 15 feet to give the Cats an early 2 point lead, 8-6, at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, Auburn outscored the Cats 5-0 to move on top for the first time by 3 points, 11-8. Marcus Lee stopped the Auburn run at 5 points with an offensive rebound basket to pull the Cats within 1 point 11-10 at the under 12 media timeout.

In the third segment, the Cats move back into the lead on the strength of offensive rebounding by Derek Willis and Isaiah Briscoe to score 8 points, 6 of which are second chance points, while limiting Auburn to 1-6 shooting. With 8:15 remaining, Coach Pearl takes a timeout with his team down by a game high 4 points, 18-14. In the fourth segment, Auburn continues to hang with the Cats on 3-6 three point shooting in the segment, and the Cats find themselves clinging to a 1 point lead, 24-23 at the under 4 media timeout.

The Cats survive 3 consecutive possessions for Auburn due to a technical foul called on Skal Labissiere prior to an Auburn free throw attempt. The foul allowed Auburn the 2 original free throws, making both, two technical foul shots, missing both, and possession that failed to produce another score. That flurry of activity left the score knotted at 30-30, but the Cats scored the last 5 points of the first half thereafter to take a 5 point lead, 35-30 to the locker room.

Kentucky scored 35 points on 37 possessions (0.95 ppp) while AUBURN scored 30 points on 36 possessions (0.83 ppp). The Cats shot poorly for most of the half, and a strong finish lifted them to 14-37 (37.8%) including 3-7 (42.9%) from long range. AUBURN shot the ball very poorly, 9-32 overall (28.1%) which included 6-16 (37.5%) from long range. From the line, the Cats were 4-7 (57.1%) while AUBURN was 6-10 (60.0%). The Cats committed 6 turnovers, one for each 6.2 possessions, and the Cats forced AUBURN into 7 turnovers, one for each 5.1 possessions.

On the boards, the Cats won the battle 27-22 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 AUBURN used their 6 second chances to score 2 second chance points.

AUBURN had an efficiency of 0.78 ppp on its 36 first chance possessions and 0. 33 ppp on its 6 second chance possessions. Kentucky had an efficiency of 0.67 ppp on its 37 first chance possessions and 1.11 ppp on its 9 second chance possession. The Cats grabbed a 41.9% of its misses and AUBURN grabbed 25.0% of its missed shots in the first half.

Second Half:

The Tigers open the second half with a turnover and the Cats score 5 quick points to put up the first double digit lead of the game, 40-30. However, on cue, Auburn responds with 5 points of their own to pull back to the 5 point halftime deficit, and the Cats get the next 5 points, leading to the under 16 media timeout with the Cats in possession holding a 10 point lead, 45-35. As the second segment begins, Tyler Ulis makes a pair of free throws to lift the lead to 12 points, 47-35, but Auburn shot themselves back into the game with 9 straight points before a basket by Alex Poythress stopped the Tigers' run to give the Cats a 5 point lead, 51-46 at the under 12 media timeout.

In the third segment, Auburn continues its run on the Cats, and regaining the lead, 53-51 on a 3 pointer. That is the Tigers' 10 th 3 pointer of the game on 21 attempts, and Coach Calipari takes a timeout. The Tigers are in the midst of an 18-4 run on the Cats. After the timeout, the Cats fail to score despite getting 3 shots on the possession, and the Tigers make them pay with another 3 pointer to extend their lead to 5, 56-51. The Cats respond with 1-2 from the line by Marcus Lee and a 3 pointer by Derek Willis to pull to within a point, 56-55 at the under 8 media timeout. The Cats will have the ball after the timeout.

In a protracted fourth segment, Aubrn continued to play in the lead, but the Cats close the gap just prior to the under 4 media timeout to tie the score at 65-65, and the Cats have possession to start the final 2:42 seconds of this ball game. Out of the timeout, the Cats fail to get a shot within the time allotted by the shot clock, After an Auburn miss, Tyler Ulis, makes a fall away bank shot from the right side of the lane. Then Tyler Ulis fouls Auburn who makes the shot and has a chance to complete a 3 point play for the lead for the Tigers. After another UK miss, Auburn stretches the lead to 3 points. Following another UK miss, the Cats foul with 34.1 seconds remaining.

Auburn makes both, and following another UK miss, UK fouls again. After Auburn makes both to lead by 7, Jamal Murray makes a 3 pointer to trim the lead to 4 points. UK fouls yet again,

Cats lose 75-70.


UK scored its 70 points on 73 possessions for the game, and AUBURN scored its 75 points on 73 possessions.

The Cats won the battle of the boards 48-38, and the Cats controlled the offensive rebounds 18-7. Kentucky used its 18 second chance possessions to score 18 second chance points, and AUBURN used its 7 second chance possessions to score 4 second chance points. AUBURN had an offensive efficiency of 0.973 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 0.571 ppp for its 7 second chance possessions. UK had 0.712 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 18 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 36.9% of its misses as offensive rebounds while AUBURN was able to convert 18.9% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 14-18 [77.8%]. AUBURN made 21-30 [70.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 25-72 overall [34.7%] and 6-18 from long range [33.3%]. For AUBURN, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a 9-29 [31.0%] and from long range, AUBURN hit 12-26 [46.2%].

The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 6.6 possessions. The Cats forced 13 AUBURN turnovers, one for every 5.6 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Thursday night at Arkansas in the eighteenth regular season and sixth SEC game of the 2015-16 season .

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


To Cats Stay On Road At Arkansas

Go Back
Cats Squeak By Mississippi State by 6 at Rupp Arena

Copyright 2016
SugarHill Communications of Kentucky
All Rights Reserved