2015-16 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Take 5-0 Start On The Road To Mississippi State

After starting the SEC season with three consecutive 20+ point wins, the Cats found themselves in hand to hand combat against the Commodores before throwing them overboard by 6 points in Nashville a week ago. When the Cats returned home to face Auburn on Saturday, the were able to win again by a 20 point margin, but the battle with the Tigers was anything but routine, as the Cats found themselves in a battle throughout much of the second half when Auburn stayed within striking distance at only 4 down, and later 6 down before the Cats' final push set the final margin at 20.

Tonight, the Cats return to the road at Mississippi State. The conventional view is the SEC road is a difficult place to win. In 2014 and 2016, the home team won 7 of every 10 SEC games, and in 2015 the home team won 53% of all SEC games. Over the prior 3 seasons, the home team has won about 2/3 of all games played, thus the conventional view. Through the first 2 ½ weeks of SEC competition in the 2017 season, the conventional wisdom is being turned on its head because the visiting team has won 19 of the first 32 SEC games (6 in 10). Should this give the Cats comfort as they enter the Mississippi State dog house or trepidation because despite this unconventional start for the 2017 SEC season, the conventional wisdom will prevail again and that means tougher sledding ahead for all SEC road teams?

MISSISSIPPI STATE enters the game with a 12-4; 3-1 record. The Bulldogs lost games to #72 UCF by 25 at a neutral location, to #91 Lehigh by 14, to East Tennessee State by 2, and to #64 Alabama by 10 all at home. The Bulldogs' most impressive wins this season has been in their last two games over at #46 Arkansas by 6 and against #59 Texas A&M by 8. MISSISSIPPI STATE enters this game with an ANE of 0.071 points per possession against a strength of schedule of -0.0328 ppp (#275). The Cats enter this game with an ANE of 0.337 ppp against a strength of schedule of 0.0496 ppp (#33). The ANE analysis indicates a Kentucky win by 14 points, 82-68 at apace of 74 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 1.102 ppp and 0.914 ppp. Pomeroy sees this game in Kentucky's favor by 14 points, 86-72 at a pace of 73 possessions.

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Game Summary:

Coach Calipari starts Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, De'Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, and Wenyen Gabriel.

Kentucky controls the opening tip and score on a layup by Wenyen Gabriel. Mississippi State matches the Cats at 2-2, 4-4, and 6-6, but the Cats score the last 4 points of the segment to lead 10-6 at the under 16 media timeout. In the first 4 minutes, five Cats have each scored 2 points. In the second segment, the Cats extend their run to 10 straight and a 10 point lead 16-6. At the end of the second segment, the Cats hold a 7 point lead, 22-15, and have possession.

The third segment belonged to Mississippi State. They outscored the Cats 6-2 to trim the lead to 3 points, 24-21 at the under 8 media timeout, and Mississippi State will have a pair of free throws after the break for a chance to cut the 10 point lead to a single point. After missing the first free throw, and missing the second, Mississippi State gets a third chance after a UK lane violation, but he missed a third time. In the fourth segment, the Cats move on top by 10 points again, 34-24, but Mississippi State scores the last 5 points of the segment to close the margin to 5 points, 34-29 at the under 4 media timeout. De'Aaron Fox will have a pair of free throws after the break. In addition, the officials called a technical foul on Mississippi State. The Cats made 2 of the 4 free throw attempts. The Cats then get possession following the technical, and Isaiah Briscoe makes an 18 foot jump shot. Following a basket by Mississippi State, the Cats then score 4 more points, 2 by Isaiah Briscoe and 2 by Derek Willis to push the lead to 11 points, 42-31, and Mississippi State takes a timeout with 1:47 remaining.

Cats lead by 12, 46-34, at the half.

The Cats scored 46 points on 39 possessions, 1.180 points per possession, and MISSISSIPPI STATE managed their 34 points on 39 possessions, 0.872 ppp. The Cats made 52.9% (18-34) of their first half shots, including 4-8 (50.0%) from outside the arc. MISSISSIPPI STATE managed to make 51.9% (14-27) of their first half shots, including 2-8 (25.0%) from outside the arc.

The Cats made 6-10 free throws (60.0%) and MISSISSIPPI STATE made 4-10 (40.0%) in the first half.

The Cats committed 6 turnovers while forcing MISSISSIPPI STATE to commit 11.

On the Boards, the Cats outrebounded the Bulldogs 20-14 in the first half, and the Cats had a 6-4 advantage on offensive rebounds. The Cats used its 6 second chance possessions to score 3 second chance point while MISSISSIPPI STATE used its 4 second chance possessions to score 6 points. The Cats secured 37.5% of their misses and allowed MISSISSIPPI STATE to grab 22.2% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

In the first half, five wildcats drew official whistles for two fouls each. Sacha Killeya-Jones, Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, Isaac Humphries, Wenyen Gabriel, and Derek Willis. For Mississippi State, they ended the half with four players (Stapleton, Kegler, Weatherspoon, and Holman) carrying 2 fouls each, and one player, Herard, with three fouls. Foul trouble for the bigs on each team will be a factor in the second half.

Second Half:

The Bulldogs open the second half with a miss and a turnover, while the Cats get a pair of free throws on a fast break opportunity and a 3 pointer by Wenyen Gabriel to extend the lead to 17 points. The fouls continue to mount for Mississippi State, and Coach Howland calls a timeout with 16:38 remaining and his team down by 17, 55-38. At the under 16 media timeout, the Cats lead by 15, 55-40, and Edrice (BAM) Adebayo will be at the line for a pair of free throws after the timeout. After the timeout, Edrice (BAM) Adebayo made the first but missed the second. Then Mississippi State scored back to back baskets following Kentucky turnovers, forcing Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 14:48 remaining and the Cats leading by 12, 56-44.

The foul-fest continues and the Cats maintain a lead of 15 points, 66-51, at the under 12 media timeout. The Cats will have the ball after this timeout. After the timeout, the Cats turn the ball over twice and miss one shot allowing Mississippi State to score another 6 points to cut the lead into single digits, 66-57, forcing another Kentucky timeout with 10:23 remaining. After the timeout, the Cats turn the ball over again. While the Cats force a Mississippi State turnover, the Cats return the favor with their fourth turnover of this segment. The Bulldogs cut the lead to 66-62 before Dominique Hawkins hits a 3 pointer to stop the Mississippi State run. Mississippi State takes a timeout with 8:26 remaining and the Cats up by 7, 69-62.

After the timeout, Mississippi State gets a second chance 3 pointer, and following another UK turnover, Isaac Humphries fouls out of the game, sending Mississippi State to the line with a chance to cut the lead to 2 points, but only made 1 of 2. The Cats lead by 3, 69-66. Wenyen Gabriel hit a 3 pointer from the right corner. The Cats then take advantage of a Mississippi State miss for a put back basket by Edrice (BAM) Adebayo and a slam dunk by Malik Monk following a Mississippi State turnover to push the lead back to 10, 76-66, forcing another Mississippi State timeout, their last of the game, with 6:35 remaining. Over the rest of the 4 th segment, Mississippi State claws back to within 7 points, 78-71 at the under 4 media timeout with 3:25 remaining in the game and Mississippi State set to shoot a pair of free throws after the break.

Cats hold off the Bulldogs' rally and win by 7, 88-81.

There was no Calipari Time in this ballgame.


UK scored its 88 points on 79 possessions (1.114 ppp) for the game, and MISSISSIPPI STATE scored its 81 points on 79 possessions (1.025 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards 38-32, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 13-9. Kentucky used its 13 second chance possessions to score 12 second chance points, and MISSISSIPPI STATE used its 9 second chance possessions to score 13 second chance points. MISSISSIPPI STATE had an offensive efficiency of 0.861 ppp on its 79 first chance possessions and 1.444 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.962 ppp on its 79 first chance possessions and 0.923 ppp on its 13 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 36.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI STATE was able to convert 26.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 15-24 [62.5%]. MISSISSIPPI STATE made 12-22 [54.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 33-65 overall [50.8%] and 7-18 from long range [38.9%]. For MISSISSIPPI STATE , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 27-42 [64.3%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI STATE hit 5-17 [29.4%].

The Cats committed 16 turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions. The Cats forced 19 MISSISSIPPI STATE turnovers, one for every 4.2 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Saturday Evening, January 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm at Rupp Arena against South Carolina in the 19 th regular season game and 7 th SEC game of the 2016-17 season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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