BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2016-17 Season Analytical Writings
After a slide that spanned more than 4 weeks, the Cats have not only found bottom but bounced off that bottom with their second consecutive solid game. On Tuesday night, the Cats avenged their earlier 2 point loss at Tennessee with a powerful 25 point win. In that winning effort, the Cats played their strongest overall game since they dismantled Texas A&M in early January. In the first half, the Cats methodically built a 15 point lead and in the second half there was never any chance for Tennessee to entertain thoughts of climbing back into the game. In the second half, the Cats extended the 15 point halftime lead to a game high 28 points near the end of the game.
The strong team effort resulted from very solid play by several individual players. The players seemed to make substantial improvements. Malik Monk grabbed 8 rebounds, four in each half. Edrice (BAM) Adebayo demonstrated deftness in decision making in the post that found Derek Willis, Malik Monk, Mychal Mulder, and Dominique Hawkins on the perimeter for 3 pointers when the Vols' defensive strategy was to stop Edrice (BAM) Adebayo in the post with double and triple team defenders. Furthermore, when Tennessee finally had to abandon this defensive plan because of the Cats' outstanding perimeter shooting, Edrice (BAM) Adebayo scored at will in the post against a single defender. The 3 point shooting by Derek Willis and Malik Monk was outstanding, and De'Aaron Fox played the entire game with no turnovers.
The wins at Alabama and against Tennessee has lifted the Big Blue Nation's mood. The fan base quickly recognized the quality of play that this team had routinely demonstrated in November, December, and early January. Now, the Cats now head to Athens, Georgia for a rematch with those Dawgs. In their first encounter with Georgia this season, the Cats started poorly, falling behind 12-0 in the first 3 ½ minutes of the game. The Cats fought for the remainder of the first half to draw even at the buzzer, 29-29. In the second half, the Cats opened strong, and moved to a 6 point lead, 39-33, and maintained that lead through the under 8 media timeout. However, Georgia pulled even with the Cats, 70-70 with 3:47 remaining in the game. Georgia moves on top 76-74 with 22 seconds left. Malik Monk was able to make a jump shot from the left baseline to tie the score and send the game into overtime. In the overtime, the Cats managed to secure a hard fought 90-81 win.
When the Dawgs left Rupp with the overtime loss, GEORGIA left all of their energy and effort behind them, as is often the case with SEC opponents who treat every encounter they have with the Cats as their Super Bowl. As a result, GEORGIA lost its next two games, at #27 South Carolina by 2 and to #6 Florida by 12. The Dawgs stopped their 3 game losing skid with a 1 point win at #42 Tennessee and over #98 Mississippi State by 7. GEORGIA enters the game with a 15-11; 6-7 record. GEORGIA enters this game with an ANE of 0.137 points per possession against a strength of schedule of 0.1025 ppp (#14). The Cats enter this game with an ANE of 0.295 ppp against a strength of schedule of 0.0862 ppp (#28). The ANE analysis indicates a Kentucky win by 6 points, 76-70 at apace of 73 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 1.036 ppp and 0.954 ppp. Pomeroy sees this game in Kentucky's favor by 6 points 79-73 at a pace of 73 possessions, and Vegas has opened with the Cats favored by 7.
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For the fourth consecutive game, and the 19 th game this season, Coach Calipari will start Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, Wenyen Gabriel, De'Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Isaiah Briscoe.
Georgia controls the opening tip and scores on the opening possession. After De'Aaron Fox commits a turnover, the Cats foul and Georgia moves on top 4-0 in the first minute of play. On a fast break, Isaiah Briscoe scores a layup in traffic, and in the collision of bodies, Georgia's Yante Maten injures his right knee with 18:25 remaining in the half. Through the balance of the opening segment, Georgia maintained a lead of 2 to 4 points until Malik Monk hit the Cats' first 3 pointer of the game to trim the lead to 1 point, 8-7, at the under 16 media timeout with 14:56 remaining in the first half.
After the timeout, Derek Willis and then Mychal Mulder hit back to back 3 pointers against the Georgia zone defense to lift the Cats into their first lead, 5 points, 13-8, prompting Mark Fox to take a timeout. After the timeout, Georgia runs a play that gets a layup and following De'Aaron Fox's second turnover of the game, the Dawgs cut the lead to a single point. Dominique Hawkins makes a pair of free throws to close the scoring in the second segment and lift the Cats into a 3 point lead, 15-12, at the under 12 media timeout. Reports from the Georgia program indicate that Maten is unlikely to return to this game.
With 10:25 remaining, De'Aaron Fox commits his second foul and goes to the bench. In the third segment, each team scored 4 points, and the Cats continue to lead by 3, 19-16, at the under 8 media timeout. With 6:33, Frazier committed his second foul and went to the bench. With 5:02, Dominique Hawkins commits his second foul, sending the Hawk to the bench for Mychal Mulder. The free throws move Georgia back into a tie, 21-21. At the under 4 media timeout, the teams remain tied, 23-23, and Malik Monk will have 3 free throws after the break.
The Cats took the brunt of home cooking in Athens Georgia in the final segment, and JJ Frazier hit a 35 foot 3 pointer at the buzzer to make it a 2 point game, 33-31, at the half.
The Cats scored 33 points on 36 possessions, 0.917 points per possession, and GEORGIA managed their 31 points on 37 possessions, 0.838 ppp. The Cats made 46.2% (12-26) of their first half shots, including 4-10 (40.0%) from outside the arc. GEORGIA managed to make 45.8% (11-24) of their first half shots, including 1-8 (12.5%) from outside the arc.
The Cats made 5-5 free throws (100.0%) and GEORGIA made 8-12 (66.7%) in the first half.
The Cats committed 9 turnovers while forcing GEORGIA to commit 9.
On the Boards, each team grabbed 15 rebounds in the first half, and the Dawgs earned a 2-1 advantage on the offensive rebounds, earning a 1-0 advantage on second chance points. The Cats secured 7.1% of their misses and allowed GEORGIA to grab 12.5% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
Georgia opens the second half with without scoring, and the Cats score the first two baskets of the half to move on top by 6, a game high, 37-31. However, the Cats did not score again in the segment as De'Aaron Fox and Wenyen Gabriel each committed their third fouls, and Georgia pulled to within a point, 37-36 at the under 16 media timeout. Georgia has the ball under its own basket after the timeout. After the timeout, Georgia fails to score, and Malik Monk gets fouled. However, Malik Monk missed both free throws. At the other end, Georgia takes the lead. Isaiah Briscoe then makes a 3 point play to give the Cats the lead again.
Dominique Hawkins hits a 3 pointer and a baseline jumper to lift the Cats on top by 3, then Dominique Hawkins commits his 3 rd foul. Georgia gets into the bonus with 12:42 remaining in the game. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats are clinging to a 2 point lead, 47-45, and Georgia will have the ball. With 8:21 left, and the score tied, the stripes whistle Isaiah Briscoe for his 4 th foul after the Georgia player pushed him to the floor on a rebound scrum. Georgia converted both free throws to move into the lead, 57-55 at the under 8 media timeout and the Cats in possession. The Cats have Isaiah Briscoe with 4 fouls, and De'Aaron Fox, Wenyen Gabriel, and Dominique Hawkins each with 3 fouls.
The Cats fail to score out of the timeout, and Georgia fails to score. De'Aaron Fox missed a pair of free throws. After Georgia missed again, Malik Monk makes a 12 foot jump shot to tie the score. Following another Georgia miss, Malik Monk gets to the line for a pair, making both to lift the Cats back into a 2 point lead, 59-57, with 6:17 remaining. JJ Frazier gets to the line for a pair of shots, making both to tie the score again. With the score tied, 61-61, Georgia makes a 3 pointer, and then Isaiah Briscoe commits his 5 th foul, a charge with 4:51 remaining.
The Cats move back into the lead, 67-66, but a turnover by De'Aaron Fox with 2:58 gives the ball back to the Dawgs at the under 4 media timeout. Cats make 11 of 12 free throws down the stretch to win by 5, 82-77.
UK scored its 82 points on 74 possessions (1.108 ppp) for the game, and GEORGIA scored its 77 points on 76 possessions (1.013 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards 41-26, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 14-2. Kentucky used its 14 second chance possessions to score 8 second chance points, and GEORGIA used its 2 second chance possessions to score 0 second chance points. GEORGIA had an offensive efficiency of 1.013 ppp on its 76 first chance possessions and 0.000 ppp for its 2 second chance possessions. UK had 1.000 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 0.571 ppp on its 14 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 36.8% of its misses as offensive rebounds while GEORGIA was able to convert 6.9% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 23-28 [82.1%]. GEORGIA made 18-24 [75.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 26-61 overall [42.6%] and 7-21 from long range [33.3%]. For GEORGIA , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 25-40 [62.5%] and from long range, GEORGIA hit 3-15 [20.0%].
The Cats committed 14 turnovers, one for every 5.3 possessions. The Cats forced 11 GEORGIA turnovers, one for every 6.9 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening, February 21, 2017 at 9:00 pm at Columbia against Missouri in the 28 th regular season game and 15 th SEC of the 2016-17 season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks