BIG BLUE FANS FOR
Despite ending the regular season with a loss at Florida last Saturday, the Cats earned the #4 Seed in this weekend's SEC Tournament when Missouri stopped Arkansas on Saturday evening. But for a loss to Georgia in the second round of the SEC Tournament, Missouri could have been the Cats' first post season opponent. But, it would not be so.
Since last Saturday, the Cats have lost, at least temporarily, the services of Jarred Vanderbilt due to an ankle injury sustained in Practice on Tuesday. The UK statement on Jarred Vanderbilt's condition is he is day-to-day, but most do not expect him to see action Friday. This is a serious loss for the Cats as they begin their “second season.” Despite the rust, his high motor coupled with his game developing with his experience lifted the quality of the Cats' play. A direct comparison of the team's ANE for the 17 games prior to his return (0.171 ppp) to the team's ANE for the 14 games since his return (0.195 ppp), it is clear that his impact on this team has been significant and measurable.
In Georgia's game on Thursday against Missouri, the Bulldogs from Athens, Georgia avenged a 12 point loss at Missouri by beating the Tigers by 12 points in the SEC Tournament's second round game. The Dawgs advanced to the second round after an impressive 16 point win over Vanderbilt in the first round of the tournament. Therefore, a red hot Georgia team will be playing its 3 rd game in less than 48 hours when it takes the floor on Friday afternoon to face a well-rested, albeit a Vanderbilt-less, group of Kentucky Wildcats.
The Cats faced the Dawgs in their first SEC game of the 2018 season, getting a very difficult 5 point win at Rupp. Georgia finished the regular season with a 16-14, 7-11 record, including losing 3 of their last 4 games, and 6 of their last 9. However, in the post season they advanced to the SEC Quarterfinals with a 2 game winning streak playing very solid basketball in the process.
Georgia's 18-14 record has produced an ANE of 0.126 ppp (#65) by playing a schedule with a strength of 0.1030 ppp (#15). The Cats' 21-10 record has produced an ANE of 0.188 ppp (#29) by playing a schedule with a strength of 0.1095 ppp (#10). The ANE analysis gives the edge to Kentucky by 5 points, 73-68, in a game played at a pace of 70 possessions. Pomeroy has Kentucky favored by 5, 70-65 with a pace of 65 possessions.
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Jarred Vanderbilt sitting with an ankle injury. Coach Calipari will start Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nick Richards, Kevin Knox, Wenyen Gabriel, and Hamidou Diallo against Georgia. PJ Washington, Sacha Killeya-Jones, and Quade Green represent the experienced bench tonight.
The Cats control the opening tip and fail to score. Georgia scores on its first shot to move out to the early 2-0 lead. However, the Cats score the next 8 points to lead 8-2 at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, Georgia trimmed the lead to 2 points, 8-6 before a 3 pointer by Wenyen Gabriel extended the lead to 5. At the under 12 media timeout, Kentucky holds a 3 point lead, 13-10, and the Cats will have the ball after this break.
In the third segment, Georgia catches up at 13-13 on a 3 pointer. After a second tie at 15-15, the Cats stretch a lead to 4 points, but another 3 pointer by Georgia trims the lead to 1 point, 19-18, at the under 8 media timeout. Georgia will have the ball after this break. Georgia gets to the free throw line but misses both attempts, and the Cats score at the other end to ease back on top by 3 points. In the 4 th segment, the Cats manage one more free throw to lead by 4 again, but Georgia hits its third 3 pointer of the game to cut the lead back to 1 point, 22-21, at the under 4 media timeout.
Georgia moves into the lead, 23-22, when Kentucky fouls a 3 point shooter and Georgia made 2 of the 3 free throws. The Cats reclaimed the lead on their next possession, and a 3 pointer by Kevin Knox extended the lead to 4 points. 1 of 2 from the line by Kevin Knox extended the lead to 5 points. A basket by PJ Washington on the Cats' last possession gives them a 7 point halftime lead, 30-23.
The largest lead of the first half was 7 points for the Cats and 2 points for Georgia. There were 4 ties and 3 lead changes.
The Cats scored 30 points on 30 possessions, 1.000 points per possession, and GEORGIA managed their 23 points on 29 possessions, 0.793 ppp. The Cats made 43.3% (13-30) of their first half shots, including 2-10 from outside the arc. GEORGIA managed to make 27.6% (8-29) of their first half shots, including 3-9 from outside the arc.
The Cats committed 4 turnovers in the first half while GEORGIA committed 6 turnovers.
The Cats made 2-5 from the line (40.0%) and GEORGIA made 4-7 from the line (57.1%).
On the Boards, the Bulldogs won the rebounding battle 21-19, and the Bulldogs controlled the offensive glass 9-6. Georgia won the second chance points 4-2. The Cats secured 33.3% of their misses and allowed GEORGIA to grab 40.9% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
Kentucky opens the second half and Wenyen Gabriel makes his second 3 pointer of the game to give the Cats their largest lead of the game, and first double digit lead, 33-23. After a Georgia missed shot, Georgia takes a quick timeout with 19:15 remaining on the clock. After the timeout, Georgia trims the lead back to 7 with a 3 pointer, 33-26, but the Cats respond with a basket by Kevin Knox, a 3 point play by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and a 3 pointer by Kevin Knox to extend their lead to 15, 41-26. Georgia is forced to take another timeout with 16:28 left in the game. At the end of the second segment, the Cats lead by 14, 47-33 at the under 12 media timeout with 11:20 left in the game.
In the third segment, the Cats and the Dawgs traded baskets and the Cats maintain a 13 point lead, 54-41, at the under 8 media timeout with only 6:42 remaining. After the timeout, the Cats will be shooting free throws.
In the fourth segment, the Cats maintain their lead in the 11 to 14 point range, and it stands at 12 points, 58-46, at the under 4 media timeout with 3:38 left in the game.
Cats win 62-49 and advance to the SEC Semifinals to face a red hot Alabama team.
UK scored its 62 points on 58 possessions (1.069 ppp) for the game, and GEORGIA scored its 49 points on 57 possessions (0.860 ppp).
Georgia won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 42-39, and Georgia controlled the offensive glass 16-12. Kentucky used its 12 second chance possessions to score 2 second chance points, and GEORGIA used its 16 second chance possessions to score 9 second chance points. GEORGIA had an offensive efficiency of 0.702 ppp on its 57 first chance possessions and 0.563 ppp for its 16 second chance possessions. UK had 1.035 ppp on its 58 first chance possessions and 0.167 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 31.6% of its misses as offensive rebounds while GEORGIA was able to convert 37.2% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK made 5-10 (50.0%) from the free throw line in this game. GEORGIA made 13-21 [61.9%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 26-61 overall [42.6%] and 5-17 from long range [29.4%]. For Georgia, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 9-30 [30.0%] and from long range, GEORGIA hit 6-23 [26.1%].
The Cats committed 5 turnovers, one for every 11.6 possessions. The Cats forced 11 GEORGIA turnovers, one for every 5.2 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: The Cats will play next in the SEC Tournament Semifinal on Saturday afternoon at about 1 PM against Alabama.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks