2018-19 Season Analytical Writings

Cats-Cards 2018

On Saturday in Chicago, Coach Calipari's Cats held the upper hand over Roy Williams' Tarheels in the CBS Sports Classic. The Cats' effort was strong for the full 40 minutes as they controlled the boards and held a high scoring North Carolina group to only 72 points in a game played at an elevated pace of 83 possessions. Clearly, this game signaled UK's return to the 2018-19 championship conversation.

How will the Cats respond to this good fortune when they make the 90-mile trip west to take on a resurging Louisville Cardinal program under first year coach Chris Mack? We will find out on Saturday afternoon when the 2018 version of the Cats and the Cards occurs in the YUM center.

Yes, Cats Cards; 2018.

There is a long, long history that defines this annual war, and you can review that entire history at the following link:

Suffice it to restate the obvious; these programs do not like one another, and that itself is an understatement of huge proportion. Last year's edition of this intra-state war was a transition battle from the Calipari-Pitino battle field when the Cards were led by one year interim coach Padgett. This year this war moves into a new Era (Calipari-Mack) as Chris Mack puts his stamp on the Louisville basketball program. From 2001 through the 2017 season, Pitino earned a 2-4 edge over Tubby Smith. Pitino's fortunes against the Wildcats changed after Tubby left Kentucky, 2-0 against the ill-fated Billy Gillispie, and 2-8 against Coach Calipari. Final record: 6-12. Coach Crum, who ushered in the Cats and Cards war in 1983 for the Cards finished his coaching career with a 7-13 records against the Cats. On Saturday, the Cards will start the Mack Era of this rivalry against the Cats.

The beginning of the Mack Era is not the only unique aspect of this year's encounter. For the second consecutive season, neither team has played well enough to rank in the top 10, efficiency based, at the time of their meeting. Prior to last year when this occurred, the last such encounter had been during the 2006-7 season when both teams were still ranked in the top 20, if not the top 10. This year's encounter will feature two teams ranked outside the top 20.

The Cards' twelve games have seen six opponents ranked in the top 60 and 5 of those opponents are in the top 40 (ANE). The Cards' schedule to date has been relatively strong with a SOS value of +.0370 ppp (#84). The Cards have lost to #15 Tennessee by 11 and to #37 Marquette by 3 in OT on neutral courts, and at #21 Indiana by 1. The Cards won at #59 Seton Hall by 5, and at home against #33 Lipscomb by 4 and #5 Michigan State by 4.

The Cats' schedule has been weaker, with three opponents out of eleven in the top 60 and two opponents in the top 40. The Cats lost to #1 Duke and to #59 Seton Hall on neutral courts and defeated #10 North Carolina also on a neutral court. The Cats' schedule to date has had a SOS value of -0.0167 ppp (#229).

The Cards enter this game ranked #26 (ANE) with an ANE of 0.204 ppp and a 9-3 record and the Cats will suit up ranked #31 (ANE) with an ANE of 0.186 ppp and a 9-2 record.

This season, the home court advantage provides the Cards a 5 point pre-game advantage, 78-73, in a game played at a pace of 71 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 1.023 ppp and 1.093 ppp for the Cats and Cards, respectively. Pomeroy sees this game in the Cats' favor by 1 point, 74-73 at a pace of 68 possessions.

Use the following link to see how other UK fans handicap this game at 247Sports, The Cats Pause message board:

You can participate in the score prediction contest at 247Sports at the following link:

Game Summary:

Coach Calipari stays with the starting lineup that delivered the 27-point win over Utah and 8-point win over North Carolina, with Ashton Hagans, Reid Travis, PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson, and Tyler Herro to start the 12 th game of this season. Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards, E. J. Montgomery, and Jemarl Baker will come off the bench.

Louisville controls the opening tip and Louisville hits a 3 pointer to open the scoring and take the first lead of the game, 3-0. The Cats answer with a 3 pointer of their own, but Louisville wastes no time reclaiming the lead, 5-3. After Louisville's first missed shot, Tyler Herro makes a layup from the left side to give the Cats their first lead, 7-5. A steal by PJ Washington results in a layup by PJ Washington at the other end to give the Cats a 4 point lead, but Louisville responds with their second 3 pointer of the game. A Tyler Herro runner ends the scoring of the opening segment with the Cats leading by 3 points, 11-8 at the under 16 media timeout. The Cats have not missed a its first 5 shots while Louisville has made 3 of 5 shots. After the media timeout, the Cats turn the ball over for the second time, but Louisville misses again. After the first time, and Louisville's 3 rd 3 pointer of the game ties the score, 11-11. The Cards move on top 13-11, but the Cats respond with 5 straight points. Louisville scores to trim the Kentucky lead to 1 point, 16-15 at the under 12 media time out with 11:15 left.

In the third segment, the Cats outscored the Cards 13-2, finally forcing a Louisville time out with 6:56 left in the first half following Tyler Herro's 3 point basket. Louisville fails to score on its first possession out of the timeout and the Cats move on top by 14, 31-17. However, the Cats do not score again in the segment while Louisville trims 4 points from the lead, 31-21, at the under 4 media timeout with 3:19 left in the first half. In the final segment, the Cards trim the UK lead to 9 points on 1 of 2 from the line before the Cats take a timeout to set up a scoring play by Keldon Johnson to stop the Louisville run at 5 points, 33-22. The Cats lead by 8 at the half, 35-27.

The Cats scored 35 points on 28 possessions, 1.250 points per possession, and LOUISVILLE managed their 27 points on 29 possessions, 0.931 ppp. The Cats made 55.6% of their first half shots, including 4-10 from outside the arc. LOUISVILLE managed to make 41.7% of their first half shots, including 4-10 from outside the arc.

The Cats made 1-2 free throws (50.0%) and LOUISVILLE made 3-4 (75.0%).

On the Boards, the Cats controlled the glass 16-12 overall, and Kentucky controlled the offensive glass 5-4. Kentucky earned an advantage on second chance points of 3-2. The Cats secured 38.5% of their misses and allowed LOUISVILLE to grab 26.7% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

Louisville opens the second half with a basket to trim the lead to 6 points. However, the Cats answer with 6 straight points to move back on top by 12. The Cats lead by 10 at the under 16 media timeout, 43-33. In the second segment of the second half, the Cats extended their lead back to 12 points, 47-35, at the under 12 media timeout.

After the timeout, Tyler Herro makes another 3 point basket to give the Cats their biggest lead of the game, 15 points, 50-35, but Louisville responds with back to back baskets to cut the lead back to 11 points. Coach Calipari takes a timeout. In an extended 3 rd segment, the Cats and Cards played on somewhat even terms with the Cats maintaining an 11 point lead, 56-45, at the under 8 media timeout with 6:41 left in the game and Louisville set for a pair of free throws after this timeout with a chance to trim the lead back into single digits.

In the 4 th segment, the Cats ease out to a 13 point lead, 61-48 at the under 4 media timeout with 3:35 left. Louisville will be shooting free throws again after the time out.

Cats win by 13, 71-58.


UK scored its 71 points on 61 possessions (1.164 ppp) for the game, and LOUISVILLE scored its 58 points on 63 possessions (0.921 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 34-33, but Louisville won the battle on the offensive glass 13-10. Louisville won the second chance point battle 7-5. LOUISVILLE had an offensive efficiency of 0.810 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 0.538 ppp for its 13 second chance possessions. UK had 1.082 ppp on its 61 first chance possessions and 0.500 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 33.3%of its misses as offensive rebounds while LOUISVILLE was able to convert 35.1% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 7-11 [63.6%]. LOUISVILLE made 13-19 [68.4%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 29-57 overall [50.9%] and 6-20 from long range [30.0%]. For Louisville, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 15-35 [42.9%] and from long range, LOUISVILLE hit 5-20 [25.0%].

The Cats committed 9 turnovers, one for every 6.8 possessions. The Cats forced 12 LOUISVILLE turnovers, one for every 5.2 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon at Alabama in the Cats' second consecutive true road game of the season, the thirteenth regular season game, and the opening game of the 2019 SEC season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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