2018-19 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Face UNC Greensboro,
Their Toughest Opponent Since The Opening Game

On Wednesday night, the Cats we had expected to see from the beginning finally made an appearance at Rupp Arena and when all the dust settled on the game against Monmouth, the Cats overwhelmed the Hawks by 46 points, 90-44. This level of performance was a very welcome sight. For the first time this season, the Cats turned in a full 40 minutes of domination.

However, November's schedule is completed, and on Saturday the Cats make their first appearance for their five game December schedule. UNC Greensboro enters the game at Rupp as the #52 ranked ANE team. This is quite a step up in the quality of competition from #328 Monmouth, #302 VMI, and #280 North Dakota.

Greensboro brings a 7-1 record into Rupp Arena on Saturday. The Spartans' only loss occurred in their second game of the year at #55 LSU by 6 points. However, Greensboro next toughest opponent has been against #115 Louisiana Tech on a neutral court, and Greensboro won that game by 7. Two of the Greensboro wins have come at the expense of non-D1 opponents Johnson & Wales and Greensboro.

The Greensboro body of work against D1 opponents has produced an ANE of 0.143 points per possession. The 46 point win on Wednesday night raised UK's ANE from the 0.085 ppp it had entering the Monmouth game to 0.147 ppp entering the Greensboro game on Saturday. That surge, propelled by the Monmouth blowout, gives UK slimmest statistical edge over the Spartans if they were playing at a neutral location. The Rupp home court advantage elevates the edge for the Cats to 4-point favorite, 79-75, in a game played at a pace of 72 possessions. Pomeroy projects a 11 point Kentucky win over Greensboro, 81-70, at a pace of about 70 possessions. The primary focus on this game against UNC Greensboro is whether the final margin is 15 or more, or a dreaded loss.

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Game Summary:

After finally getting a full game effort for his team on Wednesday, Coach Calipari stays with the starting lineup of Reid Travis, PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson, Immanuel Quickley, and Tyler Herro to start the 8 th game of this season. Ashton Hagans, Nick Richards, E. J. Montgomery, and Quade Green will come off the bench. Jemarl Baker remains unavailable with knee issues.

Greensboro controls the opening tip and gets a score on a baseline floater. After a Kentucky miss, Greensboro hits a 3 pointer for an early 5-0 lead. The Cats catch up on a Keldon Johnson 3 pointer from the right corner and a pair of free throws. Greensboro moves back into the lead, leading by as many as 4 points to a 13-11 lead at the under 16 media timeout with 14:59 left. In the second segment, the Cats pulled even for the second time at 13-13, but failed to score again in the segment as Greensboro reestablished a 4 point lead, 17-13, at the under 12 media timeout. The Cats will have a pair of free throws after the break.

Immanuel Quickley missed the first attempt and made the second. The free throw is the beginning of a UK run of 8 points capped by a 3 pointer by PJ Washington forcing Greensboro to take a timeout with 9:55 remaining and the Cats holding their first lead of the game, 21-17. After the timeout, Greensboro commits their 4 th turnover allowing the Cats to extend their run to 10 points. A pair of free throws stops the Kentucky run at 10, 23-19. The Cats turn the ball over on the inbounds pass, and Greensboro makes their 4 th 3 pointer to trim the lead to 1 point. The Cats stop the Greensboro run of 5 points to lead 25-22 at the under 8 media timeout, and Reid Travis will have a pair of free throws after the break.

Reid Travis made both of the free throws to extend the Cats' lead to 5 points. In the fourth segment, Greensboro hangs tough, staying within 2 to 4 points throughout the segment. The Cats lead stands at 2 points, 31-29, at the under 4 media timeout, and Greensboro has the ball. In the final segment, Keldon Johnson rolled his ankle with 3:17 left and had to return to the locker room. Greensboro catches up at 35-35 on 3 free throws after Quade Green fouled a 3 point shooter. Greensboro outscores the Cats 5-2 down the stretch to take a 3 point lead, 40-37, to the locker room.

The Cats scored 37 points on 37 possessions, 1.000 points per possession, and GREENSBORO managed their 40 points on 36 possessions, 1.111 ppp. The Cats made 46.7% of their first half shots, including 2-7 from outside the arc. GREENSBORO managed to make 45.2% of their first half shots, including 6-8 from outside the arc.

The Cats made 7-11 free throws (63.6%) and GREENSBORO managed to make 6-8 free throws (75.0%).

On the Boards, the Cats controlled the glass 20-14 overall, and Kentucky controlled the offensive glass 7-4. Kentucky could not use its additional second chance possessions to to an advantage on second chance points, as each team managed 6. The Cats secured 41.2% of their misses and allowed GREENSBORO to grab 23.5% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

Keldon Johnson has returned to the game. Kentucky opens the second half with several missed opportunities to score, but Greensboro does not take advantage and the score remains the same for the first 2 minutes of the second half. The Cats catch up at 42-42, but Greensboro answers with another 3 pointer and a fast break layup to move on top by 5. The Cats pull back to within 2 points, 47-45, at the under 16 media timeout with 15:05 left, and Tyler Herro will have a pair of free throws after the break. In the second segment, Greensboro played in the lead the entire segment, leading between 2 and 4 points, and leading by 2 points, 55-53 at the under 12 media timeout.

In the third segment, neither team scored many points. The Cats eased into a 1 point lead on a 3 point play, Greensboro returned to a 1 point lead with a basket, and the Cats returned to the lead, 58-57 just before the under 8 media timeout with 7:25 remaining in the game. After the break, Keldon Johnson will have free throws. Keldon Johnson made both free throws, and scored on back to back dunks aided by strong screens by Reid Travis to give the Cats their largest lead of the game, 7 points, 64-57. Greensboro takes a timeout with 5:39 left in the game. After the timeout, Greensboro stops the Kentucky run with a basket to trim the Kentucky lead to 5 points. However, the Cats respond with back to back baskets by Tyler Herro to move on top by 9 points, 68-59, and Greensboro takes another timeout with 3:44 left in the game.

After the timeout, Greensboro stops the UK run again with a quick basket. This would be Greensboro's last score of the game and the Cats win impressively 78-61.


UK scored its 78 points on 71 possessions (1.099 ppp) for the game, and GREENSBORO scored its 61 points on 71 possessions (0.859 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 46-30, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 15-12. GREENSBORO used its 12 second chance possessions to score 12 second chance points, and Kentucky used its 15 second chance possessions to 13 second chance points. GREENSBORO had an offensive efficiency of 0.690 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 0.915 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 0.867 ppp on its 15 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 45.5%of its misses as offensive rebounds while GREENSBORO was able to convert 27.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 17-24 [70.8%]. GREENSBORO made 6-10 [60.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-58 overall [48.3%] and 5-12 from long range [41.7%]. For GREENSBORO, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 17-47 [36.2%] and from long range, GREENSBORO hit 7-20 [35.0%].

The Cats committed 17 turnovers, one for every 4.2 possessions. The Cats forced 11 GREENSBORO turnovers, one for every 6.5 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon, at MSG against Seton Hall in the ninth regular season game of the 2018-19 season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks



Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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