2018-19 Season Analytical Writings


Cats Open Defense of the SEC Tournament Crown Against Alabama

The SEC Tournament has a history that extends back to 1933, and Adolph Rupp's Cats dominated the SEC Tournament winning 13 of the 19 tournament championships awarded before the SEC decided to discontinue the annual Kentucky Invitational.

Then, the conference renewed the post season tournament in 1979 under Coach Hall's tenure. The first five champions after the tournament's renewal were Tennessee, LSU, Ole Miss, Alabama, and Georgia before Kentucky reclaimed its crown in 1984. At that point, the total record was 14 championships for the Cats in 25 tournaments. Since the Cats won this tournament for the first time in the modern era in 1984, the Cats have won 19 of the last 35 tournaments.

Coach Rupp won seven consecutive titles between 1944 and 1950. Coach Pitino was four in a row, and Coach Calipari currently owns a 4 game tournament championship streak. Alabama won three in a row between 1989 and 1991, and Florida won three in a row between 2005 and 2007.

Overall, the Cats have claimed the SEC Tournament trophy 32 times out of the 59 tournaments played. Alabama has won this championship 6 times.

On Friday night, the Cats will open their defense of the SEC Tournament title against Alabama, a second round winner over Ole Miss on Thursday evening by 5 points.

The Cats played the Tide in their first SEC game of the season in early January, and left Tuscaloosa on the short end of a 2 point decision. Since that win over the Cats, Alabama finished the SEC season 8-10, including losses in their last 3 games of the regular season. Nevertheless, the Tide found a way to survive and advance in the SEC Tournament's second round.

#39 Alabama enters this game with a 18-14 record. The Tides' schedule has a SOS value of 0.1039 ppp (#24). The Alabama's ANE for the season stands at 0.120 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0..103 ppp.

The Cats' schedule has a SOS value of 0.1051 ppp (#23). The Cats' ANE for the season stands at 0.282 ppp, their season ANE since game 7 has been 0.326 ppp, and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.272 ppp.

The ANE analysis based on Kentucky's ANE since game 7 indicates a Kentucky margin of 14 point, 80-66, in a game played at a pace of 68 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates an 11 point Kentucky advantage and a “last 5” analysis indicates a UK advantage of 11 points.

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Game Summary:

This morning, word came from the Kentucky camp that Reid Travis would return to the floor tonight when the Cats launch their defense of their previous four SEC Tournament Championships against Alabama. Coach Calipari will not put Reid Travis back into the starting lineup tonight, and will continue to start P J Washington, E J Montgomery, Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, and Ashton Hagans. Reid Travis, Nick Richards, Immanuel Quickley, and Jemarl Baker will provide reserve support from the bench.

Alabama controls the opening tip and and quickly scores to take the early lead. The Cats catch up at 2-2 and again at 4-4 before a 3 pointer by P J Washington gives the Cats a 1 pint lead , 7-6 at the under 16 media time out. Reid Travis enters the game with 17:23 left. In the second segment, the Cats eased to a 3 point lead on a pair of Tyler Herro free throws, but Alabama tied the score again at 9-9 on a 3 point basket. Then the Cats scored 13 straight. Alabama tried to stop the run with a timeout, but the run was finally stopped with the score 22-9 on a basket to bring the score to 22-11 at the under 12 media time out.

In the third segment, the Cats outscored the Tide 4-2 to extend their lead to 13, 26-13, at the under 8 media time out. In the fourth segment, Alabama begins to whittle the lead, that was once 15 points, 26-11, to only 7 points, 28-21, on a pair of free throws and a pair of 3 point baskets.

Coach Calipari calls a timeout with 4:42 to stop the Crimson Tide's run. After the timeout, the Cats get a basket by Tyler Herro on the baseline, and a second chance 3 pointer by Jemarl Baker to extend their lead back to 9 points, 33-24, at the under 4 media time out with 2:55 remaining in the first half and the Cats in possession.

When the Cats fail to score, Alabama cuts the lead to 6 with another 3 pointer. Nick Richards then misses the first of 2 free throws, and Alabama misses the front end from the line. P J Washington then makes a basket to extend the Cats up by 9. Cats take a 10 point lead to the locker room, 39-29.

The Cats scored 39 points on 35 possessions, 1.114 points per possession, and ALABAMA managed their 29 points on 36 possessions 0.806 ppp. The Cats made 46.7% of their first half shots, including 3-7 from outside the arc. ALABAMA managed to make 30.3% of their first half shots, including 4-10 from outside the arc.

The Cats made 8-12 free throws (66.7%) and ALABAMA was 5-7 (71.4%) from the line in the first half.

Kentucky committed 7 turnovers to 7 by the Crimson Tide.

On the Boards, the Cats won the glass 22-21 overall, but Alabama won the offensive glass 8-6. Kentucky won the second chance points 8-6. The Cats secured 24.0% of their misses and allowed ALABAMA to grab 20.8% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

Alabama opens the second half with a basket, and the Cats respond with a basket of its own. The teams play the opening segment with the Cats maintaining a lead of 14 to 10 points, and the Cats lead by 13, 49-36, at the under 16 media time out with 14:39 left in the game and Alabama with the ball. In the second segment, the Cats move out to a game high 15 point lead for the second time this game, 53-38, and lead by 13, 53-40 at the under 12 media time out.

In the 3 rd segment, the Cats and Tide played on relatively even terms with the lead between 13 and 15 points, and the Cats lead by 15, 59-44 at the under 8 media time out with Alabama set for a pair of free throws after the time out. In the 4 th segment, the Cats posted its biggest lead of the game, 16 points, 64-58, and lead by 14 at the under 4 media time out 64-60.

Cats win 73-55.


UK scored its 73 points on 67 possessions (1.090 ppp) for the game, and ALABAMA scored its 55 points on 68 possessions (0.809 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards 44-33, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive boards with a rebounding edge 10-9. Kentucky won the second chance point battle 10-4. ALABAMA had an offensive efficiency of 0.750 ppp on its 68 first chance possessions and 0.444 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.940 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 29.4% of its misses as offensive rebounds while ALABAMA was able to convert 20.9% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK made 10-15 (66.7%) from the free throw line in this game. ALABAMA made 15-19 [78.9%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-59 overall 47.5%] and 7-15 from long range [46.7%]. For ALABAMA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 11-39 [28.2%] and from long range, ALABAMA hit 6-17 [35.3%].

The Cats committed 12 turnovers, one for every 5.6 possessions. The Cats forced 11 ALABAMA turnovers, one for every 6.2 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon, the Cats will play the winner of quarterfinal game between Tennessee and Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament's