2015-16 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Open Post Season In SEC Quarterfinals Against Alabama

The regular season has come and gone; the Cats finished tied for the SEC regular season championship with Texas A&M, and #8 in the final regular season Pomeroy ratings. On Friday night, the Cats will start their post season in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament against the Alabama Crimson Tide, an 8 point winner over Mississippi in the Tournament's second round on Thursday evening.

The Cats and the Tide played twice this season, with the Cats winning both games, by 16 in Tuscaloosa and by 25 at Rupp Arena.

ALABAMA has played its 31 games at an average tempo of about 67 possessions per game, scoring 67.1 ppg (0.998 ppp) and allowing an average 67.3 ppg (0.999 ppp). ALABAMA has turned the ball over on 19.7% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 18.3% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, ALABAMA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 28.3%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 65.5%. The ALABAMA schedule has a strength of schedule of 0.6969 (#24).

In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 possessions per game, producing 79.0 ppg (1.136 ppp) and allowing 67.9ppg (0.969 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 37.8% and 69.0% on the offensive and defensive ends. The Cats have a strength of schedule of 0.6839 (#35).

Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of the Cats with a theoretical margin of 11 points, 76-65 in a game played at a pace of 68 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for ALABAMA. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky's favor by 8 points, 72-64 at a pace of 64 possessions.

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 Skal Labissiere, Isaiah Briscoe, Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray, and Alex Poythress.

The Cats control the opening tip, but turn the ball over to Alabama on its first trip into offensive court. After a ‘Bama missed shot, Jamal Murray gets a second chance basket to get the first score of the game. After Alabama ties the score with a second chance score of its own, the Cats gets a Alex Poythress 3 pointer, also on a second chance possession. Alabama matches the UK 3 pointer with a 3 pointer of its own. Skal Labissiere makes a 5 foot hook shot to give the Cats a 2 point lead, 7-5 at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, the Cats move on top by 5 points on a 3 point play by Isaiah Briscoe, but Alabama takes advantage of 3 UK turnovers in the segment to score the next 7 points to move on top by 2 points, 12-10 at the under 12 media timeout.

In the third segment, Derek Willis starts a Cat comeback with a 3 pointer, followed by a 3 pointer by Dominique Hawkins, and a floater by Dominique Hawkins. After Skal Labissiere made 1 of 2 free throws, Alex Poythress hit a 12 foot baseline jump shot to lift the Cats into a 6 point lead, 21-15, forcing an Alabama timeout with 8:06 remaining in the first half. During the third segment, Alabama committed 3 turnovers, including 2 offensive fouls sending Obasahan to the bench with 2 fouls.

In the 4 th segment, the Cats get a 3 point play by Tyler Ulis and a 3 pointer by Jamal Murray to extend their lead from 6 to 8 points at the under 4 media timeout, 27-19. Tyler Ulis also picked up his 2 nd foul of the game, sending him to the bench near the end of the segment. The Cats take a 10 point lead, 37-27 to the locker room.

Kentucky scored 37 points on 29 possessions (1.28 ppp) while ALABAMA scored 27 points on 29 possessions (0.93 ppp). The Cats shot well in the first half making 14-26 (53.8%) including 6-10 (60.0%) from long range. ALABAMA shot the ball poorly, 10-26 overall (38.5%) which included 5-12 (41.7%) from long range. From the line, the Cats were 3-4 (75.0%) while ALABAMA was 2-4 (50.0%). The Cats committed 7 turnovers, one for each 4.1 possessions, and the Cats forced ALABAMA into 8 turnovers, one for each 3.6 possessions.

On the boards, the Cats won the battle 15-14, but Alabama won the battle on the offensive glass 7-5 that resulted in a 7-6 advantage in second chance points for the Tide. ALABAMA had an efficiency of 0.69 ppp on its 29 first chance possessions and 1.00 ppp on its 7-second chance possessions. Kentucky had an efficiency of 1.07 ppp on its 29 first chance possessions and 1.20 ppp on its 5-second chance possession. The Cats grabbed 41.7% of its misses and ALABAMA grabbed 41.2% of its missed shots in the first half.

Second Half:

Kentucky opens play in the second half with an empty possession, and Obasahan makes a basket, a 3 point play, and a basket in the segment as Alabama trims the UK lead to as few as 7 points, and following a pair of free throws by Alex Poythress, the Cats lead by 9, 46-37, at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, Tyler Ulis makes back to back 3 pointers to push the UK lead to 15 points, 52-37, forcing another Alabama timeout with 14:17 remaining in the game. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats maintain their lead at 15 points, 57-42. The teams complete the 3 rd segment on even terms with the Cats maintaining their 15 point lead, 67-52, at the under 8 media timeout. In the 4 th segment, a 3 pointer by Jamal Murray, a basket by Tyler Ulis, and a run out basket by Derek Willis extends the lead to a game high 19 points, 74-55, forcing another Alabama timeout with 5:05 remaining in the game. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats hold a 21 point lead, 76-55.

The Cats continue to extend their lead to 26 points, 83-57, forcing Alabama to take another timeout with 2:14 remaining in the game. Cats win 85-59.


UK scored its 85 points on 58 possessions for the game, and ALABAMA scored its 59 points on 58 possessions.

The Cats controlled the Boards, 31-27, but Alabama won the battle on the offensive glass 12-11. Kentucky used its 11 second chance possessions to score 17 second chance points, and ALABAMA used its 12 second chance possessions to score 13 second chance points. ALABAMA had an offensive efficiency of 0.793 ppp on its 58 first chance possessions and 1.083 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 1.172 ppp on its 58 first chance possessions and 1.546 ppp on its 11 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 42.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while ALABAMA was able to convert 37.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 12-16 [75.0%]. ALABAMA made 12-19 [63.2%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 30-55 overall [54.5%] and 13-22 from long range [59.1%]. For ALABAMA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a 10-22 [45.5%] and from long range, ALABAMA hit 9-26 [34.6%].

The Cats committed 7 turnovers, one for every 8.3 possessions. The Cats forced 13 ALABAMA turnovers, one for every 4.5 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon in the SEC Tournament's Semifinal Round against an opponent to be determined from the winner of the Quarterfinal game between Georgia and South Carolina.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Individual Efficiency Values are NOT adjusted for
Schedule Strength or Venue Weighting
Individual Efficiency Values are based on the following Criteria:

    1. A Player's Contribution To Final Scoring Margin
      Is A Measure New in 2015-16
      As such, it is in an experimental stage.
      for more information about this potential new tracking parameter.


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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