2016-17 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Take On Michigan State
In 2016 Champion's Classic

The Cats got off to a very slow start against Canisius on Sunday night, trailing by 7 points at the first media timeout, and trailing most of the first half before a late surge in the last 2 minutes put the Cats on top by 9 points at the half. In the second half, the Cats expanded their lead to 29 points before the team seemed to sputter to the finish line, winning by 24 at the end.

Rebounding was a major issue for the Cats for their second consecutive game of this young season. Through two games, the Cats have been outrebounded 72-67 overall, and 28-26 on the offensive boards. Prior Calipari teams have been beasts on the boards, earning a living on offensive rebounds that produce a bevy of second chance points. Of course, the rebounding woes are both on the offensive and defensive ends of the court.

Three point shooting has also been problematic in the early going. Mychal Mulder has made three of his five attempts from beyond the arc in his 10 minutes of floor time. The rest of this team has been 6-29 (20.7%). While the Cats' 3 point shooting has been off, the Cats' defense against shooting by its opponents has been less effective than prior Calipari teams too. In these first two games, the opponents have made 55% of their shots inside the arc. The Cats' interior defense has been lacking as compared to previous teams.

Now it is time to take on Michigan State in the Champions Classic, this year played at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This is the sixth game in this series involving Duke, Kansas, and Michigan State, and concludes the second three game cycle. In the first cycle, the Cats beat Kansas and lost to Duke and Michigan State. In the second cycle, the Cats have beaten Kansas and Duke, and could get the sweep on Tuesday with a win over Michigan State.

Tom Izzo teams battle on the boards as strongly as any team in D1 basketball, and he knows how to exploit the Cats' soft interior defense. In order to beat Michigan State on Tuesday, these Cats will have to shore up these areas of weakness.

Michigan State opened the season on Friday against #10 Arizona, losing a close one by 2 points, 65-63. The Spartans also played two exhibitions games prior to their Arizona loss. They took care of business against Northwood University by 24, 93-69, and they beat Saginaw Valley State by 10, 87-77. They enter this game as the #15 team in the Pomeroy ratings with an ANE of 0.192 ppp. The Cats enter this game at #4 with an ANE of 0.256 ppp. The Adjusted Net Efficiency (ANE) analysis for this match up indicates a game played at a pace of 70 possessions, with the Cats winning by 2 points, 72-70. Pomeroy sees this game with UK having a 4-point advantage, 75-71 played at a pace of 70 possessions.

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Game Summary:

Coach Calipari uses the same starting lineup for the third consecutive game: Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, Derek Willis, Malik Monk, De'Aaron Fox, and Isaiah Briscoe in the starting lineup.

Kentucky wins the opening tip. The Cats get the opening score, but MSU responds with the next 5 points to move on top 5-2. The Cats catch up at 7-7 on a 3 pointer by Malik Monk, and Malik Monk puts the Cats back into the lead with his second 3 pointer 10-9 at the under 16 media timeout, with 14:42 remaining in the first half. After the timeout, De'Aaron Fox will have a pair of free throws. De'Aaron Fox made both free throws to give the Cats a 3 point lead, but MSU answered with a 3 pointer, their 3 rd of the game. However, Malik Monk responded with his 3 rd 3 pointer to lift the Cats back into the 3 point lead, 15-12 at the under 12 media timeout, with 11:10 remaining, and MSU in possession.

In the third segment, the Cats move up by 9 points, 23-14, on the strength of 4-7 shooting against 3 MSU turnovers on only 6 possessions. The final set of possessions were a blocked shot by Derek Willis with a ¾ court outlet pass to Isaiah Briscoe for a layup, prompting a MSU timeout with 7:23 remaining in the first half. After the timeout, the Cats moved out to a 12 point lead, 26-14, but MSU stopped the UK run with a second chance basket and a 3 pointer to trim the lead from 12 to 7 points, 26-19, at the under 4 media timeout. Edrice (BAM) Adebayo will be on the line for a 1 and 1 free throw opportunity after the break.

MSU cuts the lead to 4 points, 30-26, but the Cats get the last 4 points of the half to lead by 8, 34-26 at the half.

The Cats scored 34 points on 38 possessions, 0.895 points per possession, and Michigan State managed their 26 points on 37 possessions, 0.703 ppp. The Cats made 37.9% of their first half shots, including 4-12 (33.3%) from outside the arc. Michigan State managed to make 36.7% of their first half shots, including 3-11 (27.3%) from outside the arc.

The Cats made 8 of 9 free throws (88.9%) and Michigan State made 1 of 4 from the charity line (25.0%).

On the Boards, the Spartans controlled the glass 22-18 overall, and 6-3 on the offensive glass. Despite their offensive rebounding advantage, Kentucky won the second chance points 4-3. The Cats secured an anemic 15.8% of their misses and allowed Michigan State to grab 28.6% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

Kentucky opens play in the second half. The teams trade scores for the first 4 minutes, but Malik Monk's fourth 3 pointer of the game lifted the Cats to a 12 point lead, 43-31, at the under 16 media timeout with 15:03 remaining. In the second segment, the Cats exend their lead to a game high 14 points, 51-37. MSU trims one point from the lead at the under 12 media timeout, with the Cats up 51-38 and in possession of the ball.

The Cats extend their lead to 18 points, 56-38, forcing a MSU timeout with 8:11 remaining in the game. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats lead by 21, 67-46.

Coach Calipari empties his bench with 1:37 remaining, leading by 21, 69-48, which is also the final score of the game.


UK scored its 69 points in a total of 73 possessions (0.945 ppp) for the game, and Michigan State scored its 48 points on a total of 73 possessions 0.657 ppp).

Kentucky and Michigan State fought on even terms on the Boards, 42-42, and Michigan State won the battle of the offensive glass 12-11. Kentucky used its 11 second chance possessions to score 13 second chance points, and Michigan State used its 12 second chance possessions to score 8 second chance points. Michigan State had an offensive efficiency of 0.548 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 0.667 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 0.767 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 1.182 ppp on its 11 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 26.8%of its misses as offensive rebounds while Michigan State was able to convert 27.9% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 16-20 [80.0%]. Michigan State made 3-9 [33.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 23-61 overall [37.7%] and 7-22 from long range [31.8%]. For Michigan State, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 15-35 [42.9%] and from long range, Michigan State hit 5-25 [20.0%].

The Cats committed 14 turnovers, one for every 5.2 possessions. The Cats forced 20 Michigan State turnovers, one for every 3.6 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Sunday night in Rupp Arena where the Cats will take on Duquense in the fourth regular season game of the 2016-17 season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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