BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2015-16 Season Analytical Writings
On Tuesday evening, the Cats built an impressive 18-point lead, 64-46, when Malik Monk dunked the ball with 12:19 remaining in the game. An 18 point lead less than 8 minutes into the second half after building a 12 point halftime lead signaled the Cats were on their way to another impressive 20+ point road win at Mississippi State. However, after Malik Monk threw the ball through the rim, he hung on the rim, and the officials made the call. Technical Foul-Malik Monk.
Coach Calipari had seen this set of circumstances before, and he was not a happy man, pulling Malik Monk from the game immediately and getting in his face. Another teaching moment? Let's hope so. This rather innocuous event turned the entire momentum of the game from a Kentucky rout to a barn burner. Over the next 4 ½ minutes, Mississippi State trimmed the lead to only 3 points, 69-66, and but for Weatherspoon's miss on his second free throw, the margin would have been only 2 points with 7:49 remaining in the game. Weatherspoon's free throw completed a Bulldogs run of 20-5.
Wenyen Gabriel made a 3 pointer to stem the tide and give the Cats a 6 point (2 possession) working margin, and the Cats traded baskets with the Bulldogs for the last 7 ½ minutes to a 7 point, 88-81, Kentucky win. The Cats escaped Starkville with their undefeated SEC record intact at 6-0, and Kentucky remained only 1 of 3 SEC teams who remained without a conference loss.
The other two, South Carolina and Florida, met on Wednesday night in Columbia, South Carolina. Only one of them could remain unbeaten leading into Saturday's games, and the outcome of this game carries great significance to the Cats' aim on another SEC regular season SEC championship. The Cats face South Carolina once, this Saturday, at Rupp, and the Cats face the Gators twice, once in Gainesville, and once at Rupp. South Carolina has road trips to Kentucky (Saturday) and Gainesville remaining on their schedule. These five games will determine which of these three will end the season at the top of the SEC.
South Carolina beat the Gators by 4 on Wednesday, and on Saturday the last two unbeaten SEC teams will face off at Rupp Arena. By 8 pm, Saturday night, the SEC will have only 1 unbeaten team with a leg up on the other two.
SOUTH CAROLINA enters the game with a 15-3; 5-0 record. The Gamecocks lost games to at #54 Seton Hall by 3, at #70 Memphis by 16, and to #33 Clemson by 2 at home. The Gamecocks' most impressive wins this season have been over #45 Michigan by 15, over #52 Syracuse by 14 on a neutral court, at #43 Georgia by 6, at #53 Tennessee by 10, and Wednesday over #13 Florida by 4 at home. SOUTH CAROLINA enters this game with an ANE of 0.216 points per possession against a strength of schedule of 0.0565 ppp (#33). The Cats enter this game with an ANE of 0.331 ppp against a strength of schedule of 0.0578 ppp (#31). The ANE analysis indicates a Kentucky win by 13 points, 79-66 at apace of 75 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 1.058 ppp and 0.884 ppp. Pomeroy sees this game in Kentucky's favor by 13 points, 79-66 at a pace of 74 possessions.
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Coach Calipari starts Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, De'Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, and Wenyen Gabriel. Mychal Mulder will not be available due to illness.
Kentucky controls the opening tip and quickly lob the ball at the rim to Edrice (BAM) Adebayo who gets fouled. Edrice (BAM) Adebayo makes both. After USC turns the ball over on its first two possessions, the Cats make them pay with a three by Wenyen Gabriel and a driving layup by Wenyen Gabriel to move on top 7-0. The Cats added three pointers by Malik Monk and Wenyen Gabriel to move out to an early 13-3 lead at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, the Cats continue to build a huge lead in the early going, outscoring USC 10-3 to move on top by 17, 23-6. USC takes a timeout with 11:26 to see if they can find a solution to the Cats' defense and offense.
In the third segment, USC got on an 8-0 run, and will have the ball after the timeout after cutting the UK lead to only 7 points, 30-23, at the under 8 media timeout with 5:45 remaining. De'Aaron Fox has turned an ankle is questionable for the rest of this game. In a short fourth segment, USC cuts the lead to only 3 points, 30-27, before Derek Willis hits a 3 pointer from the corner to stop the run at 14 points, and extend the Cats' lead to 6 points, 33-27 at the under 4 media timeout. During the USC run, the Cats committed 7 turnovers in 12 possessions while USC only committed 1 turnover.
Cats rebuild a double digit lead, 11 points, last at 47-36, and lead at the half by 9, 47-38.
The Cats scored 47 points on 37 possessions, 1.270 points per possession, and SOUTH CAROLINA managed their 38 points on 37 possessions, 1.027 ppp. The Cats made 65.4% (17-26) of their first half shots, including 5-12 (41.7%) from outside the arc. SOUTH CAROLINA managed to make 52.0% (13-25) of their first half shots, including 2-5 (40.0%) from outside the arc.
The Cats made 8-9 free throws (88.9%) and SOUTH CAROLINA made 10-12 (83.3%) in the first half.
The Cats committed 12 turnovers while forcing SOUTH CAROLINA to commit 10.
On the Boards, the Cats outrebounded the Gamecocks 13-9 in the first half, and each team grabbed 4 offensive rebounds. The Cats used its 4 second chance possessions to score 5 second chance point while SOUTH CAROLINA used its 4 second chance possessions to score 0 points. The Cats secured 44.4% of their misses and allowed SOUTH CAROLINA to grab 30.8% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
The Cats open the second half with three consecutive empty possessions while USC scores the first 4 points of the second half to pull within 5, 47-42, forcing Coach Calipari to take a quick timeout. After the timeout, the Gamecocks trim the lead to 4, 48-44, but the Cats then go on a 7 point run, led by Derek Willis to move on top by 11, 55-44, forcing USC to take a timeout with 16:09 remaining in the game.
In the second segment, teams traded baskets, and the Cats lead stands at 10, 64-54, at the under 12 media timeout. After the timeout, Isaac Humphries will be at the line for the bonus opportunity. In the third segment, the Cats expand their lead to 14, 71-57, at the under 8 media timeout with 7:08 remaining in the game. After the timeout, Edrice (BAM) Adebayo will be at the line for a pair of free throws.
In the fourth segment, the Cats extend their lead to 19 points, 81-62, at the under 4 media timeout with 2:55 remaining. Edrice (BAM) Adebayo will be at the line for a pair of free throws after the timeout.
It's Calipari time with 1:08 remaining and the Cats leading 85-64 on 67 possessions. The Cats win 85-69 on 69 possessions.
UK scored its 85 points on 69 possessions (1.232 ppp) for the game, and SOUTH CAROLINA scored its 69 points on 69 possessions (1.000 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards 32-27, but South Carolina won the battle of the offensive glass 11-8. Kentucky used its 8 second chance possessions to score 9 second chance points, and SOUTH CAROLINA used its 11 second chance possessions to score 14 second chance points. SOUTH CAROLINA had an offensive efficiency of 0.797 ppp on its 69 first chance possessions and 1.273 ppp for its 11 second chance possessions. UK had 1.101 ppp on its 69 first chance possessions and 1.125 ppp on its 8 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 33.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while SOUTH CAROLINA was able to convert 31.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 21-28 [75.0%]. SOUTH CAROLINA made 13-16 [84.2%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-48 overall [58.3%] and 8-20 from long range [40.0%]. For SOUTH CAROLINA , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 19-38 [50.0%] and from long range, SOUTH CAROLINA hit 5-20 [25.0%].
The Cats committed 17 turnovers, one for every 4.1 possessions. The Cats forced 13 SOUTH CAROLINA turnovers, one for every 5.3 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday Evening, January 24, 2017 at 9:00 pm at Knoxville against Tennessee in the 20 th regular season game and 8 th SEC game of the 2016-17 season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks