BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2015-16 Season Analytical Writings
The Cats' string of 20+ point SEC wins to begin a conference season ended on Tuesday night in Nashville. The Commodores managed to stay within reach of the Cats to the final minute of the basketball game before falling to the Cats 87-81 in Nashville. While it is not a 20+ SEC victory, it is nonetheless another SEC road win, and the Cats remain unbeaten in four starts this SEC season.
In getting this 6 point win, the Cats overcame two major impediments to even winning.
First, Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox each committed two fouls within the first 3 minutes of the game, and the number 1 reserve guard, Dominique Hawkins committed 2 fouls within the next four minutes of the game. Coach Calipari found it necessary to violate his long standing coaching criteria that any player sits for the balance of the first half upon committing a second foul, and Coach Calipari sent both Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox back into the game for significant minutes of the first half.
Second, for the first time this season, the Cats found it almost impossible to make a 3 point shot, going 1 for 7 in the game. Despite the foul trouble and the poor perimeter shooting, the Cats still managed to get out of Nashville with a road win.
Road wins in the SEC usually come at a premium. However, this year has been the antithesis of this historical condition. There have been 26 SEC games thus far, and the visiting team has won 17 of these 26 games, leaving 9 home wins. Only Kentucky (2), Florida (2), and South Carolina (1) have won all their home games, and only Texas A&M (2) and Missouri (1) are winless on the road so far this season.
This Saturday, the Cats return to Rupp Arena and will host Bruce Pearl's Auburn Tigers.
AUBURN enters the game with a 11-5; 1-3 record. The Tigers lost games to #18 Purdue by 25 at a neutral site, #49 Georgia by 12 at home, at #64 Vanderbilt by 19, to #96 Mississippi by 3 at home, and to #151 Boston College by 1 at a neutral location. The Tigers' most impressive win this season has been over #29 Texas Tech by 2 at a neutral location. AUBURN enters this game with an ANE of 0.071 points per possession against a strength of schedule of 0.0210 ppp (#98). The Cats enter this game with an ANE of 0.337 ppp against a strength of schedule of 0.0523 ppp (#33). The ANE analysis indicates a Kentucky win by 27 points, 92-65 at apace of 81 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 1.131 ppp and 0.799 ppp. Pomeroy sees this game in Kentucky's favor by 25 points, 99-74 at a pace of 81 possessions.
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Coach Calipari starts Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, De'Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, and Wenyen Gabriel.
Auburn controls the opening tip and the Tigers waste no time getting the games first points on a layup. The Cats answer with a second chance 3 pointer. After Auburn countered the Kentucky 3 with a 3 pointer of their own, the teams traded scores to a UK lead of 1 point, 10-9, at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, Auburn scores on an inbounds play under their basket to regain a 1 point lead, 11-10, but the Cats then score the next 10 points, part of a 17-7 run to move on top 27-18. Coach Pearl takes a timeout with 11:58 remaining.
In a very sluggish third segment, the Cats committed 4 turnovers, and 1 for 5 from the free throw line which included missing the first of a bonus trip while Auburn made 2 of 5 shots and 3 turnovers to trim the lead to 5 points, 28-23. However, in the last 30 seconds of the segment, De'Aaron Fox hit a 3 pointer, and following another Auburn turnover, Mychal Mulder hit a 3 pointer from the corner to lift the Cats to an 11 point lead, 34-23. Coach Pearl called another time out with 7:57 remaining.
After the Cats extend the lead to 12 points, Auburn scores 5 straight points and Coach Calipari takes a timeout with the Cats up 37-30. The Cats stop the Auburn surge and continue to hold a lead of 11, 41-30, at the under 4 media timeout with 3:40 remaining in the first half. The Cats lead by 12, 51-39, at the half.
The Cats scored 51 points on 37 possessions, 1.378 points per possession, and AUBURN managed their 39 points on 37 possessions, 1.055 ppp. The Cats made 58.1% (18-31) of their first half shots, including 8-12 (66.7%) from outside the arc. AUBURN managed to make 50.0% (17-34) of their first half shots, including 4-7 (57.1%) from outside the arc.
The Cats made 7-13 free throws (53.8%) and AUBURN made 1-2 (50.0%) in the first half.
The Cats committed 7 turnovers while forcing AUBURN to commit 8.
On the Boards, the Cats outrebounded the Tigers 18-14 in the first half, and the Cats had a 8-6 advantage on offensive rebounds. The Cats used its 6 second chance possessions to score 7 second chance point while AUBURN used its 6 second chance possessions to score 12 points. The Cats secured 50.0% of their misses and allowed AUBURN to grab 37.5% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
The Tigers open the second half and at the under 16 media timeout, the Cats lead stands at 13 points, 57-44, and the Cats will have the ball after the timeout. In the second segment, Auburn scored 10 straight points to trim a 14 point lead to only 4 points, 60-56 before Isaiah Briscoe hit a 3 pointer and a layup to stretch the Cats' lead back to 9 points, and Isaiah Briscoe will have a pair of free throws after the break.
Isaiah Briscoe missed both free throws, and Auburn made 1 of 2 free throws at the other end trims the lead back to 8points. At the under 8 media timeout, Auburn is hanging around, down by 9, 73-64 with 7:23 remaining in the game. De'Aaron Fox fouled out just prior to the timeout. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats lead by 16, 88-72, and Wenyen Gabriel will have a pair of free throws after the break.
Cats win by 20, 92-72.
There was no Calipari Time in this ballgame.
UK scored its 92 points on 74 possessions (1.243 ppp) for the game, and AUBURN scored its 72 points on 74 possessions (0.973 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards 40-28, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 12-9. Kentucky used its 12 second chance possessions to score 10 second chance points, and AUBURN used its 9 second chance possessions to score 14 second chance points. AUBURN had an offensive efficiency of 0.784 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 1.556 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 1.108 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 0.833 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 38.7% of its misses as offensive rebounds while AUBURN was able to convert 24.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 17-32 [53.1%]. AUBURN made 5-15 [33.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 32-56 overall [57.1%] and 11-19 from long range [57.9%]. For AUBURN , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 20-46 [43.5%] and from long range, AUBURN hit 9-16 [56.3%].
The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 5.7 possessions. The Cats forced 13 AUBURN turnovers, one for every 5.7 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday Evening, January 17, 2017 at 7:00 pm at Starkville against Mississippi State in the 18 th regular season game and 6 th SEC game of the 2016-17 season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks