2018-19 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Finally Get Home From Missouri To Face Auburn Without Reid Travis

When the Cats last played Auburn, they showed us a script for a game that has since become common place. The script is marked by the following features:

•  A strong finish in the first half, propelling the Cats to a comfortable half time lead.

•  A strong start to the second half that expands the strong halftime.

•  The opponent stages second half rallies that evaporate most if not all of the early second half lead

This is the pattern that the Cats have seemed to follow since they won by 2 points at Auburn. At Auburn, the game was tied, 27-27 at the under 4 media time out, but the Cats finished the half strong to lead by 8 points, 35-27 at the half. In the first 2 ½ minutes of the second half, the Cats expanded that lead to 16 points, 45-29. However, by the second half under 4 media time out, Auburn was very much in the game, with the Cats clinging to a 4 point lead, 76-72 with about 3 minutes left in the game. Auburn regained the lead with less than a minute to play, and with the Cats leading by 2, an Auburn 3 point attempt missed the mark at the end, with the Cats winning 82-80.

On Tuesday night, at Missouri, the game followed this script, with one additional factor. Late in the game, Reid Travis left the game with a sprained knee and did not return. Work from the Wildcats' camp this week indicate that Reid Travis will not be available for up to 2 weeks, with Auburn coming to Rupp on Saturday for a rematch that the Tigers have been anticipating since they dropped the game by 2 points to the Cats in January.

#14 AUBURN brings a 18-8, 7-6 SEC record into this game against the Cats. Since their loss to the Cats 5 weeks ago, Auburn has been 5-4, losing on the road at #89 South Carolina by 3, at #23 Mississippi State by 8, and at #21 LSU by 5, and losing at home to #39 Mississippi by 5. Auburn's wins have been at home over #101 Missouri by 34, #63 Alabama by 21, #31 Florida by 14, and #65 Arkansas 23, and at #111 Vanderbilt by 11. Auburn is currently 6 th in the SEC, 2 games behind #4 South Carolina for the last double bye in the SEC Tournament. Auburn needs to get a huge win in Lexington if it hopes to move up and secure that final double bye for the Tournament, making Auburn a very dangerous opponent for the Cats.

The Tigers schedule has a SOS value of 0.0836 ppp (#34). The AUBURN ANE for the season stands at 0.261 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.250 ppp.

The Cats' schedule has a SOS value of 0.0895 ppp (#27). The Cats' ANE for the season stands at 0.298 ppp, their season ANE since game 7 has been 0.356 ppp, and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.333 ppp.

The ANE analysis based on Kentucky's ANE since game 7 indicates a Kentucky margin of 10 points, 80-70, in a game played at a pace of 70 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates a 6 1/2 point Kentucky advantage and a “last 5” analysis indicates a UK advantage of 10 points. Pomeroy has this game as a 7 point Kentucky win, 75-68, at a pace of 67 possessions. Vegas has opened with the Cats favored by 7 ½ points.

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:

Reid Travis' knee injury has forced Coach Calipari to alter his starting lineup for today's game. He decides to start E J Montgomery in place of Reid Travis along with Ashton Hagans, PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson, and Tyler Herro to start the 27 th game of this season. Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards, and Jemarl Baker will come off the bench.

Auburn controls the opening tip and E J Montgomery commits an early foul in the first 15 seconds. Auburn scores first following the foul. P J Washington then commits an offensive foul for a turnover. P J Washington scores on a 3 pointer on the Cats' 4 th possession, and after Auburn regains a brief lead at 4-3, the Cats outscore the Tigers 13-6 to the first media time out with 11:50 left in the first half and the Cats leading 16-10. In that 8-minute opening segment, each team had 14 possessions, and the Cats committed 5 turnovers. Despite the high turnover rate, the Cats made 6 of 10 shots including 4-7 from outside the arc to build this early lead. The second media time out occurs only 24 seconds later when the Cats foul an Auburn player attempting a second chance shot.

After Auburn trimmed the lead to 4, 16-12, the Cats go on a 9-3 run to move out to their first double digit lead, 25-15, forcing an Auburn time out with 7:51 left in the first half. In the 4 th segment, the Cats moved on top by 19, 36-17, but Auburn closed the gap to 13 points with back to back 3 pointers prior to the under 4 media time out with 3:47 left. Coach Calipari took the timeout to get Nick Richards out of the game after he came up lame on a rebound just prior to Auburn's second 3 pointer.

In the final segment, Auburn cut the 19 point lead to only 7 points, 38-31, but the Cats scored the last 7 points of the first half to lead by 14 points, 45-31, at the half.

The Cats scored 45 points on 32 possessions, 1.406 points per possession, and AUBURN managed their 31 points on 32 possessions 0.969 ppp. The Cats made 60.7% of their first half shots, including 9-17 from outside the arc. AUBURN managed to make 37.5% of their first half shots, including 4-13 from outside the arc.

The Cats made 2-2 free throws (100.0%) and AUBURN was 3-3 (100.0%) from the line in the first half.

Kentucky committed 6 turnovers to 5 by the Tigers.

On the Boards, the Cats won the glass 17-14 overall, and Kentucky won the offensive glass 6-3. Kentucky won the second chance points 7-4. The Cats secured 27.3% of their misses and allowed AUBURN to grab 30.0% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

AUBURN opens the second half with a missed shot and the Cats start the second half just as they ended the first half by scoring the first 11 points of the second half to extend their lead to 25 points, 56-31 before Auburn finally scored in the second half just prior to the under 16 media time out. In the second segment, the Cats continue the onslaught, extending the lead to 30 points, 64-34 at the under 12 media time out.

In the third segment, the Cats maintained their 30 point lead, and lead by 29, 71-42, at the under 8 media time out. In the 4 th segment, the lead holds steady at 29 points, 75-46 at the under 4 media time out.

Cats win 80-53.


UK scored its 80 points on 63 possessions (1.270 ppp) for the game, and AUBURN scored its 53 points on 64 possessions (0.828 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards 43-24, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive boards with a rebounding edge 9-8. Kentucky won the second chance point battle 14-6. AUBURN had an offensive efficiency of 0.734 ppp on its 64 first chance possessions and 0.750 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 1.048 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 1.556 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 36.0% of its misses as offensive rebounds while AUBURN was able to convert 19.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK made 9-12 (75.0%) from the free throw line in this game. AUBURN made 7-11 [63.6%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 30-55 overall [54.5%] and 11-24 from long range [45.8%]. For AUBURN, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 11-31 [35.5%] and from long range, AUBURN hit 8-27 [29.6%].

The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 5.7 possessions. The Cats forced 9 AUBURN turnovers, one for every 7.1 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening afternoon against Arkansas at Rupp for the twenty eighth regular season game and the 15 th game of the 2019 SEC season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks




Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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