2015-16 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Reach SEC Championship Game Again
Have Opportunity To Get Win Over Texas A&M

The SEC Tournament's semi-final games were as different as night and day. In the first game, Texas A&M waltzed their way into a place in Sunday's Championship Game because LSU basically was a no show for the game. In the second game, Georgia challenged Kentucky and led for nearly the entire game, before the Cats pulled away late for a 13 point win . Now the table has been set for a Texas A&M and Kentucky rematch for the SEC Tournament championship.

But for a nanosecond of poor judgment by one UK player with only a few seconds remaining in overtime, the Cats would have gotten out of College Station last month with a win that would have sealed sole possession of the SEC regular season championship. Because of that technical foul, UK and Texas A&M ended the regular season in a tie.

The Cats will have an opportunity on Sunday to demonstrate its superiority in the entire SEC with another tournament championship, and with a neutral court win over the Aggies.

TEXAS A&M has played its 33 games at an average tempo of about 69 possessions per game, scoring 75.9 ppg (1.096 ppp) and allowing an average 65.0 ppg (0.942 ppp). TEXAS A&M has turned the ball over on 17.0% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 20.9% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, TEXAS A&M has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 34.8%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 70.0%. The TEXAS A&M schedule has a strength of schedule of 0.6635 (#50).

In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 69 to 70 possessions per game, producing 79.6 ppg (1.152 ppp) and allowing 68.0 ppg (0.977 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 15.9% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 17.7% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats' rebounding rates have been 38.0% and 68.6% on the offensive and defensive ends. The Cats have a strength of schedule of 0.6815 (#36).

Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of the Cats with a theoretical margin of 4 points, 74-70 in a game played at a pace of 69 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for TEXAS A&M. Pomeroy has this as a 2 point Kentucky favorite, 73-71, at a pace of 66 possessions. Vegas opens with UK a 4 point favorite, and within a few hours, the line has slipped to 3 ½ points.

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 and get a lob dunk by Jamal Murray on an assist to Skal Labissiere. Following a pair of Tyler Ulis free throws, TAMU gets a 3 point play and draws Skal Labissiere's 2 nd foul. Collins for A&M picks up his second foul early, and Marcus Lee commits his second foul of the game at the under 16 media timeout. At the first break, the Cats lead 11-7 and TAMU will have the ball. Isaac Humphries enters the game at the break. In the second segment, A&M pulled even at 15 and again at 17, and after making one of two free throws, the Cats eased back into a 1 point lead, 18-17 at the under 12 media timeout.

In the third segment, the Cats did not manage to score a point, and TAMU scored 3 to move into a 2 point lead at the under 8 media timeout, 20-18. After the break, Alex Poythress will have a free throw opportunity to tie the game again. Alex Poythress made 1 of 2. After pulling even at 23, 25, 28, and 30, the Cats trail 33-30 at the under 4 media timeout, with 3:35 remaining in the first half and TAMU in possession.

Cats trail the Aggies by 4, 38-34, at the half.

Kentucky scored 34 points on 34 possessions (1.00 ppp) while TEXAS A&M scored 38 points on 33 possessions (1.15 ppp). The Cats shot well in the first half making 13-25 (52.0%) including 2-6 (33.3%) from long range. TEXAS A&M shot the ball pooly, 13-30 overall (43.3%) which included 4-12 (33.3%) from long range. From the line, the Cats were 6-10 (60.0%) while TEXAS A&M was 8-9 (88.9%). The Cats committed 7 turnovers, one for each 4.9 possessions, and the Cats forced TEXAS A&M into 6 turnovers, one for each 5.5 possessions.

On the boards, the Aggies won the battle 18-14, and the Aggies won the battle on the offensive glass 7-3 that resulted in an 5-1 advantage in second chance points for the Aggies. TEXAS A&M had an efficiency of 1.00 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and 0.72 ppp on its 7-second chance possessions. Kentucky had an efficiency of 0.97 ppp on its 34 first chance possessions and 0.33 ppp on its 3-second chance possession. The Cats grabbed 21.4% of its misses and TEXAS A&M grabbed 38.9% of its missed shots in the first half.

