2018-19 Season Analytical Writings

The Cats Slip Into Bad Habits Again
Are These The Real Cats in 2018-19?

In the first four games, the 2018-19 Cats have been less than disappointing. They have been off the charts bad in two of the four games (Duke and VMI) and lackluster against Southern Illinois. Only once has this team turned in a level of play worthy of its preseason rankings.

At the offensive end of the floor, these Cats have some room for improvement.

•  The early season turnover rate is over 20% (14.5 turnovers per game).

•  This team's shooting has been consistent with the past 9 Calipari led Wildcats for overall shooting percentage and 2-point shooting percentage.

•  The 3-point shooting percentage at 33.5% is the lowest since the 2009-10 bunch that fell to West Virginia in the Elite 8 when it could not throw the ball into the ocean from the wet sand. However, there may be extenuating circumstances with the 3-point shooting. The 2009-10 crew shot the ball from the arc at 33.4% which was -0.2% lower than the average 3-point shooting allowed by the 2009-10 opponents. This team, through 4 games, is shooting the ball +2.1% higher than the first four opponents have allowed its early season opponents.

•  Kentucky's Adjusted Offensive Efficiency after four games is about 1.18 points per possession. This early season result is tied for 3 rd best of the Calipari Era with the 2016-17 team's 1.18 ppp for that entire season. The average Calipari offense has had an AOE of 1.16 ppp, with a range of 1.205 ppp (2011-12) to 1.10 ppp (2012-13).

This team's woes are defensive, and the magnitude of the defensive issues are huge in the early going.

•  The early season turnover rate for opponents is under 18% (12.5 turnovers per game).

•  This team's defense against shooting is very poor, by Calipari standards. The opponents have made 45.5% of its shots so far this season, and over the last 9 seasons, opponents have averaged only 39.4% against Calipari teams. 2-point shooting by opponents has been 46.6% as compared to a Calipari Era average of 43.5%. However, without any doubt, the 3-point defense has been atrocious, allowing opponents to make as astounding 41.1% against a Calipari Era average of only 31.4%.

•  Kentucky's Adjusted Defensive Efficiency after four games is about 1.08 points per possession. This early season result without question the worst of his time in Lexington. The average Calipari defense has had an ADE of 0.91 ppp, with a range of 0.81 ppp (2014-15) to 0.95 ppp (2017-18).

#175 Winthrop comes into Rupp today 2-2 overall, but one of their wins came at the expense of Pfeiffer (134-99), a NR opponent. Therefore, Winthrop is 1-2 against D1 competition, with a win at #322 SIU Edwardsville by 12 points, 94-82. Winthop lost at Vanderbilt by 13, 92-79, and at home to East Tennessee State by 2, 76-74. This produces an early season ANE of -0.005 ppp at an average pace of almost 78 possessions per game. In contrast, the #92 Cats bring an ANE of 0.094 ppp at an average pace of just under 73 possessions per game.

The ANE analysis indicates a Kentucky win by 11 points, 83-72, in a game played at a pace of 78 possessions. Pomeroy projects a 20 point Kentucky win over Winthrop, 90-70, at a pace of about 75 possessions. Vegas has opened with the Cats favored by 23 ½ points. For the reasons identified above, the primary focus on this game against Winthrop is whether the final margin is 10 or less, or 25 or more at the final buzzer.

See how other UK fans handicap this game at 247Sports, The Cats Pause message board at:

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Game Summary:

Following the poor game against VMI on Sunday, Coach Calipari changes the starting lineup inserting Nick Richards for E. J. Montgomery along with PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson, Immanuel Quickley, and Tyler Herro to start the 5 th game of this season. Ashton Hagans, Reid Travis, E. J. Montgomery, and Quade Green will come off the bench. Jemarl Baker remains unavailable with knee issues.

Kentucky controls the opening tip and the Cats score first with a lob to PJ Washington. The teams trade baskets to a 9-8 UK lead. Then E. J. Montgomery gets a layup from an assist by Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson hits a 3 pointer from the top of the circle to lift the Cats to an early 6 point lead, 14-8, at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, the Cats extend their lead to 10 points, 26-16 at the under 12 media timeout. In the first 8 minutes, the pace has been a 90 possession level. The Cats have hit 4 of 8 three point attempts in the early going while allowing Winthrop to make 3 of 5 attempts from outside the arc.

In the third segment, the Cats ran the score to 36-19, but Winthrop scored the last 4 points of the segment to close the lead to 13 points, 36-23 at the under 8 media timeout. In the fourth segment, the Cats again extend their lead to 16 points, 42-26, but back to back 3 pointers reduced the lead to 10 points, 44-34, at the under 4 media timeout with 2:51 left in the half.

The Cats go to the locker room with a 14 point lead, 51-37.

The Cats scored 51 points on 44 possessions, 1.159 points per possession, and WINTHROP managed their 37 points on 43 possessions, 0.860 ppp. The Cats made 60.0% of their first half shots, including 4-10 from outside the arc. WINTHROP managed to make 42.4% of their first half shots, including 7-17 from outside the arc.

The Cats made 11-16 free throws (68.8%) and WINTHROP managed to make 2-5 free throws (40.0%).

On the Boards, the Cats controlled the glass 25-11 overall, and Kentucky won the battle on the offensive glass 4-0. The Wildcats used its second chance possessions to outscore the WINTHROP 2-0 on second chance points. The Cats secured 26.7% of their misses and allowed WINTHROP to grab 0.0% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

WINTHROP opens the second half with a turnover. The Cats begin the second half with 9 straight points forcing a WINTHROP timeout with 17:30 left and the Cats on top by 23, 60-37. After the timeout, the Cats extend the lead to 62-37 before Winthrop stops the run with their 8 th 3 pointer of the game to trim the lead to 22 points, 62-40, at the under 16 media timeout.

At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats lead by 23, 76-53. After the media timeout, Winthrop makes 3 three pointers to trim the lead from 25 points to 17 points, forcing Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 6:20 left in the game, and the score 79-62. In the 4 th segment, the Cats maintain the 17 point lead, 85-68 at the under 4 media timeout with 2:43 left in the game.

Cats win by 13, 87-74.


UK scored its 87 points on 79 possessions (1.101 ppp) for the game, and WINTHROP scored its 74 points on 79 possessions (0.937 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 37-22, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 7-2. Kentucky used its 7 second chance possessions to score 4 second chance points, and WINTHROP used its 2 second chance possessions to score 6 second chance points. WINTHROP had an offensive efficiency of 0.861 ppp on its 79 first chance possessions and 3.000 ppp for its 2 second chance possessions. UK had 1.051 ppp on its 79 first chance possessions and 0.572 ppp on its 7 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 25.9%of its misses as offensive rebounds while WINTHROP was able to convert 6.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 18-24 [75.0%]. WINTHROP made 5-8 [62.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 31-55 overall [56.4%] and 7-18 from long range [38.9%]. For WINTHROP, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 15-31 [48.4%] and from long range, WINTHROP hit 13-28 [46.4%].

The Cats committed 19 turnovers, one for every 4.2 possessions. The Cats forced 19 WINTHROP turnovers, one for every 4.2 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Friday evening, again at Rupp Arena, the Cats will take on Tennessee State in the sixth regular season game of the 2018-19 season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks



Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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