2018-19 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Begin Second Half of SEC Season At Mississippi State

At the mid-point of the SEC season, the Cats are 1 game behind undefeated Tennessee, tied with LSU at 8-1. South Carolina fell to 6-3 with their loss to the Cats on Tuesday evening, and there are six SEC teams clustered in the middle with either 4 or 5 wins over the first 9 games. The Cats' opponent on Saturday finds itself in this murky middle of the conference standings.

When the Cats and Bulldogs face off on Saturday, it will be the rematch for these teams following Kentucky's 21 point mastery of Mississippi State at Rupp Arena on January 22. Since their first meeting, the Cats have extended their winning streak from 5 to 9 games while Mississippi State has split its four games, beating #10 Auburn by 8 points and #45 Mississippi by 6 points while losing at #52 Alabama and to #22 LSU by 4 in OT.

The Bulldogs schedule has a SOS value of 0.0824 ppp (#24). The Mississippi State ANE for the season stands at 0.192 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.172 ppp.

The Cats' schedule has a SOS value of 0.0647 ppp (#39). The Cats' ANE for the season stands at 0.289 ppp, their season ANE since game 7 has been 0.365 ppp, and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.442 ppp.

The ANE analysis based on Kentucky's ANE since game 7 indicates a Kentucky margin of 7 points, 74-67, in a game played at a pace of 70 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates a 2-point Kentucky advantage (72-70), and a “last 5” analysis indicates a UK win by 15 points, 78-63. Pomeroy has this game as a 2 point Kentucky win, 72-70, at a pace of 67 possessions. Vegas has opened with the Cats a 3 point favorite over the Bulldogs.

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.

Mississippi State controls the opening tip and immediately commit the game's first turnover. After the Cats move on top 8-4 on back to back 3 pointers by P J Washington, Mississippi State catches up with 4-6 overall shooting to the under 16 media time out with 15:35 left and the Cats in possession of the ball. In the second segment, the teams played on even terms to a 13-13 tie at the under 12 media time out and the Cats in possession.

After Mississippi State eases out to 2 point leads twice, 15-13 and 17-15, the Cats run seven straight points to a 5 point lead, 22-17, forcing a Mississippi State timeout with 8:12 left in the first half. After the time out, Mississippi State stops the UK run with a pair of free throws. In the fourth segment, the Cats expanded their lead to 12 points, 33-21 forcing another Mississippi State time out with 3:32 left in the first half.

In the final segment, Mississippi State cuts 4 points from the UK lead, and Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 1:56 left in the first half protecting an 8 point lead, 33-25. The Cats respond with 5 straight to move on top by 13 when following a UK missed shot, a skirmish of elbows occurs between P J Washington and a Mississippi State player with 33 seconds left. The stripes assessed a double technical foul on the play. Mississippi State failed to score, and the Cats added a basket as the first half ended to lead by 15 at the half, 40-25. From a 17-15 deficit to the end of the first half, the Cats outscored Mississippi State 25-8.

The Cats scored 40 points on 29 possessions, 1.379 points per possession, and MISSISSIPPI STATE managed their 25 points on 29 possessions 0.862 ppp. The Cats made 53.3% of their first half shots, including 5-11 from outside the arc. MISSISSIPPI STATE managed to make 47.8% of their first half shots, including 0-4 from outside the arc.

The Cats made 3-4 free throws (75.0%) and MISSISSIPPI STATE made 3-4 (75.0%).

Kentucky committed 3 turnovers to 6 by the Bulldogs.

On the Boards, the Cats controlled the glass 17-10 overall, and Kentucky won the offensive glass 6-2. Kentucky also won the second chance points 4-0. The Cats secured 42.9% of their misses and allowed MISSISSIPPI STATE to grab 15.4% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

Kentucky opens the second half with a quick score, but Mississippi State makes its first 2 three pointers of the game on their first two attempts of the second half to trim the lead to 13, 44-31. The Cats lead stands at 15, 49-34, at the under 16 media time out, and Mississippi State will have a pair of free throws after the break. After the time out, Mississippi State converts both free throws, and following Reid Travis' 3 rd foul, Mississippi State makes another pair of free throws to trim the lead to 11 points. The Bulldogs trim the 18 point Kentucky lead to only 8 points, 51-43, at the under 12 media time out, and Mississippi State will have the ball after the break. In the third segment, the Cats fail to score while Mississippi State trims the lead to only 3 points, forcing a UK timeout with 9:17 left in the game and the Cats clinging to a 51-48 lead. Since leading 49-31, the Cats have been outscored 17-2. During that run, the Cats have only scored one basket on 6 attemps, and missed a pair of free throws.

After another dry trip, Mississippi State trims the lead to 1 point on a pair of free throws. The Cats answer with a basket by P J Washington and a Ashton Hagans basket off a Mississippi State turnover to extend the lead to 5 points at the under 8 media time out with 7:25 left in the game and the Cats in possession.

In the 4 th segment, the Cats extend their lead back to 10 points, 63-53, but Mississippi State closes the gap to only 4 points, 65-61 at the under 4 media time out with 3:28 left in the game and the Cats in possession. This game will be decided in the final 4 minute segment.

Despite 5-11 free throw shooting down the stretch, the Cats survive in Starkville 71-67 to get their 20 th win of the season and move to 20-3, 9-1 in the SEC.


UK scored its 71 points on 63 possessions (1.127 ppp) for the game, and MISSISSIPPI STATE scored its 67 points on 63 possessions (1.063 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards 35-28, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive boards with a rebounding edge 11-8. Kentucky won the second chance point battle 6-2. MISSISSIPPI STATE had an offensive efficiency of 1.032 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 0.250 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 1.032 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 0.546 ppp on its 11 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 35.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI STATE was able to convert 25.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 10-17 (58.8%]. MISSISSIPPI STATE made 14-18 [77.8%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 27-57 overall [47.4%] and 7-18 from long range [38.9%]. For MISSISSIPPI STATE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 16-37 [43.2%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI STATE hit 7-16 [43.8%].

The Cats committed 9 turnovers, one for every 7.0 possessions. The Cats forced 9 MISSISSIPPI STATE turnovers, one for every 7.0 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening against LSU at Rupp for the twenty fourth regular season game and the 11 th game of the 2019 SEC season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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