2015-16 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Got Lost In The Smokies;
Return To Rupp To Wrestle Gator Outside The Swamp

The Cats seemed to be disoriented by the Phog in the second half and overtime, but on Tuesday night the Cats completely lost their bearings after 15 minutes in the Smokies. Hopefully the clear, clean air of Rupp Arena will allow this team to reorient itself and find its game. However, to accomplish a recovery, the Cats will have to wrestle with a Gator who left the swamp to engage these Cats.

The Cats had put together 4 consecutive very strong games posting wins at Arkansas, over Vanderbilt, and against a hapless Missouri team. The Kansas game technically is the fourth game in this sequence, but in reality, it was only ½ a game consistent with their new found excellence. In the Smokies, the Cats returned to the form of that four game run, but could only sustain it for about 14mintues. With about 5:40 remaining in the first half, the Cats led 34-13. However, in that final 5:40, the Vols outscored the Cats 23-8 to trim that Kentucky lead down to only 6 points at the half. In the second half, the Vols dominated the Cats, outscoring them 48-35.

The Cats took another dip, reminiscent of the roller coaster ride that marked Games 4 through 17. So, Cat fans everywhere are wondering when this team's true identity will be solidified. With only 9 games remaining in the regular season, the Cats need to have their game clicking at the top of their range rather than in doubt, much less bumping along the bottom like it did again on Tuesday against Tennessee in the Smokies.

The next nine games includes home and home with Florida, and road games at Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina. In addition, the Cats play rematches with Tennessee (a road loss), LSU (a road loss), and Alabama (a road win). Add a game at Rupp against Georgia, and the Cats final nine games will pose many obstacles to finishing the regular season with the 6 losses they currently must explain.

Florida brings a 15-7, 6-3 record into this SEC showdown with the Cats, who sport a record of 16-6, 6-3 in the SEC. In their non-conference schedule, Florida has suffered losses to #13 Purdue by 15, at #16 Miami of Florida by 11, at #6 Michigan State by 6, and to #39 Florida State by 2. Florida's most impressive non-conference win was over #7 West Virginia by 17 a week ago. Halfway through the SEC season, the Gators and Cats have each played Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Auburn, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas. The Cats finished 4-3 against that array of opponents while the Gators managed a 5-2 record against those common SEC opponents. The Cats also faced Alabama and Missouri winning both while the Gators faced Texas A&M and Georgia, splitting those games.

FLORIDA has played its first 22 games at an average tempo of about 71 possessions per game, scoring 75.0 ppg (1.056 ppp) and allowing an average 65.8 ppg (0.928 ppp). FLORIDA has turned the ball over on 16.6% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 19.2% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, FLORIDA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 34.2%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 70.3%. The Florida schedule has a strength of schedule of 0.6869.

In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 to 71 possessions per game, producing 78.1 ppg (1.110 ppp) and allowing 68.3 ppg (0.964 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 17.6% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 18.8% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 38.9% and 69.4% on the offensive and defensive ends. The Cats have a strength of schedule of 0.6411.

Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Kentucky by 4 points, 74-70 in a game played at a pace of 71 possessions for the Cats and 71 possessions for Florida. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 4 points, 73-69 at a pace of 69 possessions. Vegas opened Friday evening with the Cats favored by 4 points, but the line widened to 6 points within an hour of the opening.

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Game Summary:

In the pre-game warnups, Alex Poythress appeared to be ailing, and Coach Calipari has not posted his starting lineup with only 10 minutes remaining prior to tipoff. Coach Calipari starts Isaiah Briscoe, Derek Willis, Marcus Lee, Tyler Ulis, and Jamal Murray. Alex Poythress may not be available for the game tonight due to an injury to his other knee.

Marcus Lee controlled the opening tip, and Jamal Murray scored on a layup at the end of the opening possession's shot clock. After the Gators tied the score at 2-2, the Cats ran off 8 straight on 3 pointers by Jamal Murray and Derek Willis, and a layup by Tyler Ulis. Florida took a timeout with 18:00 remaining. After the timeout, Florida trimmed the lead by 2 points from the free throw line, but the Cats continue their hot start racing on top 18-5 with 16:03 remaining. Florida has taken its second timeout of the game. In the opening 4 minutes, the Cats have made 7-9 shots including 4-5 from long range, and do not have a turnover. The Gators have made 1 of 3 shots, none outside the arc on 1 try, 3-4 from the line, and 3 turnovers.

In the second segment, the Cats made 4-7 from the field but failed on two occasions to make the and 1 from the line. Nevertheless, the Cats added to their lead, extending it to17 points, 26-9 at the under 12 media timeout. Florida will have a pair of free throws after the timeout. In an extended third segment, the Cats continue to expand the lead, now at 22 points, 39-17, forcing Florida's third timeout of the first half with 6:22 remaining. This timeout also is the under 8 media timeout.

In the short fourth segment, the Cats allowed the Gators to trim the lead for the first time in a segment, to 18 points, 42-24, prompting Coach Calipari to use a timeout with 4:04 remaining in the first half at the under 4 media timeout. Out of the timeout, the Cats turn the ball over on three consecutive possessions, and Florida scored on each possession following to trim the one-time 24 point Kentucky lead to only 13points with 2:34 remaining. In the final 2 ½ minutes, the Cats would not allow the Gators to get any closer than 42-29, and finished the half strong to lead 50-32.

Kentucky scored 50 points on 36 possessions (1.39 ppp) while FLORIDA scored 32 points on 36 possessions (0.89 ppp). The Cats shot well for most of the half making 18-29 (62.1%) including 7-11 (63.6%) from long range. FLORIDA shot the ball poorly, 11-30 overall (36.7%) which included 3-10 (30.0%) from long range. From the line, the Cats were 7-13 (53.8%) while FLORIDA was 7-12 (58.3%). The Cats committed 6 turnovers, one for each 6.0 possessions, and the Cats forced FLORIDA into 6 turnovers, one for each 6.0 possessions.

On the boards, the Cats won the battle 20-17, but the Gators won the battle on the offensive glass 6-5. The Cats converted their 5 second chance opportunities into 7 second chance points while FLORIDA used their 6 second chances to score 5 second chance points.

FLORIDA had an efficiency of 0.75 ppp on its 36 first chance possessions and 0.83 ppp on its 6 second chance possessions. Kentucky had an efficiency of 1.1* ppp on its 36 first chance possessions and 1.40 ppp on its 5 second chance possession. The Cats grabbed 31.3% of its misses and FLORIDA grabbed 27.3% of its missed shots in the first half.

Second Half:

The Gators open the second half with a miss, but the Cats don't miss, making 3 of their first 4 shots, including 1-2 from 3 point range, and an old fashioned 3 point play to move on top by 26, 58-32, forcing Florida to burn another timeout with only 1:52 gone. Florida has no timeout remaining. After the timeout, the Gators outscore the Cats 7-2 to trim the lead back to 21 points, 60-39 at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, the Gators continue to whittle away at the UK lead, trimming it to 16 points, 67-51. Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 10:45 remaining in the game, which is the under 12 media timeout as well.

At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats maintain their lead at 16 points, 70-54. In the fourth segment, the Gator trim another point from the, but the Cats lead by 15, 74-59 at the under 4 media timeout with 2:45 remaining in the game.

Cats win 80-61.


UK scored its 80 points on 63 possessions for the game, and FLORIDA scored its 61 points on 64 possessions.

The Cats controlled the Boards, 37-28, and Cats won the battle on the offensive glass 11-9. Kentucky used its 11 second chance possessions to score 17 second chance points, and FLORIDA used its 9 second chance possessions to score 11 second chance points. FLORIDA had an offensive efficiency of 0.781 ppp on its 64 first chance possessions and 1.222 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 1.000 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 1.546 ppp on its 11 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 36.7% of its misses as offensive rebounds while FLORIDA was able to convert 25.7% 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%]. FLORIDA made 13-20 [65.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 30-58 overall [51.7%] and 12-20 from long range [60.0%]. For FLORIDA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a 15-34 [44.1%] and from long range, FLORIDA hit 6-19 [31.6%].

The Cats committed 10 turnovers, one for every 6.3 possessions. The Cats forced 10 FLORIDA turnovers, one for every 6.4 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening against Georgia in the 24 th regular season and 11 th SEC game of the 2015-16 season .

Submitted by Richard Cheeks



Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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