Skal Labissiere, Marcus Lee, and Alex Poythress each have 2 fouls at the half, while TAMU has two players with a pair of fouls, Davis and Collins.

Second Half:

Kentucky opens the second half with a contested 3 pointer by Jamal Murray, but TAMU answered the call, rebuilding their lead to 5 points, 42-37. The Cats then pulled to within 2 on a 3 pointer by Derek Willis. After TAMU moved back on top by its halftime margin or 4, 44-40, the Cats scored 8 to only 1 for TAMU to move on top by 3 points, 48-45 with 14:54 to play. TAMU takes a timeout, which becomes the under 16 media timeout. After extending its lead to a game high 5 points, 50-45, the Cats allow the Aggies to charge back into the lead, 53-50 on a basket and back to back 3 point plays. The Aggies have the ball and a 1 point lead, 53-52, at the under 12 media timeout.

In the third segment, the Cats regained the lead, and maintained the lead at 2 points, 60-58, at the under 8 media timeout with 6:25 remaining in the game. TAMU will have the ball after this tv timeout. In an abbreviated 4 th segment, the Cats move on top by 7, 67-60 on a second chance 3 pointer by Jamal Murray from the right corner forcing TAMU to take a timeout with 3:52 remaining in the game.

Out of the timeout, TAMU gets a second chance basket, and following a block of a shot by Alex Poythress, TAMU gets a run out basket to trim the lead back to 3, 67-64, forcing a Coach Calipari to take a timeout. After the timeout, Tyler Ulis and then Alex Poythress make a pair of free throws, but TAMU at the other end make a basket in the paint and from 3 point range following offensive rebounds. When Jamal Murray commits a turnover, TAMU gets the ball down 2, 71-69, inside the last minute, and TAMU takes a timeout, their last, with 49 seconds remaining in the game and 22 seconds left on the shot clock.

TAMU missed and fouled Alex Poythress with 39 seconds remaining. Alex Poythress missed the front end. TAMU scores to tie the game, 71-71, with 15 seconds remaining. Coach Calipari takes a timeout to plan the final possession. Tyler Ulis missed at the buzzer, and for the 4 th time in this series there will be overtime.

The Cats control the tip for overtime. Tyler Ulis gets the first score of the OT, a 3 pointer, but on the next TAMU trip, Alex Poythress fouls out. Inside the last minute, Derek Willis drains a 3 pointer to lift the Cats up by 3, and on the next possession, Jamal Murray makes a 3 pointer to put the Cats up by 6. Caruso makes a quick basket to trim it to 4 points, and TAMU uses their last timeout with 10.2 seconds remaining in the OT period. Cats fail to inbound the ball, and Dominique Hawkins calls a timeout. The Cats get the ball into Tyler Ulis who is fouled and goes to the line.

Cats win 82-77 to claim their 29 th SEC Tournament championship.


UK scored its 82 points on 72 possessions for the game, and TEXAS A&M scored its 77 points on 71 possessions.

The Aggies controlled the Boards, 41-35, and the Aggies won the battle on the offensive glass 17-11. Kentucky used its 11 second chance possessions to score 14 second chance points, and TEXAS A&M used its 17 second chance possessions to score 14 second chance points. TEXAS A&M had an offensive efficiency of 0.887 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 0.824 ppp for its 17 second chance possessions. UK had 0.944 ppp on its 72 first chance possessions and 1.273 ppp on its 11 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 31.4% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TEXAS A&M was able to convert 41.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 16-24 [66.7%]. TEXAS A&M made 15-22 [68.2%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-62 overall [48.3%] and 10-24 from long range [41.7%]. For TEXAS A&M, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a 22-43 [51.2%] and from long range, TEXAS A&M hit 6-23 [26.1%].

The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 5.5 possessions. The Cats forced 13 TEXAS A&M turnovers, one for every 5.5 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: The Cats will next play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at a location and against an opponent that the NCAA will announce in about 2 hours.

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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