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2015-16 Season Analytical Writings
In some ways, the start of November seems like an eternity ago, and in other ways, it seems like yesterday that the Cats traveled to Chicago and handled Duke with greater ease than ever anticipated. Between then and now, the Cats have lost 8 times in thirty tries. The most embarrassing loss was in the second SEC game of the season in Baton Rouge when LSU did anything it wanted against a UK team that seemed incapable of playing the game of basketball at any level.
The loss to LSU is not the issue. Many teams have lost in Baton Rouge this season. The problem with that game was the manner of the loss. The Cats have sustained other losses that seemed as inexplicable as the LSU beat down. However, the reality remains that the manner of that loss was so extreme that it will be recorded as the worst game performance by this team.
Saturday, the Cats will entertain LSU at Rupp Arena in the rematch of their earlier meeting. Consider that the Cats can clinch a share of the SEC regular season title with a win over LSU, and can win the SEC outright with a win coupled with a Texas A&M loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday. Consider that the Cats will enter the SEC Tournament as the favorite to win the automatic bid to the NCAA to represent the SEC. Consider that these Cats, at least at one Las Vegas house, have been given 10-1 odds of reaching the NCAA final four, the fourth best odds as we all anticipate this year's March Madness.
LSU on the other hand is probably not going to receive an at large bid to the NCAA tournament unless they can beat the Cats in Rupp on Saturday AND win at least 2 games in the SEC Tournament next week end. If ever there was one game that so drastically misrepresented the quality of the two teams, it was the UK loss to this LSU team in Baton Rouge, way back in early January.
LSU brings a 18-12, 11-6 SEC record into this encounter with the Cats. The Cats record now stands at 22-8, 12-5 in the SEC. The Tigers raced out to an 8-2 SEC record after they defeated Mississippi State at home on February 6. However, LSU lost 4 of their next 5 games, falling at South Carolina by 11, at Tennessee by 16, and at Arkansas by 20. Ironically, the only Tiger win in that 5 game stretch was over #23 Texas A&M in Baton Rouge by 5 points. The Tigers have won their last two games, over Florida by 5 and over Missouri by 9, both in Baton Rouge.
LSU has played its 30 games at an average tempo of about 69 possessions per game, scoring 69.4 ppg (1.002 ppp) and allowing an average 68.4 ppg (0.985 ppp). LSU has turned the ball over on 19.2% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 15.6% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, LSU has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 31.4%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 70.7%. The LSU schedule has a strength of schedule of 0.6255 (#69).
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 69 to 70 possessions per game, producing 78.5 ppg (1.131 ppp) and allowing 67.6ppg (0.966 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 16.3% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 17.6% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 37.4% and 68.9% on the offensive and defensive ends. The Cats have a strength of schedule of 0.6926 (#24).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of the Cats with a theoretical margin of 18 points, 80-62 in a game played at a pace of 69 possessions for the Cats and 70 possessions for LSU. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 14 points, 87-73 at a pace of 71 possessions.
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Prior to the game, Derek Willis reportedly will play today, but Coach Calipari has not indicated whether Derek will start or come off the bench. Coach Calipari starts Skal Labissiere, Isaiah Briscoe, Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray, and Alex Poythress in yet another starting combination in an effort to find a lineup and rotation pattern that can sustain efficiency throughout the game.
LSU controls the opening tip, but fail to score. The Cats score first on a jump shot from the lane by Tyler Ulis, and a dunk by Alex Poythress. However, LSU takes advantage of two missed shots and 3 UK turnovers to pull on top 9-4, forcing Coach Calipari to take a quick timeout with 16:12 remaining in the game. After the timeout, the Cats trimmed the lead to 1 point, 9-8, but LSU responded by going back on top 14-9. The Cats then scored the next 8 points to move on top 17-14 at the under 12 media timeout, with 11:28 remaining in the first half.
In an extended 3 rd segment, the Cats allowed LSU to regain the lead at 19-18, and again at 21-20, but the Cats run the next 8 points, forcing LSU to take a timeout with 6:08 remaining and the Cats on top by 7, 28-21. The timeout is the under 8 media timeout, and LSU will have the ball. In a short 4 th segment, the Cats add a final bucket to their run before LSU stops the run with a pair of free throws. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats lead by 7, 30-23, and LSU will have a pair of free throws after the break.
After LSU trims the lead to 6, 36-30, the Cats finish the half on a 5-2 run that included a 3 pointer by Derek Willis, and a driving basket by Isaiah Briscoe. Cats lead by 9, 41-32 at the half.
Kentucky scored 41 points on 35 possessions (1.17 ppp) while LSU scored 32 points on 35 possessions (0.91 ppp). The Cats shot well in the first half making 17-30 (56.7%) including 1-4 (25.0%) from long range. LSU shot the ball very poorly, 10-33 overall (33.3%) which included 2-13 (15.4%) from long range. From the line, the Cats were 6-11 (54.5%) while LSU was 10-11 (90.9%). The Cats committed 6 turnovers, one for each 5.8 possessions, and the Cats forced LSU into 3 turnovers, one for each 11.7 possessions.
On the boards, the Cats won the battle 24-14, and Cats won the battle on the offensive glass 6-3 that resulted in a 3-2 advantage in second chance points for the Cats. LSU had an efficiency of 0.86 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 0.67 ppp on its 3-second chance possessions. Kentucky had an efficiency of 1.09 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 0.50 ppp on its 6-second chance possession. The Cats grabbed 35.3% of its misses and LSU grabbed 14.3% of its missed shots in the first half.
LSU opens the second half, and trim the UK lead to 7 points, but the Cats go on a run of 12-3 to expand their lead to 16 points, 53-37, forcing LSU to take a timeout with 15:37 remaining in the game. After the timeout, LSU scores two quick baskets to trim the lead to 12, and will have a free throw to complete a 3 point play after a timeout. The score stands 53-41. Over the balance of the second segment, the Cats manage to maintain their lead at 9 points, 55-46 at the under 12 media timeout. The Cats will have the ball after this media timeout for the first time today.
The teams exchange scores to a 62-52 UK lead. Then the Cats spurted to a 10-0 run forcing another LSU timeout with 7:42 remaining in the game. Following the under 8 media timeout, LSU will have the ball. Tom Leach has just reported that UK has 22 assists for their 29 made baskets. In the 4 th segment, the Cats begin to control the game on the Boards and expand the lead to 23 points, 86-63 at the under 4 media timeout, with the Cats in possession when the game resumes.
Cats win 94-77.
UK scored its 94 points on 71 possessions for the game, and LSU scored its 77 points on 73 possessions.
The Cats controlled the Boards, 45-29, and the Cats won the battle on the offensive glass 18-10. Kentucky used its 18 second chance possessions to score 18 second chance points, and LSU used its 10 second chance possessions to score 10 second chance points. LSU had an offensive efficiency of 0.918 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 10 second chance possessions. UK had 1.070 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 18 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 48.6% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LSU was able to convert 27.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 11-17 [64.7%]. LSU made 16-21 [76.2%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 38-72 overall [52.8%] and 7-18 from long range [38.9%]. For LSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a 23-42 [54.8%] and from long range, LSU hit 5-20 [25.0%].
The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 7.1 possessions. The Cats forced 12 LSU turnovers, one for every 6.1 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Friday night in the SEC Tournament's Quarterfinal Round against an opponent to be determined based on the remainder of SEC games on the last day of the season, and the winner of a second round game.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
A Player's Contribution To Final Scoring Margin
Submitted by Richard Cheeks