2015-16 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Open 2017 SEC Season At Mississippi

The non-conference portion of the schedule is largely complete, and the Cats move into the annual SEC wars with a 10-2 record, having dropped its annual Yuletide war of hardwood against the Louisville Cards on Wednesday by 3 points. For the record, the loss ends the 4 game UK win streak against the Cards, and while the loss stings, it is not the end of the season for this Kentucky team.

For the record, Calipari 8-Pitino 2.

Not to put too fine a point on the situation, the NCAA is in its latter stages of its improper player benefits investigation of the Louisville basketball program, and when its final judgment comes down, it is very possible that Coach Pitino's college coaching days will end. This week, Coach Pitino told his team, prior to their game against the Cats, “look guys. I don't know how many more Kentucky versus Louisville games I have left. I hope I coach five, seven, or eight more of them, but you have to really enjoy it and have fun, because you are not going to see this experience too much.”

Sounds as if Coach Pitino knows the clock on his coaching career may be ticking down.

As for this game, there were no real surprises.

•  Kentucky missed critical free throws that cost them the game in some respects, but Kentucky has been shooting free throws poorly most of this season.

•  Kentucky lost the rebound battle, but this Kentucky team has struggled on the boards most of this season.

•  Kentucky shot the ball poorly from the perimeter, but perimeter shooting has been suspect all season, except for the UNC game. This is a double-edge sword, right; live by the sword-die by the sword. The UNC game would have been a loss but for extraordinary perimeter shooting. I suggest the extraordinary perimeter shooting is the exception to the norm here, not the poor shooting against Louisville.

•  Louisville's defense disrupted Kentucky's ability to score, but Louisville's defense has done that most of the season.

•  Kentucky struggled defensively at the three and four spots. Kentucky has struggled defensively at these positions most of the season.

Yes, the game played out just about the way these teams' season to date have played out, with Louisville getting out with a hard fought 3 point win, not decided until the final pair of possessions.

The team exited the Yum Center on Wednesday night and headed home to celebrate Christmas with their families. They will return to Coach Calipari on December 26 at which time Camp Cal will begin in earnest for the next 3 weeks. During Camp Cal, the team will focus on its shortcomings, including defense at the three and four spots, shot selection, and a building the will to rebound. During Camp Cal, the focused learning will only suspend for games.

These last two games represent why college basketball is so popular. These games demonstrate how teams should play this game. In the UNC game, questions loomed about whether either team could or would play defense and the UK-UL war leaves the sense that neither team could muster an offense. Nevertheless, both games were very competitive involving teams among the nation's elite.

Now, the Cats open their SEC schedule on the road at Mississippi.

MISSISSIPPI enters the game with a 9-3 record while the Cats left the Yum Center for their Christmas break with a 10-2 record. The Rebels losses have been to #21 Creighton by 9 on a neutral court, to #67 Middle Tennessee by 15 at home, and at #35 Virginia Tech by 5. Mississippi's most impressive win was over #81 Memphis by 8 at home.

Mississippi enters this game with an ANE of 0.065 points per possession against a strength of schedule of -0.0054 ppp (#196). The Cats enter this game with an ANE of 0.304 ppp against a strength of schedule of 0.0337 ppp (#76). The ANE analysis indicates a Kentucky win by 13 points, 85-72 at apace of 79 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 1.080 ppp and 0.915 ppp. Pomeroy sees this game in Kentucky's favor by 13 points, 90-77 at a pace of 78 possessions.

Use the following link to see how other UK fans handicap this game at 247Sports, The Cats Pause message board:

You can participate in the score prediction contest at 247Sports at the following link:

Game Summary:

Coach Calipari starts Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, De'Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, and Wenyen Gabriel. Prior to the game, Coach Calipari indicated that Tai Wynyard would be the first big man off the bench tonight to give Edrice (BAM) Adebayo a breather. This is a remarkable shift in the game rotation, indicating displeasure with the game production by Derek Willis and Sacha Killeya-Jones.

Mississippi controls the opening tip and take a quick shot from the right elbow. The Cats rebound the missed shot, and Isaiah Briscoe misses a drive to the basket. Mississippi breaks the scoring ice and Isaiah Briscoe ties the score with a pair of free throws, and add a pair of baskets to their total to move on top 6-2. Mississippi pulls to within 1 with a 3 pointer, 6-5, and again 8-7, but the Cats then score 9 straight to move on top 17-7, forcing Mississippi to take a timeout 1 sec prior to the scheduled media timeout, at 16:01 on the clock.

With 14:50 to go, Tai Wynyard makes his first appearance, giving Edrice (BAM) Adebayo a breather. Tai Wynyard got 2 minutes of action before Edrice (BAM) Adebayo returned. In the second segment, the Cats extend their lead from 10 to 13 points, 26-13 at the under 12 media timeout with 11:57 remaining. In the third segment, the Cats maintain their lead at 15 points, 36-21. In the first 12 minutes, the Cats have made 60% of their shots to 32% for Mississippi. Each team has 4 turnovers, and Mississippi has a 5-3 advantage on the offensive glass.

In the fourth segment, the Cats extended its lead to 19 points, 46-27 at the under 4 media timeout with 4:34 remaining. The Cats lead by 21, 60-39, at the half.

The 60 points in the first half is the most points scored in a first half by a Calipari coached Kentucky team. The Cats scored 60 points on 44 possessions, 1.364 points per possession, and MISSISSIPPI managed their 39 points on 44 possessions, 0.886 ppp. The Cats made 63.2% (24-38) of their first half shots, including 5-7 (71.4%) from outside the arc. MISSISSIPPI managed to make 34.1% (14-41) of their first half shots, including 2-10 (20.0%) from outside the arc.

The Cats made 7-10 free throws (70.0%) and MISSISSIPPI made 9-9 (100.0%) in the first half.

The Cats committed 6 turnovers while forcing MISSISSIPPI to commit 8.

On the Boards, the Rebels outrebounded the Cats 23-21 in the first half, and Mississippi won on the offensive glass, 9-3 in the first half. MISSISSIPPI outscored the Cats 10-0 on second chance points. The Cats secured 17.6% of their misses and allowed MISSISSIPPI to grab 33.3% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

The Cats open the second half with their original starting lineup. In the opening segment, the Cats extend their lead to 24 points, 70-46 at the under 16 media timeout even though the Cats only made 4 of 10 shots. In the second segment, Mississippi trimmed the Kentucky 24 point lead to 19 points, 74-55 at the under 12 media timeout.

Mississippi scored on its first two possessions of the third segment to trim the lead to only 15 points, 74-59. At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats lead by 16, 79-63. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats lead by 21, 89-68.

With 1:11 to go and the Cats on top 99-73, Coach Calipari empties his bench, and it is Calipari Time. The Cats scored their 99 points on 79 possessions. Isaiah Briscoe earned a triple double in this game, the second by a Cat this season, and only the third triple double in the history of this program. Cats win 99-76.


UK scored its 99 points on 81 possessions (1.222 ppp) for the game, and MISSISSIPPI scored its 76 points on 81 possessions (0.938 ppp).

Mississippi won the battle of the boards 45-42, and Mississippi won the battle of the offensive glass 14-11. Kentucky used its 11 second chance possessions to score 14 second chance points, and MISSISSIPPI used its 14 second chance possessions to score 13 second chance points. MISSISSIPPI had an offensive efficiency of 0.778 ppp on its 81 first chance possessions and 0.929 ppp for its 14 second chance possessions. UK had 1.049 ppp on its 81 first chance possessions and 1.273 ppp on its 11 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 26.2% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI was able to convert 31.1% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 17-24 [70.8%]. MISSISSIPPI made 16-17 [94.1%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 37-74 overall [50.0%] and 8-18 from long range [44.4%]. For MISSISSIPPI , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 21-50 [42.0%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI hit 6-22 [27.3%].

The Cats committed 8 turnovers, one for every 10.1 possessions. The Cats forced 15 MISSISSIPPI turnovers, one for every 5.4 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at 9:00 pm at Rupp Arena against Texas A&M in the fourteenth regular season game and second SEC game of the 2016-17 season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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