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2018-19 Season Analytical Writings
On Tuesday night, the Cats level of play returned to the impressive levels of performance they had demonstrated in late December when the Cats beat a strong UNC team, and left the YUM center with an impressive win over Louisville. Any SEC road win by 20 points is noteworthy. However, to be fair, this Georgia group is one of the weaker teams in the SEC this season. On Saturday, the Cats venture to Auburn, Alabama to face the #10 Auburn Tigers.
Before getting into today's matchup, let's put the Georgia win into some context. The 20 points is the largest road margin of the year, and the 4th largest game margin of the year. The 20 point margin is the largest game margin since the Cats beat Utah by 27 at Rupp on December 15, a month ago. The game ANE was an impressive 0.465 points per possession, the second highest single game ANE of the season, second only to the 0.567 ppp posted at the YUM Center against the Cards.
The Cats will need another effort on par with their Louisville and Georgia road wins on Saturday when Coach Calipari leads his Cats into Auburn to face his old nemesis Bruce Pearl and the Auburn Tigers.
Auburn enters this game with a 13-3 (12-3 against D-1 opponents) record. Auburn opened their season like gang busters, rolling out to a 5-1 record against D-1 opponents and an average ANE after six games of an impressive 0.369 ppp. Auburn's only loss in this opening sequence of games was a 6-point loss to #1 Duke on a neutral court. However, their last 9 games have been much less impressive, with a record of 7-2 and an average ANE over these 9 games of only 0.185 ppp.
The losses during the most recent nine games have been by 7 points at #21 NC State, and by 15 points at #36 Mississippi. The Tigers are undefeated in nine home games this season. Auburn's most impressive wins thus far this season have been over #44 Arizona by 16 points on a neutral court. The Tigers' schedule has a SOS value of 0.0538 (#32). The Tigers' ANE for the season stands at 0.258 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.240 ppp.
The Cats' schedule has a SOS value of 0.0216 ppp (#96). The Cats' ANE for the season stands at 0.211 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.296 ppp.
The ANE (Last 5 game basis) analysis indicates an Auburn margin of 1 point, 72-71, in a game played at a pace of 71 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates a 9-point Auburn advantage (76-67). Pomeroy has this game as 4 points in Auburn's favor, 74-70, at a pace of 68 possessions.
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Coach Calipari will start Ashton Hagans, Reid Travis, PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson, and Tyler Herro to start the 17 th game of this season. Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards, E. J. Montgomery, and Jemarl Baker will come off the bench.
Auburn controls the opening tip and wastes no time getting the first score of the game. The Cats open with back to back turnovers. Even though the Cats commit 4 turnovers on their first 5 possessions, a 3 point play by Reid Travis and a 3 point basket by P J Washington is enough to give the Cats the early lead, 8-4, at the under 16 media time out. Auburn will have a pair of free throws after the timeout. In the second segment, Auburn trims the lead to 1 point, 10-9, but the Cats ease back into a 3 point lead by making 2 free throws in four attempts to lead 12-9 at the under 12 media time out. Auburn will have the ball when the game resumes.
In the third segment, each team had 7 possessions, and Auburn narrowed the Cats' lead to 1 point, 18-17 at the under 8 media time out with exactly 8 minutes remaining in the first half. Auburn again will have the ball to start the 4 th segment. Auburn makes its 4 th 3 point basket of the game on its first possession of the segment to move back to a 2 point lead. At the under 4 media time out, the teams are tied at 27-27, and for the first time in the game, the Cats will have the first possession of the segment.
The Cats scored all of the points in the final segment to take an 8 point lead to the locker room, 35-27.
The Cats scored 35 points on 31 possessions, 1.129 points per possession, and AUBURN managed their 27 points on 33 possessions, 0.818 ppp. The Cats made 44.4% of their first half shots, including 3-9 from outside the arc. AUBURN managed to make 33.3% of their first half shots, including 5-16 from outside the arc.
The Cats made 8-12 free throws (66.7%) and AUBURN made 4-7 (57.1%).
On the Boards, the Cats controlled the glass 21-16 overall, and Kentucky won the offensive glass 7-5. Kentucky scored the only 6 second chance points of the first half. The Cats secured 38.9% of their misses and allowed AUBURN to grab 26.3% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
Kentucky opens the second half with a layup by Reid Travis. Over the next 2 ½ minutes the Cats extend their lead to 16 points, 45-29, forcing an Auburn timeout with 17:29 left in the game. The Cats ended the first half with a 9-0 run, and now that run, spanning halftime is 19-2. After the time out, Auburn stabilizes and stops the Kentucky run with an 8 point run of their own to trim the lead back to single digits, 50-42. A Tyler Herro 3 pointer extends the Cats back into a double digit lead, 53-42, at the under 16 media time out with 14:34 left in the game and Auburn set for a pair of free throws.
In the second segment, the teams played on essentially even terms, with the Cats maintaining a lead between 10 and 12 points for most of the segment. At the under 12 media time out, the lead is 10 points, 59-49, with 10:56 left, and P J Washington is set for a bonus opportunity at the free throw line. In the third segment, the Cats eased back to a 15 point lead only to see Auburn cut the lead back to single digits, 66-59, at the under 8 media time out with 7:35 left and Auburn in possession.
Auburn trims the lead to 6 points on its 10 th 3 pointer of the game. After a Kentucky miss, another 3 pointer cuts the lead to 3 points. The teams then play the rest of the segment with UK leads of 3 to 6 points, and the Cats lead by 4, 76-72, at the under 4 media time out with 2:59 left, and Auburn with a chance to complete a 3 point play from the free throw line after the break.
A pair of free throws by Keldon Johnson puts the lead at 5 points with 2:04 remaining. On Auburn's next possession, an Auburn player is fouled on a drive to the basket, taking a bad fall, resulting in a flagrant technical foul on P J Washington. Auburn will get a pair of free throws and the ball with 1:53 left. Auburn takes a 1 point lead with another 3 pointer, 80-79. Tyler Herro makes a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left to ease the Cats back into a 1 point lead. Coach Calipari uses his last timeout to set his defense for this last possession. Auburn missed, and UK rebounded with 3.3 seconds left. After making the first, the Cats missed the second free throw, but a final 3 point attempt by Auburn was off the mark, and the Cats win at Auburn by 2, 82-80.
UK scored its 82 points on 67 possessions (1.224 ppp) for the game, and AUBURN scored its 80 points on 69 possessions (1.1.59 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 33-26, and Kentucky won the battle on the offensive glass 9-7. Kentucky won the second chance point battle 9-2. AUBURN had an offensive efficiency of 1.130 ppp on its 69 first chance possessions and 0.286 ppp for its 7 second chance possessions. UK had 1.090 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 32.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while AUBURN was able to convert 22.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 24-33 (72.7%]. AUBURN made 15-20 [75.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 26-48 overall [54.2%] and 6-15 from long range [40.0%]. For Auburn, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 13-26 [50.0%] and from long range, AUBURN hit 13-30 [43.3%].
The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 5.2 possessions. The Cats forced 11 AUBURN turnovers, one for every 6.3 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening at Rupp for the eighteenth regular season game, and sixth game of the 2019 SEC season against Mississippi State.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks