BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2016-17 Season Analytical Writings
Despite my best efforts to put a happy face on the direction that the 2016-17 basketball season is following, the fact of the matter is this team has been in a slide spanning the last 5 games, and arguably 6 games (at Vanderbilt through Kansas at Rupp).
In games 10 through 16, the Cats committed a total of 62 turnover, an average of about 9 per game. In games 17 through 21, the Cats committed 77 turnovers, an average of about 15 ½ per game. Arguably, turnovers played a huge role in the losses to Tennessee and Kansas. This season, opponents have averaged 11.1 offensive rebounds per game resulting in 11.3 second chance points per game. However, in the last 5 games, opponents have grabbed 45 offensive rebounds that have produced 66 second chance points, 9 offensive rebounds and 13.2 second chance points. Against Kansas, the Cats allowed 17 second chance points on 9 offensive rebounds, which was also a major factor in the loss to Kansas.
This team has reached a crossroads for their season. The time to choose the direction and path it will follow for the final ½ of the season is NOW!!!. The path that the Big Blue Nation wants this team to take is a path that will lead to the Final Four with a legitimate opportunity to bring home #9. To move in that direction, this team must take better care of possessions and must go to war on the defensive glass.
So my friends understand my view, I am not suggesting that all is lost, that the sky has, or is falling upon our heads. However, just as the 2012 championship team did in the last half of that season, NOW is the time for this team to move its game to another level. In 2012, after twenty games, there was much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth within the Big Blue Nation. Coach Calipari was taking hits from all corners due to a widely held conclusion that his one and done philosophy would never produce a champion. Well, it did then, and it can now, and the Cats must take it to a new level against the remainder of the SEC schedule and SEC Tournament.
Next up is Georgia tonight at Rupp. GEORGIA enters the game with a 13-8; 4-4 record. The Bulldogs have a road record of 3-4 this season, having wins at #77 Auburn by 12, at #95 Mississippi by 22, and at #71 Georgia Tech by 17. The most perplexing losses sustained by this Georgia team has been at #127 Oakland by 7. GEORGIA enters this game with an ANE of 0.131 points per possession against a strength of schedule of 0.0773 ppp (#25). The Cats enter this game with an ANE of 0.320 ppp against a strength of schedule of 0.0786 ppp (#21). The ANE analysis indicates a Kentucky win by 20 points, 84-64 at apace of 75 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 1.125 ppp and 0.857 ppp. Pomeroy sees this game in Kentucky's favor by 17 points, 85-68 at a pace of 74 possessions. Vegas favors the Cats by 16 ½ points.
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:
Mychal Mulder will not be available due to illness for the third consecutive game. In addition, Sacha Killeya-Jones and De'Aaron Fox will not play tonight due to an illness. Coach Calipari will start Isaac Humphries in De'Aaron Fox's place, and Coach Calipari also shakes up his starting lineup by rewarding Derek Willis for his recent strong games. Coach Calipari starts Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, Isaac Humphries, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, and Derek Willis.
Kentucky controls the opening tip and miss their first four shots and commits a turnover on its third possession, falling behind early 9-0. Coach Calipari takes a quick timeout with 17:31 remaining in the first half. After the timeout, the Cats commit their second turnover. Georgia scores again, their fifth made shot on five attempts, and there was a foul for a 3 point play to move the lead to 12-0. Wenyen Gabriel finally makes a basket, following an offensive rebound, but George continues its perfect shooting, and then Edrice (BAM) Adebayo commits his second foul of the game, sending the game to the under 16 media timeout with Georgia on top 14-2.
In the opening segment, Georgia was 6-6 including 1-1 from 3 point range, and 1-1 from the line while the Cats are 1-6. The Cats have committed 3 turnovers to none for Georgia. This has been the absolutely worst start to a basketball game by a Kentucky team in my memory. The Cats come out of the timeout in a 2-3 zone, and Georgia misses for the first time in the game. Briscoe makes a three point play to trim the lead to 9 points. However, the Bulldogs score 5 straight to move on top by 14, 19-5 with 14:07 remaining in the first half. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats have scratched back to within 9 points, 19-10, but Georgia will have free throws after the break, as Tai Wynyard committed his second foul just prior to the under 12 media timeout with 11:10 remaining in the first half.
In an extended third segment, the Cats chip away at the Georgia lead, cutting it to 6 points, 20-14, but Georgia moves back on top by 10 quickly, and lead by 8, 26-18 at the under 8 media timeout with 5:24 remaining in the first half. Through the first 14 ½ minutes, the Cats have only made 7 of 25 shots while Georgia has made 11 of 19 shots. After the timeout, Georgia misses on their first possession, and the Cats have an empty possession as Wenyen Gabriel misses the front end of the bonus. Following another Georgia turnover, Wenyen Gabriel hits a 3 pointer to pull the Cats within 5 points, 26-21 at the under 4 media timeout with 3:26 remaining and the Cats in possession of the ball.
Wenyen Gabriel makes a put back basket, rebounding his own miss, to pull the Cats within 3 points. Following a missed 3 pointer, Malik Monk makes a pair of free throws to trim the one time 14 point lead to 1 point, 26-25. Following another 3 pointer by Georgia, Malik Monk and Isaiah Briscoe each make a pair of free throws to pull the Cats to a tie score at the half, 29-29, outscoring the Bulldogs 24-10 over the last 14 minutes of the half.
The Cats scored 29 points on 33 possessions, 0.879 points per possession, and GEORGIA managed their 29 points on 33 possessions, 0.879 ppp. The Cats made 29.0% (9-31) of their first half shots, including 2-8 (25.0%) from outside the arc. GEORGIA managed to make 48.0% (12-25) of their first half shots, including 3-5 (60.0%) from outside the arc.
The Cats made 9-10 free throws (90.0%) and GEORGIA made 2-3 (66.7%) in the first half.
The Cats committed 8 turnovers while forcing GEORGIA to commit 10.
On the Boards, the Cats outrebounded the Bulldogs 22-15 in the first half, but the Cats earned a 11-3 advantage on the offensive rebounds, earning a 11-0 advantage on second chance points. The Cats secured 47.8% of their misses and allowed GEORGIA to grab 21.4% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
The Cats open the second half with Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, Derek Willis, Wenyen Gabriel, Malik Monk, and Isaiah Briscoe. The Cats start the half drawing a Bulldogs foul. However, the Cats fail to score, and Georgia moves back on top by 2. The Cats tie the score at 31-31, and following a blocked shot by Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe scores on a fast break to give the Cats their first lead of the game. Edrice (BAM) Adebayo commits his third foul and returns to the bench. Malik Monk makes back to back 3 pointers give the Cats a 6 point lead, 39-33 at the under 16 media timeout.
In the second segment, the teams matched baskets as Malik Monk made 3 more 3 pointers, a stretch of five in a row, and the Cats cling to a 5 point lead, 50-45 at the under 12 media timeout. Isaiah Briscoe will have a pair of free throws after the break with a chance to extend its lead to a game high 7 points if he makes them both. Isaiah Briscoe made the first but missed the second. Malik Monk steals the ball and is fouled on the fast break. Making both, the Cats lead moves to 8 points. At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats lead by 8, 63-55, and Georgia will a bonus opportunity at the line after the break.
In the fourth segment, Georgia's Frazier scored the last 7 points of the segment to tie the score, 70-70, forcing Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 3:47 remaining in the game. Each team has two timeouts remaining, and Georgia has the possession arrow. The Cats ease into a 1 point lead when Isaiah Briscoe makes 1 of 2 free throws, but following a Georgia miss, Isaiah Briscoe turns the ball over, and Georgia hits a 3 pointer to move on top by 2, 73-71 with 1:52 remaining. The Cats go inside to Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, who misses while being fouled. He makes both to tie the score at 73-73. Georgia has a shot clock violation, and the Cats have the ball with 1:10 remaining and the score tied.
Dominique Hawkins misses a 3 pointer, and Georgia gets a pair of free throws to move back on top, 75-73. Edrice (BAM) Adebayo gets fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound, but misses the first of two shots. Cats trail by 1, 75-74, with 0:28 remaining in the game.
Georgia gets the ball in bounds, and into front court before Isaiah Briscoe gets a foul. After Georgia makes 1 of 2 from the line, the Cats have the ball down 2 with 22 seconds remaining. Isaiah Briscoe loses the ball out of bounds under the UK basket with only 10.8 seconds left. The ball bounced off a Georgia player. Kentucky takes a timeout and then Georgia takes a timeout. Malik Monk makes a basket from the left corner to tie the score, and Georgia missed its final shot. There will be overtime, for the first time this season.
In the overtime, the Cats have two timeouts and Georgia has one. The Cats have the possession arrow. The Bulldogs control the opening tip. Cats survive with a 9 point win in overtime, 90-81.
UK scored its 90 points on 79 possessions (1.139 ppp) for the game, and GEORGIA scored its 81 points on 81 possessions (1.000 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards 45-32, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 17-7. Kentucky used its 17 second chance possessions to score 25 second chance points, and GEORGIA used its 7 second chance possessions to score 3 second chance points. GEORGIA had an offensive efficiency of 0.963 ppp on its 81 first chance possessions and 0.429 ppp for its 7 second chance possessions. UK had 0.823 ppp on its 79 first chance possessions and 1.471 ppp on its 17 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 40.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while GEORGIA was able to convert 20.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 27-36 [75.0%]. GEORGIA made 15-24 [62.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 27-64 overall [42.2%] and 9-21 from long range [42.9%]. For GEORGIA , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 24-51 [47.1%] and from long range, GEORGIA hit 6-10 [60.0%].
The Cats committed 14 turnovers, one for every 5.6 possessions. The Cats forced 17 GEORGIA turnovers, one for every 4.8 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday Evening, February 4, 2017 at 8:15 pm at Gainesville against Florida in the 23 rd regular season game and 10 th SEC of the 2016-17 season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks