BIG BLUE FANS FOR
2018-19 Season Analytical Writings
March has arrived, and the top three spots in the SEC Tournament in two weeks will be occupied by LSU, Tennessee and Kentucky. The final 3 games will determine the final order for these teams as they each enter this stretch drive with identical 13-2 conference records. There are four SEC teams sitting with 9-6 records, and even if one of the top 3 finish with 3 consecutive losses and one of these 9-6 teams win out, there is no way to unseat one of the top 3 from one of the top three seeds.
Since Kentucky and Tennessee each lost to LSU in their only meeting of the season, LSU holds the tie breaker over each of the other two. Therefore, for either Kentucky or Tennessee to overcome LSU's tie breaker advantage, LSU must lose 1 more game than either Kentucky or Tennessee over the last 3 games on the schedule. For these reasons, tomorrow's rematch between Kentucky and Tennessee will probably deliver the #3 seed to the loser. While the winner of tomorrow's game will have a theoretical chance to still capture the #1 seed, that would require LSU to drop one of its 3 remaining games while tomorrow's winner does not lose again prior to the tournament.
Therefore, the stakes are very high for Kentucky and Tennessee with they meet in Knoxville for their second game of the season. In their first game, played at Rupp Arena two weeks ago, Kentucky controlled the game and sent the Volunteers back to Knoxville with smarting from a 17 point loss. Since that game, Tennessee has been 2-1, losing at LSU and Kentucky has been 3-0, while losing the services of Reid Travis to a knee sprain.
Tennessee's most recent game was a 2 point, 73-71, win at Mississippi while Kentucky's most recent game was the weakest single game for the Cats at least since November, as the Cats squeaked out a 4 point win at Rupp over a hapless Arkansas team after trailing by 15 points early in the second half.
#71 TENNESSEE brings a 25-3, 13-2 SEC record into this game against the Cats. The Volunteers schedule has a SOS value of 0.0741 ppp (#52). The TENNESSEE ANE for the season stands at 0.288 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.225 ppp.
The Cats' schedule has a SOS value of 0.0909 ppp (#33). The Cats' ANE for the season stands at 0..296 ppp, their season ANE since game 7 has been 0.349 ppp, and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.290 ppp.
The ANE analysis based on Kentucky's ANE since game 7 indicates a Kentucky margin of 1 point, 74-73, in a game played at a pace of 69 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates a 3 1/2 point Tennessee advantage and a “last 5” analysis indicates a UK advantage of 1 point. Pomeroy has this game as a 2 point Tennessee win, 73-71, at a pace of 66 possessions. Vegas has opened with the Vols favored by 2 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 Nick Richards 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, E J Montgomery, and Jemarl Baker will come off the bench.
Tennessee controls the opening tip and misses a 3 point attempt, but the Cats get a turnover on their first possession of the game. The Cats score the first 6 points of the game, but Tennessee counters with the next 7 points to lead 7-6 at the under 16 media time out and the Cats in possession. In the first 4 minutes, Tennessee enjoyed 3 more shots at the basket due to advantages on the offensive glass and turnovers, and an additional possession in the opening segment. On their first possession after the break, the Cats turn the ball over for the 3 rd time with a shot clock violation. In the second segment, Tennessee extends their 7-0 first segment run to 9 points to a 9-6 lead, and extend that 3 point lead to 4 points, 11-7, but the Cats score the next 5 to regain the lead. Then the teams trade baskets to a 15-14 Tennessee lead at the under 12 media time out and the Cats in possession.
Tennessee still maintains an advantage on shots at the basket for the same reasons cited previously. In the third segment, P J Washington committed his 2 nd foul, and goes to the bench with Tennessee leading by 2 points, 20-18. Tennessee makes a 3 pointer after a Kentucky turnover, and Coach Calipari takes a time out with 7:20 left in the first half, and the Cats down by a game high 5 points, 23-18. In the 4 th segment, neither team scored until Tennessee scored with 4:33 left in the first half, and they followed that basket with another 3 pointer to go on top by 10 points, 28-18 at the under 4 media time out.
Nick Richards starts the final segment with 1 of 2 from the foul line to trim the lead to 9 points. Cats trail by 13, 37-24, at the half. After P J Washington went to the bench with the Volunteers outscored the Cats 17-6.
The Cats scored 24 points on 36 possessions, 0.667 points per possession, and TENNESSEE managed their 37 points on 36 possessions 1.028 ppp. The Cats made 23.1% of their first half shots, including 2-9 from outside the arc. TENNESSEE managed to make 37.3% of their first half shots, including 4-11 from outside the arc.
The Cats made 10-16 free throws (62.5%) and TENNESSEE was 9-14 (64.3%) from the line in the first half.
Kentucky committed 8 turnovers to 2 by the Volunteers.
On the Boards, the Cats won the glass 25-24 overall, and Kentucky won the offensive glass 6-5. Kentucky won the second chance points 8-6. The Cats secured 24.0% of their misses and allowed TENNESSEE to grab 20.8% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
TENNESSEE opens the second half with a basket to move on top by 15 points. With 16:10 to play, Coach Calipari takes a time out after the Vols move on top by 20 points, 47-27 on a steal and layup. After the time out, Immanuel Quickley makes a basket to trim the lead to 18 at the under 16 media time out with 15:29 left with the Cats in possession. The Cats trimmed the lead to 13, 47-34, and again to 14, 50-36, and Tennessee takes a timeout with 12:36 left in the game. After the time out, Tennessee scores to ease back on top by 16 at the under 12 media time out with Tennessee in possession.
The Cats trim the lead to 14 again, but Tennessee gets another 3 pointer to extend the lead back to 17 points, 57-40, at the under 8 media time out. The Cats will be at the line for 1 and bonus after the time out. At the under 4 media time out, Tennessee continues to lead by 17, 66-49. Just prior to this last media time out, Tennessee extended their lead to 20 points again, 66-46. After the media time out, Keldon Johnson made a 3 point basket from the right corner to trim the lead to 14, and Coach Calipari takes another time out.
Cats take it on the chin, 71-52.
UK scored its 52 points on 66 possessions (0.788 ppp) for the game, and TENNESSEE scored its 71 points on 66 possessions (1.076 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards 39-36, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive boards with a rebounding edge 9-8. Kentucky won the second chance point battle 13-11. TENNESSEE had an offensive efficiency of 0.909 ppp on its 66 first chance possessions and 1.375 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 0.591 ppp on its 66 first chance possessions and 1.444 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 24.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TENNESSEE was able to convert 21.1% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK made 19-29 (65.5%) from the free throw line in this game. TENNESSEE made 9-14 [64.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 14-44 overall [31.8%] and 5-19 from long range [26.3%]. For TENNESSEE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 19-40 [47.5%] and from long range, TENNESSEE hit 8-22 [36.4%].
The Cats committed 17 turnovers, one for every 3.9 possessions. The Cats forced 5 TENNESSEE turnovers, one for every 13.2 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening at Mississippi for the thirtieth regular season game and the 17 th game of the 2019 SEC season.
ubmitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks