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2016-17 Season Analytical Writings
The Cats opened play in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament against Georgia. Laying some recent demons to rest, the Cats scored first when De'Aaron Fox assisted Edrice (BAM) Adebayo for a driving dunk following a Georgia turnover. When De'Aaron Fox and Derek Willis added back to back 3 pointers, the Cats led 8-2, and never trailed in the game. The lead stood at 7 points at the half, and for much of the second half, the Cats played from leads of 11 to 18 points, finally settling for an 11 point win. But for some sloppy free throw shooting down the stretch, and a flurry of second chance points in the last 90 seconds by Georgia, the final margin would have been closer to 20.
The other upper bracket quarterfinal game between favored South Carolina, the 4 seed, and Alabama, the 5 seed, Alabama pulled away at the end for an 11 point win. That game was played within a range of +/- 5 points for all but the final 2 minutes. This sets up the semi-final game for Saturday, Alabama vs Kentucky.
ALABAMA enters this game with a 19-13; 10-8 SEC regular season record and a winner over Mississippi State and South Carolina in the second and quarterfinal rounds of the SEC Tournament. Alabama finished the regular season with only one win (over #78 Mississippi by 15) in their last four games
ALABAMA enters this game with an ANE of 0.126 points per possession against strength of schedule of 0.0684 ppp (#60). The Cats enter this game with an ANE of 0.289 ppp against strength of schedule of 0.0962 ppp (#29). The ANE analysis indicates a Kentucky win by 12 points, 76-64, at apace of 70 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 1.083 ppp and 0.912 ppp. Pomeroy sees this game in Kentucky's favor by 10 points 74-64 at a pace of 69 possessions. Vegas opened favoring the Cats by 10 1/2 points.
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Coach Calipari continues with the starters Edrice (BAM) Adebayo, Derek Willis, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, and De'Aaron Fox.
Alabama controls the opening tip and while they do not score on their first possession, neither do the Cats. Alabama does break the scoring ice on the second trip, and after Isaiah Briscoe ties the score at 2-2, Alabama goes on a 7 point run, forcing Coach Calipari to take an early timeout with 16:11 remaining and the Cats down 9-2. In that first 4 minutes, the Cats committed 4 turnovers to Alabama's 2, and allowed Alabama to grab 3 offensive rebounds resulting in the last 4 points scored by the Crimson Tide. After the timeout, Alabama continues to expand its lead, building it to 10 points, 17-7. A 3 pointer by Malik Monk stopped the run, and trimmed the lead to 7, 17-10, at the under 12 media timeout. Through the first 8 minutes, the Cats are 4-8 shooting but trail due to 5 turnovers, and a 9-0 deficit on second chance points.
In the third segment, the Cats continue to eliminate the Alabama lead, scoring the next 8 points to take the lead for the first time, 18-17, forcing Coach Johnson to take a timeout with 9:43 remaining. Alabama responds with a 3 pointer from the left corner. 1 for 2 from the line by Edrice (BAM) Adebayo and a 3 pointer by De'Aaron Fox put the Cats back into the lead, 22-20, at the under 8 media timeout. To start the fourth segment, Dominique Hawkins steals the ball, and De'Aaron Fox scores. Dominique Hawkins then forces another turnover, but Malik Monk misses from long range. The Cats then trade baskets with the Crimson Tide to a 5 point lead, 33-28, at the under 4 media timeout with 3:18 remaining. The media timeout occurred following a basket by De'Aaron Fox, who will have a free throw to complete a 3 point play after the timeout.
Fox missed his free throw, and near the end of the first half, Malik Monk missed another pair of free throws, allowing Alabama to pull to within 1 point, 33-32, at the half.
The Cats scored 33 points on 35 possessions, 0.943 points per possession, and ALABAMA managed their 32 points on 36 possessions, 0.889 ppp. The Cats made 57.1% (12-21) of their first half shots, including 3-8 (37.5%) from outside the arc. ALABAMA managed to make 37.5% (12-32) of their first half shots, including 2-8 (25.0%) from outside the arc.
The Cats made 6-13 free throws (46.2%) and ALABAMA made 6-7 (85.7%) in the first half.
The Cats committed 10 turnovers while forcing ALABAMA to commit 8.
On the Boards, Alabama won the battle of the boards, 19-14 in the first half, and the Crimson Tide earned a 6-1 advantage on the offensive rebounds, but the Crimson Tide hold an 9-2 advantage on second chance points. The Cats secured 7.1% of their misses and allowed ALABAMA to grab 31.6% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
Kentucky opens the second half with an empty trip, and Alabama scores to move into the lead. After Alabama goes up by 3 points, Isaiah Briscoe makes a pair of free throws and Derek Willis hits a 3 pointer from the right corner to left the Cats back on top by 2. The teams trade baskets to the under 16 media timeout (a timeout called by Kentucky's Coach Calipari) tied 40-40 with 15:34 remaining in the game. In the opening segment, the Cats made 2 of 6 shots and a pair of free throws and Alabama made 4 of 6 shots. In the second segment, the Cats put some space between themselves and the Crimson Tide on the scoreboard, outscoring Alabama 9-2 in the segment to lead 49-42. Alabama takes a timeout with 11:48 remaining in the game. After the Alabama timeout, Alabama misses a 3 point attempt at the end of the shot clock, and Isaiah Briscoe gets fouled on a drive, sending the game to the under 12 media timeout, with Isaiah Briscoe at the line for a pair of attempts. After being outworked on the boards in the first half, they have pulled even in the first 8 minutes of the second half. The Cats have also transformed a 9-2 second chance point deficit to a 10-9 advantage.
After moving on top by a game high 9 points, 51-42, Alabama trimmed the lead to 4 points, 58-54 at the under 8 media timeout. In addition, after the break, Alabama will have a pair of free throws with a chance to trim the lead to only 2 points. During the timeout, the officials ruled that the foul by Isaiah Briscoe was a fragrant 1, so Alabama gets the free throws and possession. After making both free throws, Alabama draws another foul on Isaiah Briscoe, his fourth, sending Alabama back to the line to tie the score, but they miss the second attempt.
In the fourth segment, the teams traded baskets and played with a Kentucky lead of between 1 and 3 points for most of the segment, and 4 points at an Alabama timeout, with 3:50 remaining, and Alabama in possession. In the final segment, De'Aaron Fox takes control on the offensive end of the floor, and the Cats begin to get defensive stops, to stretch their lead to 8, 71-63. Alabama takes its last timeout with 1:33 remaining in the game. Cats win 79-74.
UK scored its 79 points on 66 possessions (1.200 ppp) for the game, and ALABAMA scored its 74 points on 68 possessions (1.088 ppp).
Alabama won the battle of the boards, 33-28, and Alabama won on the offensive end 12-7. Kentucky used its 7 second chance possessions to score 12 second chance points, and ALABAMA used its 12 second chance possessions to score 15 second chance points. ALABAMA had an offensive efficiency of 0.867 ppp on its 68 first chance possessions and 1.250 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 1.015 ppp on its 66 first chance possessions and 1.714 ppp on its 7 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 25.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while ALABAMA was able to convert 36.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line through the first half of this game, but the Cats made 22-26 in the decisive second half to go 27-39 for the game (69.2%). ALABAMA made 15-20 [75.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 23-44 overall [52.3%] and 6-14 from long range [42.9%]. For ALABAMA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 25-48 [52.1%] and from long range, ALABAMA hit 3-14 [21.4%].
The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 5.1 possessions. The Cats forced 12 ALABAMA turnovers, one for every 5.2 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Sunday afternoon, March 12, 2017 at 12:00 pm in the championship game of the SEC Tournament in Nashville. The Opponent will be the winner of Saturday's second semi-final between Vanderbilt and Arkansas.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks