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2018-19 Season Analytical Writings
On Saturday afternoon, the Kentucky Wildcats played arguably their best game of the season despite missing Reid Travis' usual contributions on the boards, and his consistent double digit scoring. In defeating #13 Auburn by 27 points, 80-53, the Cats put their 80 points on the board in only 63 possessions, and outrebounded Auburn 43-24. This performance in no way means this team does not need Reid Travis on the floor, but this game does show the world that this team is deeper than most people have given credit.
The other major SEC development on Saturday was LSU's overtime win over Tennessee in Baton Rouge. While LSU, Tennessee and Kentucky each woke on Sunday with identical 12-2 records with four games remaining, the LSU win over Tennessee lifted the Bayou Bengals into the driver's seat for the regular season championship. Either Kentucky or Tennessee will lose at least one more game when they confront each other in Knoxville the coming Saturday, and LSU will hold the tie breaker against that winner. Therefore, unless LSU finds the L column at either Alabama (which is possible) or Florida (which is possible), LSU will be the #1 seed in the SEC Tournament, leaving Kentucky and Tennessee to claim the #2 and #3 seeds, in an order dependent upon the winner on Saturday.
There is an aggressive battle going on between Mississippi, South Carolina, Mississippi State, and Florida for the precious #4 Tournament seed, and Florida plays LSU and Kentucky over the last 2 weeks of the season. In addition, Mississippi plays Tennessee and Kentucky over the last 2 weeks.
At the other end of the SEC spectrum, the bottom three seeds, requiring teams to play on Wednesday night, have essentially been secured by Vanderbilt, Georgia, and Missouri. There is an aggressive battle also going on between Texas A&M and Arkansas to avoid the fourth Wednesday night slot. While Texas A&M must face LSU on Saturday in Baton Rouge, Arkansas must face Kentucky on Saturday at Rupp.
#71 ARKANSAS brings a 14-13, 5-9 SEC record into this game against the Cats. During the Hogs' non-conference schedule, with a 9-4 record, Arkansas' most impressive win was over #41 Indiana by 1 point. However, the Hogs' most disappointing loss was to #134 Western Kentucky by 1. In the SEC, Arkansas has lost their last 5 games including a 7 point home loss to #89 Texas A&M last Saturday.
The Razorbacks schedule has a SOS value of 0.0747 ppp (#47). The ARKANSAS ANE for the season stands at 0.108 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is -0.001 ppp.
The Cats' schedule has a SOS value of 0.0941 ppp (#26). The Cats' ANE for the season stands at 0.309 ppp, their season ANE since game 7 has been 0.367 ppp, and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.364 ppp.
The ANE analysis based on Kentucky's ANE since game 7 indicates a Kentucky margin of 23 points, 79-56, in a game played at a pace of 72 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates a 18 1/2 point Kentucky advantage and a “last 5” analysis indicates a UK advantage of 30 1/2 points. Pomeroy has this game as a 17 point Kentucky win, 80-63, at a pace of 69 possessions. Vegas has opened with the Cats favored by 17 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:
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.
Kentucky controls the opening tip and score the game's first 5 points, bur Arkansas catches up at 5-5. The Cats hold a slim 2 point lead, 7-5, at the under 16 media time out. After the time out, Tyler Herro drains a 3 pointer to move the Cats back on top by 5, 10-5, but Arkansas outscores the Cats 10-1 over the rest of the second segment to move out to a 4 point lead, 15-11 at the under 12 media time out. In the first 8 minutes, the Cats have committed 5 early turnovers, and after the timeout, turn the ball over for the sixth and seventh time. Before the end of the third segment, the Cats also committed their 8 th , 9 th , and 10 th turnovers and Arkansas move on top by 8 points 20-12. The Cats trimmed the Hogs' lead to 5, 20-15, at the under 12 media time out with Nick Richards at the line for a pair of free throws after the break.
Nick Richards makes only 1 of his 2 free throws, and becomes the third Cats in this game to get to the line to miss one of the two attempts. The Cats have left 3 points at the line and now trail by 4, 20-16. In the 4 th segment, Arkansas maintains their control of the game, playing with leads of 5 to 7 points, and lead by 7, 28-21, at the under 4 media time out. In addition, Arkansas will be have a 1+1 free throw opportunity after the media time out.
After making both free throws, Arkansas holds the largest lead of the game, 9 points, 30-21, and after another Kentucky miss, they extend the lead to double figures, 32-21. Arkansas finished strong and leads by 11, 39-28 at the half.
The Cats scored 28 points on 34 possessions, 0.824 points per possession, and ARKANSAS managed their 39 points on 34 possessions 1.147 ppp. The Cats made 45.0% of their first half shots, including 3-7 from outside the arc. ARKANSAS managed to make 43.8% of their first half shots, including 5-10 from outside the arc.
The Cats made 7-12 free throws (58.3%) and ARKANSAS was 6-7 (85.7%) from the line in the first half.
Kentucky committed 12 turnovers to 1 by the Razorbacks.
On the Boards, the Cats won the glass 21-11 overall, and Kentucky won the offensive glass 4-2. Kentucky won the second chance points 2-0. The Cats secured 30.8% of their misses and allowed ARKANSAS to grab 10.5% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
ARKANSAS opens the second half with another 3 pointer to extend their lead to 14 points. After the Cats answer with a 2 point basket, Arkansas drains another 3 pointer to lead by 15 points, 45-30. The Cats respond with 6 straight points to trim the lead back into single digits, 45-36, and Arkansas takes a timeout with 16:23 left. After the Arkansas time out, neither team scores until Keldon Johnson is fouled sending the game to the under 16 media time out with 15:36 left, and Keldon Johnson set for a pair of free throws after the time out.
The charity stripe has not been kind to the Cats tonight, and Keldon Johnson missed both attempts. Arkansas makes them pay with another 3 pointer to go back on top by 12. Tyler Herro responds with back to back 3 pointers to trim the lead to 6, 48-42, but Arkansas makes their 4 th 3 pointer of the second half and 9 th of the game to move back on top by 9. The Cats trim the lead to 7 at the under 12 media time out, and will have a pair of free throws after the timeout again.. This time, P J Washington makes 1 of 2 attempts again. A second chance basket by Nick Richards trims the lead to 4 points, and a pair of free throws by Tyler Herro trims the lead to 2 points, 51-49, with 10:26 left in the game. P J Washington ties the game, 51-51. Tyler Herro ties up an Arkansas player, giving the ball back to the Cats at the under 8 media time out with 7:51 left in the game and the score tied, 51-51.
In the 4 th segment, the Cats eased into their first lead since they lead 11-10, and extended the lead to 5 points, 60-55. Arkansas trimmed a couple of points off the lead, and got a defensive stop at the under 4 media time out with 3:44 left in the game and the score 60-57 and the Hogs in possession. The Cats move on top by 6 points, 65-59, but the Hogs fight back with 1 of 2 from the line and a second chance basket to trim the lead to 3, 65-62. Arkansas takes a timeout with 58 seconds left. After the timeout, the Cats miss on a 3 point attempt with 26 seconds left, but got an offensive rebound. Arkansas fouls P J Washington on the inbounds pass, and P J Washington makes 1 of 2, which has been his pattern throughout this game. With the 4 point lead, Arkansas makes a 3 point basket to trim the lead to 1 point with 9 seconds. Arkansas uses its last timeout with 9 seconds left, and the Cats in possession and clinging to a 1 point lead, 66-65. After getting a look at the Arkansas defensive alignment, Coach Calipari uses a timeout. The Cats get the ball inbounds, and Arkansas fouls Tyler Herro with 5 seconds left. Tyler Herro makes them both to extend the lead to 3 points, 68-65.
With the 3 point lead, the Cats choose to foul Arkansas and give them a pair of free throws rather than give them a chance to tie the game with a 3 point basket with 3 seconds left. After an officiating circus with 2 seconds left, the Cats finally are allowed to run an in bounds play, and Arkansas fouled Immanuel Quickley with 1 second left. Quickly made both and the Cats win 70-66.
UK scored its 70 points on 64 possessions (1.094 ppp) for the game, and ARKANSAS scored its 66 points on 65 possessions (1.015 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards 40-27, but Arkansas won the battle of the offensive boards with a rebounding edge 10-9. Arkansas won the second chance point battle 9-8. ARKANSAS had an offensive efficiency of 0.877 ppp on its 65 first chance possessions and 0.900 ppp for its 10 second chance possessions. UK had 0.969 ppp on its 64 first chance possessions and 0.889 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 34.6% of its misses as offensive rebounds while ARKANSAS was able to convert 24.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK made 22-32 (68.8%) from the free throw line in this game. ARKANSAS made 10-15 [66.7%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 21-42 overall [50.0%] and 6-13 from long range [46.2%]. For ARKANSAS, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 13-41 [31.7%] and from long range, ARKANSAS hit 10-20 [50.0%].
The Cats committed 15 turnovers, one for every 4.3 possessions. The Cats forced 7 ARKANSAS turnovers, one for every 9.3 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon against at Tennessee for the twenty ninth regular season game and the 16 th game of the 2019 SEC season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks