2016-17 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Return To Rupp To Face Duquesne
And Fix Rebounding Issues

Malik Monk must have decided that there is no better time or place for a coming out party for a boy from Arkansas playing his college basketball at Kentucky than the Champions’ Classic at Madison Square Garden on national TV.  After teasing the Big Blue Nation through the pre-season, and then struggling in the tune up games against Stephen F. Austin and Canisius, Malik Monk erupted in New York City with 23 points primarily due to 7-11 shooting from outside the arc.  When Isaiah Briscoe’s 21 point game is added to the mix, the Cats were able to dispense of a strong Michigan State team by 21 points, 69-48 on one of the biggest stages in college basketball.

 Certainly, Coach Calipari is right that this team is very young, with a long way to go before it really hits its stride.  However, a 3-0 start that includes this impressive handling of any Michigan State Spartan group is noteworthy.  CBS has moved the Cats into their #1 position on the strength of this game, and the Cats have eased up to the #3 position in the Pomeroy ratings.  Whether they are #1, #2, #3, or some other place within the top 5 is much less important than the fact that the Cats are again in this conversation.

 Calipari now has 3 games at Rupp and about 10 days to “grow” this team before he must again board a plane for the Bahamas to face Arizona State on November 28.  The next tune up game will be on Sunday evening against Duquesne.  The areas requiring attention for this team include field goal shooting, currently at 46.4% overall and only 29.1% from the arc, and rebounding.  Through three games, the Cats have been outworked on the Boards, 116-107 and 41-35 on the offensive glass which has reduced the second chance point production for this team.  This is very uncharacteristic of a Coach Calipari team.  Because of these issues, this team’s early adjusted offensive efficiency (AOE) is 1.085 ppp is uncharacteristically low for a Coach Calipari team at UK.  Only the 2012-13 team finished with an AOE below 1.10 ppp, at 1.093 ppp.

 Defensively, this team has posted impressive numbers for the start of a season with an adjusted defensive efficiency (ADE) of 0.829 ppp.  As a basis of comparison, the 2015-16 team finished with an ADE of 0.938 ppp, and the only Calipari team to finish a season with a lower ADE was the phenomenal defensive performance in 2014-15 at 0.810 ppp which rewrote the defensive record books.

 Duquesne has already played four games, with a 2-2 record.  The Dukes have beaten #302 Loyola MD and #325 St. Francis PA by 5 and 14, respectively.  The loses came at the hands at #106 Penn St. by 8, and against #219 Canisius by 10.  They enter this game as the #187 team in the Pomeroy ratings with an ANE of -0.108 ppp against an early schedule strength of -0.0942 ppp.  The Cats enter this game at #3 with an ANE of 0.260 ppp against an early schedule strength of 0.0109 ppp.  The Adjusted Net Efficiency (ANE) analysis for this match up indicates a game played at a pace of 74 possessions, with the Cats winning by 32 points, 89-57 with game efficiencies of 1.203 ppp and 0.770 ppp.  Pomeroy sees this game with UK having a 26-point advantage, 92-66 played at a pace of 77 possessions.

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Game Summary:

Coach Calipari will experiment with his starting lineup for the first time this season, starting Wenyen Gabriel instead of Derek Willis. The other four starters remain the same: Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, Malik Monk, De'Aaron Fox, and Isaiah Briscoe.

Kentucky wins the opening tip and Wenyen Gabriel turns it over before the Cats can get a shot. The Dukes get the first score. After ties at 2-2 and 4-4, the Cats run 5 straight and lead 11-6 at the under 16 media timeout with 14:36 remaining in the first half. In the second segment, the Cats extend their lead to 10 points, 21-11, at the under 12 media timeout with 11:17 remaining. The Cats will have the ball after this timeout.

In the first 9 minutes, each team has had 17 possessions (80 to 85 pace). The Cats are leading on the boards. At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats lead stands at 12 points, 26-14, and the Dukes will have a pair of free throws to start the fourth segment of the first half. In the fourth segment, the Cats extend their lead to 18 points, 37-19 at the under 4 media timeout, and De'Aaron Fox will have a pair of free throws after the timeout.

De'Aaron Fox made both of his free throws, and following a pair of Duquesne free throws, De'Aaron Fox made 1 of 2 from the line, and on a break following a missed shot, De'Aaron Fox hit a 15 foot jump shot. The Dukes took a time out with 2:50 remaining down, by 21. The Cats go to the locker room with a 27 point lead, 50-23.

The Cats scored 50 points on 40 possessions, 1.250 points per possession, and Duquesne managed their 23 points on 40 possessions, 0.575 ppp. The Cats made 45.9% of their first half shots, including 4-12 (33.3%) from outside the arc. Duquesne managed to make 20.7% of their first half shots, including 2-14 (14.3%) from outside the arc.

The Cats made 12 of 16 free throws (75.0%) and Duquesne made 9-10 from the charity line (90.0%).

On the Boards, the Cats controlled the glass 26-18 overall, and 7-4 on the offensive glass. Kentucky won the second chance points 5-2. The Cats secured a low 33.3% of their misses and allowed Duquesne to grab 17.4% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

Kentucky opens play in the second half with two turnovers and two missed shots before Isaiah Briscoe makes a layup. At the under 16 media timeout, the Cats maintain the lead at 27 points, 56-29. In the second segment, the Cats move out to a 32 point lead, 65-33.

In the third segment, the Cats continue to advance their lead, which stands at 35 points, 73-38, at the under 8 media timeout. With 3 minutes to play and the Cats leading 86-48, Coach Calipari begins to empty his bench. The Cats win by 34 points, 93-59.


UK scored its 93 points in a total of 77 possessions (1.208 ppp) for the game, and Duquesne scored its 59 points on a total of 77 possessions 0.766 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards 49-32, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 16-7. Kentucky used its 16 second chance possessions to score 16 second chance points, and Duquesne used its 7 second chance possessions to score 7 second chance points. Duquesne had an offensive efficiency of 0.675 ppp on its 77 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 7 second chance possessions. UK had 1.000 ppp on its 77 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 16 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 39.0%of its misses as offensive rebounds while Duquesne was able to convert 17.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 16-21 [76.2%]. Duquesne made 20-22 [90.9%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 35-76 overall [46.1%] and 7-26 from long range [26.9%]. For Duquesne, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 12-31 [38.7%] and from long range, Duquesne hit 5-25 [20.0%].

The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 7.0 possessions. The Cats forced 18 Duquesne turnovers, one for every 4.3 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Wednesday afternoon in Rupp Arena where the Cats will take on Cleveland State in the fifth regular season game of the 2016-17 season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks

To Cats Face Cleveland State Prior to Thanksgiving

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