2018-19 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Face Kansas In the 2019 SEC-Big 12 Challenge

Kentucky and Kansas have accumulated the most college basketball wins than any other programs, and they face off yet again in the 2019 SEC-Big 12 challenge at Rupp Arena on Saturday. The Wire Service polls currently have them ranked #8 and #9 respectively, and College Gameday will be set at Rupp Arena.

In the race for most NCAA wins by a program, the Cats currently hold an uncomfortably thin 12 game advantage over the Jayhawks, and curiously, the series record between UK and Kansas is a 13 game advantage in favor of the Cats, 22-9. During the Calipari Era, the Cats and Jayhawks have each won 3 times in their 6 games with Coach Calipari holding the advantage in the first 3 games and Coach Self getting the better end of the bargain in the last 3 games. Kentucky has prevailed in 3 of the 4 games played on a neutral court, and Kansas has prevailed in the two games played at either the Phog or Rupp.

If this were baseball, Saturday's game would be akin to the 7 th game of the World Series.

This season has been a tail of two teams for Kentucky and Kansas. As we all can recount all too well, the Cats' start was dismal but since the 7 th game, their adjusted net efficiency haa been on a steady, and virtually uninterrupted climb to the present season long ANE of about 0.253 ppp. Kansas on the other hand started the season very strong, with an ANE of about 0.3 ppp throught their first 7 games. Since then, the Jayhawks have been on a steady, uninterrupted slide to the current ANE of about 0.241 ppp.

In short, over the last 2 weeks, the Cats have been outperforming their average while the Jayhawks have been underperforming theirs.

Each team enters this game with 3 losses. The Kentucky losses have been to #1 Duke, #45 Seton Hall, and at #52 Alabama. Kansas has taken it on the chin at #63 Arizona State, at #11 Iowa State, and at #97 West Virginia. Kentucky claims impressive victories against #7 UNC, at #15 Louisville, at #10 Auburn, and against #31 Mississippi State. Kansas has impressive wins over #3 Michigan State, #5 Tennessee, #11 Iowa State, and #25 TCU.

The Jayhawks' schedule has a SOS value of 0.1206 ppp (#1). The Kansas ANE for the season stands at 0.241 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.217 ppp.

The Cats' schedule has a SOS value of 0.0489 ppp (#42). The Cats' ANE for the season stands at 0.253 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.321 ppp.

The ANE (Last 5 game basis) analysis indicates a Kentucky margin of 12 points, 77-65, in a game played at a pace of 72 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates a 6-point Kentucky advantage (77-71). Pomeroy has this game as 4 points in Kentucky's favor, 73-69, at a pace of 69 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 Ashton Hagans, Reid Travis, PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson, and Tyler Herro to start the 18 th game of this season. Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards, E. J. Montgomery, and Jemarl Baker will come off the bench.

Kentucky controls the opening tip and fail to score. After the Cats break the scoring ice on their 3 rd possession, Kansas moves into a 4-2 lead before the Cats tie the score, 4-4 at the under 16 media time out. The Cats will have the ball after the first media time out. In the second segment, the Cats eased back into another 2 point lead, but Kansas scored the next 5 points to lead 9-6 at the under 12 media time out and the Cats in possession of the ball.

Over the first 8 minutes, neither team is playing with high efficiency on their first 14 possessions. The Cats have committed 4 turnovers to none for Kansas, and Kentucky has grabbed 4 offensive rebounds to none for the Jayhawks. Each team has been shooting the ball poorly. After the timeout, the Cats poor shooting continues, but Kansas makes 2 of 3 shots, scoring the next 5 to extend its run to 10 points and a 8 point lead, 14-6, forcing Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 10:26 left. After the time out, the Cats turn the ball over for the 5 th time and Kansas converts it to lead by 10 points before Reid Travis makes a 3 point play to stop the Kansas run. The Cats then go on something of a run of their own, cutting the lead to 3, 18-15, at the under 8 media time out, and Reid Travis will have a free throw attempt after the time out with a chance to cut the 10 point lead to only 2 points. Reid Travis missed the free throw, and Kansas scores to extend their lead back to 5 points. After Ashton Hagans cuts the Kansas lead to 2 points, 23-21, Kansas throws the ball away for an unforced turnover, and Kansas takes a timeout with 5:02 left in the first half. After the timeout, Kansas moves back on top by 6 points before Reid Travis scores to cut the lead to 4, 27-23, at the under 4 media time out with 3:07 left, and as before Reid Travis will be at the line with another chance to complete a 3 point play. He has failed to convert twice already.

In the final segment, the Cats battled to only be down by 3, 33-30, at the half.

The Cats scored 30 points on 37 possessions, 0.811 points per possession, and KANSAS managed their 33 points on 37 possessions0.892 ppp. The Cats made 33.3% of their first half shots, including 0-8 from outside the arc. KANSAS managed to make 36.1% of their first half shots, including 3-10 from outside the arc.

The Cats made 4-6 free throws (66.7%) and KANSAS made 4-4 (100.0%).

Kentucky committed 6 turnovers to only 5 by the Jayhawks.

On the Boards, the Cats controlled the glass 26-25 overall, and Kentucky won the offensive glass 9-6. Kentucky and Kansas each scored 9 second chance points. The Cats secured 32.1% of their misses and allowed KANSAS to grab 26.1% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

Kansas opens the second half with a pair of missed 3 point shot attempts, and the Cats score 5 points to move into their first lead since 6-4. Over the balance of the opening segment, the Cats use 4-7 shooting including their first 3 pointer of the game, and a pair of free throws to fuel a 11-4 run and a 4 point lead, 41-37. Kansas takes a timeout with 16:12 left in the game. After their time out, Kansas stems the tide at least for the moment with a basket to trim the lead to 2 points. Then Kansas fouls sending the game back to the under 16 media time out with the score 41-39 and the Cats in possession of the ball.

In the second segment, Kansas pulled even at 44-44, but the Cats scored the next 6 points, ending with a 3 pointer from the right corner by Keldon Johnson to extend the UK lead to a game high 6 points, 50-44. Kansas takes a timeout with 11:28 left in the game. In the third segment, the Cats extend their lead to 8, 52-44, but back to back turnovers and 1 for 6 shooting allows Kansas to trim the lead to 4, 52-46, at the under 8 media time out with 7:46 left to play and Kansas in possession of the ball.

In the 4 th segment, the teams trade scores as the Cats extend their lead to 7 points, 59-52 at the under 4 media time out with 3:40 left and Kansas set for free throws after the break. Kansas converts both free throws to trim the lead to 5, but the Cats respond with their 4 th 3 point basket of the game to move on top by 8, 62-54. With 2:23 remaining, Kansas commits a flagrant 1 on Reid Travis, and Reid Travis makes both free throws and the Cats get the ball leading by 10, 64-54. The Cats fail to take advantage of their extra possession, and a Kansas 3 pointer trims the lead to 7, followed by the last Kansas timeout with 1:15 left. After the Cats get the ball inbounds to Keldon Johnson in a double team situation, UK takes a time out with 1:12 left.

Cats win 71-63.


UK scored its 71 points on 67 possessions (1.060 ppp) for the game, and KANSAS scored its 63 points on 68 possessions (0.829 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 49-36, and Kentucky won the battle on the offensive glass 17-9. Kentucky won the second chance point battle 18-17. KANSAS had an offensive efficiency of 0.677 ppp on its 68 first chance possessions and 1.889 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.791 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 1.059 ppp on its 17 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 38.6% of its misses as offensive rebounds while KANSAS was able to convert 22.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 17-23 (73.9%]. KANSAS made 8-11 [72.7%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 25-64 overall [39.1%] and 4-18 from long range [22.2%]. For KANSAS, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 14-40 [35.0%] and from long range, KANSAS hit 9-23 [39.1%].

The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 6.1 possessions. The Cats forced 8 KANSAS turnovers, one for every 8.5 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening against Vanderbilt in Nashville for the twentieth regular season game and the 7 th game of the 2019 SEC season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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