BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2018-19 Season Analytical Writings
We have seen the 2018-19 Cats play four times in the Bahamas in August against an array of strong opponents, at the Big Blue Madness and Blue-White game against each other, and last Friday against Transy in the first of two exhibition games. In my mind, the team's performance against Transy was the weakest of these seven public displays. However, I also believe this was an aberration for this group rather than a trend or the sounding of an alarm bell for the Big Blue Nation.
The 94-66 win is quite weak considering the Calipari Cats have defeated their first exhibition opponents by an average of 42 points. However, this is NOT the weakest exhibition performance by a Calipari team. That distinction belongs to the 2013-14 group that only defeated Montevallo by 23 points, 95-72 in their second exhibition game.
Seven of Calipari's previous nine teams improved between Exhibitions 1 and 2. In addition to the 2013-14 group that declined by 11 point on the margin, the 2015-16 group declined by 6 points. The seven that improved between #1 and #2, the margin gains were 29 points (2010), 37 points (2011), 41 points (2012), 14 points (2013), 21 points (2015), 36 points (2017), and 1 point (2018). Calipari's teams have generally shown great improvement between their first and last exhibition games. I expect this team will improve from their 28 point win over Transy when they take the floor against IUP this Friday.
This will be IUP's first ever appearance in Rupp against a Kentucky team. This game shapes up to be a 58 point game, 110-52, but if the Cats are angry and on their game, I will not be surprised by a margin at some point during the game in excess of 65 points.
Coach Calipari's starting lineup for the final tuneup prior to Duke includes PJ Washington, Reid Travis, Ashton Hagans, Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro. E. J. Montgomery, Quade Green, Immanuel Quickley, and Nick Richards will come off the bench. Jemarl Baker will not be available tonight due to a “knee issue.”
Kentucky controls the opening tip, and Tyler Herro starts the scoring with a 3 pointer. The Cats move on top 13-10 at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, Tyler Herro's second 3 pointer of the game, and the 4 th of the game for the Cats, lifts the Cats to a 5 point lead, 18-13, at the under 12 media timeout.
In the third segment, three pointers by Keldon Johnson and Reid Travis coupled with 3 IUP turnovers and two missed shots propelled the Cats to a 28-13 lead, forcing an IUP timeout with 9:30 left in the half. After the timeout, IUP stops the UK run with a 3 pointer, and the Cats lead by 16, 32-16, at the under 8 media timeout with 6:37 left in the half. In an abbreviated 4 th segment, IUP hit 3 of 4 three pointers and trimmed the UK lead to 11 points, 36-25 at the under 4 media timeout.
IUP trimmed the lead to 6 points, 40-34 before Tyler Herro hits another 3 pointer to close out the scoring in the first half with the Cats leading by 9 points, 43-34.
The Cats scored 43 points on 34 possessions, 1.264 points per possession, and IUP managed their 34 points on 34 possessions, 1.000 ppp. The Cats made 53.1% of their first half shots, and 7-15 from outside the arc. IUP made 40.6% shooting in the first half, but managed to make 5 of 14 shots from long range (35.7%) and only 8-18 from inside the arc.
The Cats made 2-2 free throws (100.0%) and IUP managed to make 3-4 free throws (75.0%).
On the Boards, the Cats controlled the glass 20-14 overall, and the Cats had a 5-4 advantage on the offensive glass. The Cats secured 33.3% of their misses and limited IUP to only 21.1% of their misses as second chance opportunities. The Cats committed 6 turnovers, one for each 5.7 possessions while IUP committed 4 turnovers, one for each 8.5 possessions.
IUP opens the second half with a 3 pointer, and only trail the Cats by 5, 49-44 at the under 16 media timeout. At the under 12 media timeout, the Cats lead is 11 points, 57-47.
At the under 8 media timeout, the lead remains 9 points, 64-55. At the under 4 media timeout, the score is 77-60.
Cats win 86-64
UK scored its 86 points in a total of 68 possessions (1.265 ppp) for the game, and IUP scored its 64 points on a total of 67 possessions (0.956 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 39-25, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 12-9. Kentucky used its 12 second chance possessions to score 8 second chance points, winning the second chance points battle 8-2. IUP had an offensive efficiency of 0.925 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 0.222 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 1.147 ppp on its 68 first chance possessions and 0.667 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed a strong 42.9%of its misses as offensive rebounds while IUP was able to convert 25.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit very well from the free throw line in this game, making 19-21 [90.5%]. IUP made 14-18 [77.8%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 29-58 overall [50.0%] and 9-22 from long range [40.9%]. For IUP, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 13-32 [40.6%] and from long range, IUP hit 8-24 [33.3%].
The Cats committed 14 turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions. The Cats forced 11 IUP turnovers, one for every 6.1 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday night in the Champions Classic against Duke in Indianapolis in the first regular season game of the 2018-19 season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks