BIG BLUE FANS FOR
The Calendar has turned to December, and the Cats will mark the second month of the basketball season with their second venture out of Lexington. In November, the Cats traveled to Chicago where they sustained their only loss of this season to Kansas. This time, the Cats are on their way to New York City to face Monmouth at the Madison Square Garden. Monmouth is no Kansas, yet today Coach Calipari warned that Monmouth would challenge his Cats, and warned about a potential lack of energy for a noon tip off.
I am beginning to wonder if Coach Calipari has no shame in making such ridiculous public pronouncements. Any Kentucky basketball team that lacks the energy to play basketball, whether at noon, 2 pm, 5 pm, 8 pm, or midnight, is a problem that is unrelated to the time on a clock. Further, Kansas, which just lost its first game of the season, has been the most efficient team in the nation and remains in the #2 spot following its loss this week. Monmouth on the other hand is no Kansas. Monmouth enters Saturday's game with a 3-6 record, and #150 ranking based on ANE as of today.
Kentucky on the other hand has not played at a level consistent with its ranking in the subjective wire service polls, and it is not even close. Kentucky enters this game ranked #49 based on ANE. This ranking explains why these Cats have failed to put lesser opponents away by margins on par with a championship contending team. Talk about lacking energy, or lacking stamina, or lacking experience, or the starting time of the games, or the strength of the array of opponents that have competed at Rupp Arena against this team to margins of 10 (#147 Utah Valley), 4 (#71 Vermont), 8 (#133 Troy), or 9 (#155 Harvard) are nothing but diversions to avoid the unpleasant truth. This team's play has not measured up to standards established by teams capable of competing on the big stage in March.
So, Big Blue Nation, brace for another “tough” opponent this Saturday. The Hawks of Monmouth are coming!
Monmouth will enter the game as the #151 rated team at Pomeroy. Monmouth has started the 2017-18 season with a 3-6 record. The Hawks's three wins have been over #97 Bucknell by 1, at #198 Lehigh by 8, and over #99 Albany by 8. However, among Monmouth's six losses are a 1 point home loss to #146 Hofstra this Wednesday and a home loss to #144 Penn by 5 in 4OT.
The Adjusted Net Efficiency (ANE) analysis for this match up indicates a 14 point Kentucky win over Monmouth in a game played at 72 possessions, 79-65. Pomeroy sees this game with Kentucky having a 14-point advantage, 79-65 played at a pace of 71 possessions.
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Coach Calipari will start Nick Richards, Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, Quade Green, and Hamidou Diallo in the starting lineup for the seventh game in a row. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Wenyen Gabriel, and Tai Wynyard will provide the primary bench help. Jarred Vanderbilt remains unavailable and Sacha Killeya-Jones is out today with an ankle injury, and his status is day-to-day.
The Cats control the opening tip and Hamidou Diallo scores on a lob to the baseline. After the Cats move on top 4-0 on a second chance basket, Monmouth scores 5 straight, taking advantage of Kentucky turnovers, to take a 1 point lead. The Cats got 5 points from Quade Green on a 3 pointer and a floater in the lane. At the under 16 media timeout, the Cats lead by 2 points, 9-7, and Tai Wynyard will have a pair of free throws after the break. The Cats started the second segment with Tai Wynyard hitting both free throws, and after Monmouth converted 1 of 2 free throws at the other end to trim the score to 11-8, the Cats scored the next 11 to move on top by 14, 22-8. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats lead remained at 14, 24-10, and Hamidou Diallo will be at the line for a pair of free throws after the break.
In the third segment, the Cats extended their 14 point lead to a game high 18 points on two occasions, 30-12, and 33-15. However, Monmouth scored 5 straight points to trim the lead back to 13 points, 33-20, and Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 7;58 remaining. In the first 12 minutes, each team has had 26 possession (83 possession pace). In the fourth segment, the Cats reasserted their control over this game, outscoring the Hawks 12-2 in the segment to expand their lead to 23 points, 45-22, at the under 4 media timeout with 2:58 remaining, and PJ Washington at the line for a pair of free throws.
PJ Washington makes both of his free throws to extend the lead to 25 points.
The Cats finish the half with a 23 point lead, 54-31.
The Cats scored 54 points on 41 possessions, 1.318 points per possession, and MONMOUTH managed their 31 points on 41 possessions, 0.756 ppp. The Cats made 58.6% of their first half shots, including 5-9 from outside the arc. MONMOUTH managed to make 31.3% of their first half shots, including 4-16 from outside the arc.
The Cats committed 10 turnovers in the first half while MONMOUTH committed 9 turnovers.
The Cats made 15-21 free throws (71.4%) and MONMOUTH was 7-11 (63.6%) from the line in the first half.
On the Boards, the Cats controlled the boards with a 27-13 advantage, and the Cats won the battle on the offensive glass 8-5. The Cats used their 8 offensive rebounds to score 4 second chance points while the Hawks used its 5 offensive rebounds for 3 second chance points. The Cats secured 50.0% of their misses and allowed MONMOUTH to grab 20.8% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
Monmouth opens the second half with a basket in the lane. Despite 3 UK turnovers in the segment, the Cats maintained their halftime lead at 23 points, 61-38, at the under 16 media timeout. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats lead by 27, 68-41. It's Calipari time with about 10 minutes remaining and the Cats up 72-44 on about 60 possessions. At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats' lead shrinks to only 23 points, 78-55, with 6:28 remaining in the game, and 65 total possessions. Brad Calipari left the game during the timeout.
The Cats move back out to a 26 point lead at the under 4 media timeout, 85-59 with a game ANE of 0.381 ppp on 71 possessioins.
Cats win 93-76.
UK scored its 93 points on 79 possessions (1.192 ppp) for the game, and MONMOUTH scored its 76 points on 79 possessions (0.962 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 47-33, but MONMOUTH won the battle of the offensive glass in the second half to pull even with the Cats, 15-15. Kentucky used its 15 second chance possessions to score 12 second chance points, and MONMOUTH used its 15 second chance possessions to score 13 second chance points. MONMOUTH had an offensive efficiency of 0.798 ppp on its 79 first chance possessions and 0.867 ppp for its 15 second chance possessions. UK had 1.039 ppp on its 78 first chance possessions and 0.800 ppp on its 15 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 45.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MONMOUTH was able to convert 31.9% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 24-32 [75.0%]. MONMOUTH made 14-18 [77.8%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 31-59 overall [52.2%] and 7-19 from long range [36.8%]. For MONMOUTH, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 16-41 [39.0%] and from long range, MONMOUTH hit 10-30 [33.3%].
The Cats committed 18 turnovers, one for every 4.3 possessions. The Cats forced 15 MONMOUTH turnovers, one for every 5.3 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena against Virginia Tech for the tenth regular season game of the 2017-18 season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks