2016-17 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Need To Find Their Legs At Florida

This UK basketball team has been sliding and slipping substantially over the last 3 weeks. Over the last 6 games, the Cats have only outperformed their season average performance once, against South Carolina, and the last three games include back to back losses and an ugly overtime win over Georgia last Tuesday at Rupp Arena. To add to the team's struggles, they lost the services of Mychal Mulder several games ago due to an unspecified illness, and on Tuesday against Georgia, De'Aaron Fox and Sacha Killeya-Jones were unable to suit up due to illness. Coach Calipari has said that Mychal Mulder is at least 10 days away from returning to action, and characterizes De'Aaron Fox and Sacha Killeya-Jones status as day to day. On Friday, reports emerged that others on the team may have become ill.

Despite the illness issues, it is essential for this team's post season positioning that it get well on the court on Saturday night when they must confront a bunch of gators who are playing their best basketball of the season. This team must have the collective basketball light come on, primarily at the defensive end of the court where opponents have been able to waltz to the rim, and if they miss, get offensive rebounds in position to score easy second chance points. On the offensive end of the court, this team must learn how valuable each possession is to success and reduce their turnover rate from mid to high teens per game to low teens or even single digits.

Prior to the Georgia game, I surmised that the Georgia game was a crossroad game. However, with an ugly win in overtime, the team did not chose to leave the intersection on the path to a strong finish, but at the same time, the team is still sitting at the crossroad, burning time, but at least with an opportunity to choose the right path, and start moving in that direction. To accomplish this, this team must get out of Gainesville with a win.

Next up is Florida in Gainesville for College Game Day. FLORIDA enters the game with a 17-5; 7-2 record. The Gators have lost to #1 Gonzaga by 5 on a neutral court, to #13 Duke by 10 on a neutral court, at #15 Florida State by 5, at #22 South Carolina by 4, and to #52 Vanderbilt by 2 at home. Florida's most impressive win this season has been over #35 Tennessee by 13, and since losing back to back games in mid January, the Gators have won three in a row by 35 (LSU), 32 (Oklahoma), and 39 (Missouri). FLORIDA enters this game with an ANE of 0.283 points per possession against a strength of schedule of 0.0904 ppp (#16). The Cats enter this game with an ANE of 0.315 ppp against a strength of schedule of 0.0812 ppp (#24). The ANE analysis indicates a Florida win by 2 points, 76-74 at apace of 74 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 0.994 ppp and 1.021 ppp. Pomeroy sees this game in Florida's favor by 2 points, 81-79 at a pace of 74 possessions. Vegas opened with the Cats favored by 2, but the line quickly moved in line with the ANE and Pomeroy margins, and is currently Florida by 2, 81-79.

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:

Mychal Mulder has practiced the last two games, and De'Aaron Fox will be available tonight, but probably will not start. Sacha Killeya-Jones is in Lexington and Tai Wynyard is not on the “sick” list. Coach Calipari will start Dominique Hawkins in De'Aaron Fox's place, and Coach Calipari returns to his usual starting lineup starting Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, Wenyen Gabriel, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, and Derek Willis.

Florida controls the opening tip and score on a second chance possession. The Gators then hit a 3 pointer on another second chance possession to move out to an early 5-0 lead. The Cats pulled to within a point at 8-7, but the Gators lead by 4, 11-7, at the under 16 media timeout. Kentucky has the ball. In the second segment, the Cats continue to shoot the ball poorly, 2-7 in the segment and 5-17 for the game, and Isaiah Briscoe commits the team's first turnover leading to the under 12 media timeout. The Cats trail 18-11 at this break, and Florida has the ball.

In the third segment, the Gators extend their lead to 8 points, 21-13, at the under 12 media timeout, and the Cats have the ball. In the fourth segment, the Gators hit 3 of 4 from outside the arc while the Cats missed their only two shots, as Florida moves out to a 13 point lead, 30-17. Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 4:37 remaining in the first half. The Cats trim the lead to 10 at the under 4 media timeout, but Florida will have the ball after the timeout.

The Gators convert a pair of free throws to move back on top by 11, but a basket by Isaiah Briscoe and a 3 pointer by Mychal Mulder trimmed the lead to 7, 34-25. Cats trail by 8, 34-26, at the half.

The Cats scored 26 points on 38 possessions, 0.684 points per possession, and FLORIDA managed their 34 points on 38 possessions, 0.894 ppp. The Cats made 30.0% (9-30) of their first half shots, including 2-7 (28.6%) from outside the arc. FLORIDA managed to make 34.3% (12-35) of their first half shots, including 6-19 (31.6%) from outside the arc.

The Cats made 6-10 free throws (60.0%) and FLORIDA made 4-6 (66.7%) in the first half.

The Cats committed 5 turnovers while forcing FLORIDA to commit 12.

On the Boards, the Gators outrebounded the Cats 33-15 in the first half, but the grr earned a 12-2 advantage on the offensive rebounds, earning a 12-2 advantage on second chance points. The Cats secured 8.7% of their misses and allowed FLORIDA to grab 50.0% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

The Gators open the second half with a 3 pointer to move out by 11, but De'Aaron Fox hits a jump shot, and then makes a 3 point play to trim the lead to only 4 points, 37-33. However, the Gators score the last 5 points of the segment to move back on top by 9, prompting a Kentucky timeout with 16:55 remaining. After the timeout, Malik Monk makes his first basket of the game, a 3 pointer, to trim the Gators lead to 6, 42-36 at the under 16 media timeout. After the timeout, the Gators make 1 of 2 free throws and score back to back baskets off Cat turnover to move out to an 11 point lead, 47-36, forcing Coach Calipari to take another timeout with 14:44 remaining in the game. At the under 12 media timeout, the Gators maintain an 11 point lead, 58-47, and will have free throws after the timeout.

In the third segment, after the Cats fought hard to pull within 10, 62-52, the Gators scored 7 straight to go on top by 17, 69-52, forcing another timeout by Coach Calipari with 9:00 remaining in the game. At the under 8 media timeout, the Gators' lead swells to 20 points, 72-52. At the under 4 media timeout, the Gators lead stands at 18, 80-62.

Cats lose 88-66.


UK scored its 66 points on 78 possessions (0.846 ppp) for the game, and FLORIDA scored its 88 points on 76 possessions (1.158 ppp).

Florida won the battle of the boards 54-29, and the Gators won the battle of the offensive glass 17-6. Kentucky used its 6 second chance possessions to score 7 second chance points, and FLORIDA used its 17 second chance possessions to score 17 second chance points. FLORIDA had an offensive efficiency of 0.934 ppp on its 76 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 17 second chance possessions. UK had 0.756 ppp on its 78 first chance possessions and 1.167 ppp on its 6 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 14.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while FLORIDA was able to convert 42.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 14-23 [60.9%]. FLORIDA made 18-29 [62.1%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 23-61 overall [37.7%] and 6-19 from long range [31.6%]. For FLORIDA , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 20-36 [55.6%] and from long range, FLORIDA hit 10-26 [38.5%].

The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 6.0 possessions. The Cats forced 17 FLORIDA turnovers, one for every 4.5 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday Evening, February 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm at Rupp against LSU in the 24 th regular season game and 11 th SEC of the 2016-17 season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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