BIG BLUE FANS FOR
The regular season is 1/3 complete with ten games in the books. After the slowest start of the Calipari Era, the Cats have shown signs of growth and improvement over the last five games. In the first five outings, the Cats failed to cover the predicted margin four times, and were “Under” the Over/Under line set at Vegas all five games. In the last five games, the Cats have reversed their fortunes, covering the predicted margin four times and exceeding the Over/Under line set at Vegas all five games. The Cats' last game, an impressive 7 point win over a very good Virginia Tech team was arguably the Cats' best single game of the first ten tries.
Camp Cal is not in full gear, and the team will get a welcome respite from the rigors of that routine to travel to New Orleans to face UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic. Kentucky's ANE ranking improved from #51 to #43 following the Virginia Tech win. UCLA on the other hand lost 2 of their last three games, at #37 Michigan by 9 and to #14 Cincinnati by 14 at Pauley. However, the Bruins squandered a 24 point lead in their last game on Tuesday night at Pauley, barely beating #75 South Dakota by 3 points. Earlier this season, UCLA beat #79 Wisconsin by 2 on a neutral court.
As a result, UCLA is the #81 team (ANE) with an ANE of 0.094 ppp with a record of 8-3. The Cats enter this game with a 9-1 record and an ANE of 0.168 ppp. The Adjusted Net Efficiency (ANE) analysis for this match up indicates a 6 point Kentucky win over UCLA, in a game played at 79possessions, 79-73. Pomeroy sees this game with Kentucky having the 7-point advantage, 83-76 played at a pace of 76 possessions.
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Coach Calipari will start Quade Green, Nick Richards, Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, and Hamidou Diallo in the starting lineup. 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 missing a 3 point attempt without drawing iron. UCLA gets on the board first with a 3 pointer. After the Cats move on top by 4 points, 11-7, UCLA scores the last 8 points of the segment to lead by 4 points, 15-11, at the under 16 media timeout with 14:31 remaining. In the opening segment, UK committed 3 turnovers, to 0 for UCLA, and UCLA has the advantage on the glass with 2-1 edge on offensive rebounds and 2-0 edge on second chance points. In an abbreviated second segment, the Cats trim the UCLA lead to 1 point, 16-15 at the under 12 media timeout with 11:55 remaining.
In the third segment, UCLA opened with a 3 pointer and a bucket to take its biggest lead of the game, 6 points, 21-15. Over the balance of the segment, the Cats battled back to a one point deficit at the under 8 media timeout with 7:41 remaining. The Cats have the ball, trailing 26-25. After the break, the Cats score the next 6 points (11 straight overall) to move on top 32-26 forcing UCLA to take a timeout with 5:23 remaining. After the timeout, the Cats extended their lead to 8 points, but UCLA ended the Cats' 13-0 run with a 3 pointer to trim the lead to 5 points. The Cats lead by 5, 34-29, at the under 4 media timeout, and the Cats are in possession.
In the final segment, a 3 pointer by Wenyen Gabriel moves the lead back to 8, but UCLA answers with a layup and a 3 pointer to trim the lead to 3 points, 37-34, forcing Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 2:16 left in the first half. UCLA ties the score with another 3 pointer, and the teams go to the locker room tied, 39-39.
The Cats scored 39 points on 38 possessions, 1.026 points per possession, and UCLA managed their 39 points on 37 possessions, 1.054 ppp. The Cats made 39.0% of their first half shots, including 2-10 from outside the arc. UCLA managed to make 48.5% of their first half shots, including 6-16 from outside the arc.
The Cats committed 5 turnovers in the first half while UCLA committed 8 turnovers.
The Cats made 5-6 free throws (83.3%) and UCLA was 1-2 (50.0%) from the line in the first half.
On the Boards, the Cats controlled the boards with a 23-20 advantage, and the Cats won the battle on the offensive glass 11-5. The Cats used their 11 offensive rebounds to score 6 second chance points while the Bruins used its 5 offensive rebounds for 4 second chance points. The Cats secured 42.3% of their misses and allowed UCLA to grab 29.4% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
UCLA opens the second half with a 3 pointer, just as they opened the game. After the Cats miss on their first two possessions, UCLA hits a second chance 3 pointer to move on top by a game high 6 points, 45-39, forcing Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 18:36 remaining. After the timeout, the Cats commit back to back turnovers resulting in 5 more UCLA points to move on top by 11, 50-39. The Cats get back into the game with an 9-0 run of its own to trim the lead to 2 points. The score is 52-48 at the under 16 media timeout with 15:14 remaining, and Wenyen Gabriel at the line for a pair of free throws. Gabriel missed his first attempt, and after another UCLA turnover, a 3 pointer by Kevin Knox tied the score at 52-52. However, UCLA reasserts control over the game with 5 in a row, and lead by 5, 64-59, at the under 12 media timeout with 10:33 remaining, and UCLA in possession of the ball.
In the third segment, UCLA moves back on top by double digits, 10 points, at the under 8 media timeout 69-59, with 7:33 remaining, and UCLA will have a pair of free throws after the timeout. The Bruins make both free throws to move on top by 12 points. The Cats respond with a 3 point play by PJ Washington and a second chance basket by Wenyen Gabriel to trim the lead to 7, 71-64. UCLA takes another timeout with 5:25 remaining. The Cats trim another 2 points from the lead to trail by 4, 73-69, at the under 4 media timeout with 2:56 remaining in the game and UCLA in possession.
In the final possession, the Cats failed to close the gap and fall to the Bruins by 8, 83-75.
The Cats fell back into their previous pattern of poor game following a good effort, diminishing the significance of the strong game they turned in against Virginia Tech last Saturday.
UK scored its 75 points on 73 possessions (1.027 ppp) for the game, and UCLA scored its 83 points on 71 possessions (1.169 ppp).
UCLA won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 37-36, but the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass, 16-11. Kentucky used its 16 second chance possessions to score 10 second chance points, and UCLA used its 11 second chance possessions to score 20 second chance points. UCLA had an offensive efficiency of 0.887 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.818 ppp for its 11 second chance possessions. UK had 0.890 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 0.625 ppp on its 16 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 38.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while UCLA was able to convert 35.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 11-16 [68.8%]. UCLA made 13-15 [86.7%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 29-68 overall [42.6%] and 6-21 from long range [28.6%]. For UCLA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 17-31 [54.8%] and from long range, UCLA hit 12-30 [40.0%].
The Cats committed 14 turnovers, one for every 5.2 possessions. The Cats forced 14 UCLA turnovers, one for every 5.1 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Friday afternoon at Rupp Arena against Louisville for the twelfth regular season game of the 2017-18 season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks