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2016-17 Season Analytical Writings
The Kentucky Wildcats worked against the LSU Tigers to establish a 16 point halftime lead, and in less than 2 minutes into the second half, the Cats extended the lead to a comfortable 21 points. However, the Cats relaxed, and within another 2 minutes, LSU had scored 10 straight to pull back to within 11 points at the under 16 media timeout. The Tigers managed to narrow their deficit to 10 points, 53-43 with 14:22 remaining, and then the Cats expanded their lead to 25 points over the next 6 minutes, at which time it seemed as though the Cats has decided to put the worst team in the SEC away by a comfortable margin.
However, that would not be the case, as the Cats allowed LSU to outscore then 31-14 over the final 7 ½ minutes and final 15 possessions of the game. Following the game, Coach Calipari was not a happy coach, and would have taken his team directly to the practice facility for a marathon self-examination if the NCAA limits on practice time did not prevent it. So, that grueling practice session had to wait for Wednesday. That left practice on Thursday for Coach Calipari to get the badly needed attention of his players before packing for their Friday travels to Tuscaloosa where they will face Alabama on Saturday afternoon.
A season that started with such high hopes, sustained by game performance through mid-January, that identified this team as one of the best in the country this season, and a legitimate favorite to win the championship in April. However, that all began to unravel for this team 9 games ago when it traveled to Vanderbilt following three consecutive 20+ SEC wins to start the conference season. Today, UK's post season stock value continues to fall, and SEC opponents now smell Cat blood in the water, and believe they will be able to get one of those rare signature wins over a UK basketball team. Alabama is clearly in that category, especially following their win on Tuesday night at South Carolina.
ALABAMA enters the game with a 14-9; 7-4 record. The Crimson Tide have lost twice to SEC opponents at home, to #6 Florida by 13 and to #76 Auburn by 5. ALABAMA's most impressive win this season has been at #27 South Carolina this past Tuesday by 4 points in 4 overtimes. ALABAMA enters this game with an ANE of 0.115 points per possession against a strength of schedule of 0.0544 ppp (#54). The Cats enter this game with an ANE of 0.287 ppp against a strength of schedule of 0.0808 ppp (#28). The ANE analysis indicates a Kentucky win by 8 points, 76-68 at apace of 72 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 1.056 ppp and 0.944 ppp. Pomeroy sees this game in Kentucky's favor by 7 points 77-70 at a pace of 71 possessions.
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Coach Calipari will start Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, Wenyen Gabriel, De'Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Isaiah Briscoe.
Alabama controls the opening tip and turns the ball over to the Cats on an offensive foul. However, Edrice (BAM) Adebayo commits an offensive foul at the other end. De'Aaron Fox forces another 'Bama turnover. The Cats finally break the scoring draught, and lead 2-0, and again 4-2, but Alabama scored the last 5 points of the segment to move on top by 3 points, 7-4, at the under 16 media timeout. In the early going, the Cats have missed 5 of their first 7 shots, including both attempts from outside the arc. In contrast, the Crimson Tide have made 3 of their first 5 shots, including their only attempt from long range. The Cats have committed 4 early fouls, one each for Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, Malik Monk, Wenyen Gabriel, and De'Aaron Fox.
In the second segment, the Cats moved on top by 5, 12-7, at the under 12 media timeout. During this segment, Malik Monk made two three pointers, and Isaac Humphries scored a second chance basket for all the scoring. Malik Monk's three pointer marks the 1,000 th consecutive game, dating back to 1988, that the Cats have made at least one three pointer, which leads the nation.
In an extended third segment, the teams each scored 8 points on 9 possession, and the Cats continue to lead by 5, 20-15 at the under 8 media timeout with 6:55 remaining in the first half. At one point, the Cats led by 9 points, 20-11, but the Crimson Tide scored the last 4 points of the segment. With 4:30 remaining, Malik Monk becomes the fourth Cat with 2 first half fouls, and the team's 10 th of the half. In the fourth segment, Alabama trims the Kentucky lead to 3 points, 22-19, at the under 4 media timeout. After the timeout, Isaiah Briscoe will be at the line for a pair of free throws.
The Cats close the first half strong and take a 9 point lead, 29-20, to the locker room after leading briefly by 10, 29-19 just before the end of the half.
The Cats scored 29 points on 34 possessions, 0.853 points per possession, and ALABAMA managed their 20 points on 35 possessions, 0.571 ppp. The Cats made 41.4% (12-29) of their first half shots, including 2-8 (25.0%) from outside the arc. ALABAMA managed to make 32.0% (8-25) of their first half shots, including 1-7 (14.3%) from outside the arc.
The Cats made 3-8 free throws (37.5%) and ALABAMA made 3-11 (27.3%) in the first half.
The Cats committed 6 turnovers while forcing ALABAMA to commit 8.
On the Boards, the Cats outrebounded the Crimson Tide 22-19 in the first half, and the Cats earned a 5-4 advantage on the offensive rebounds, earning a 7-4 advantage on second chance points. The Cats secured 25.0% of their misses and allowed ALABAMA to grab 19.0% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
Kentucky opens the second half with 3-3 shooting that included baskets by Isaiah Briscoe, Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, and Malik Monk, and after 5 missed shots, the Cats turned back to back Crimson Tide turnovers into 4 additional points, to lead by 15, 39-24, forcing an Alabama timeout with 15:46 remaining in the game. In the second segment, the Cats added a point to their lead, leading by a maximum of 18 twice and by 16 at the under 12 media timeout with 10:52 remaining in the game.
In the third segment, Alabama trimmed the Kentucky lead to 13, 48-35 at the under 8 media timeout. The Cats have possession after the timeout. With 6:01 remaining, Edrice (BAM) Adebayo fouls out and Alabama trims the lead to 10 points on a 3 point play, 50-40. The Crimson Tide score 1more from the line and a fast break basket to trim the lead to 7, 50-43, forcing Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 4 ½ minutes left. After the timeout, Isaiah Briscoe makes a 3 point play to stretch the Cats' lead back to 10 points, where it stands at the under 4 media timeout, 55-45. Alabama will have free throws after the final media timeout of this game.
Cats win by 9, 67-58.
UK scored its 67 points on 70 possessions (0.957 ppp) for the game, and ALABAMA scored its 58 points on 71 possessions (0.817 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards 41-38, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 12-9. Kentucky used its 12 second chance possessions to score 9 second chance points, and ALABAMA used its 9 second chance possessions to score 10 second chance points. ALABAMA had an offensive efficiency of 0.676 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.111 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.829 ppp on its 70 first chance possessions and 0.750 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 29.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while ALABAMA was able to convert 23.7% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 10-18 [55.6%]. ALABAMA made 9-26 [34.6%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 27-62 overall [43.5%] and 3-15 from long range [20.0%]. For ALABAMA , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 20-37 [54.1%] and from long range, ALABAMA hit 3-14 [21.4%].
The Cats committed 12 turnovers, one for every 5.8 possessions. The Cats forced 16 ALABAMA turnovers, one for every 4.4 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening, February 14, 2017 at 700 pm at Rupp against Tennessee in the 26 th regular season game and 13 th SEC of the 2016-17 season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks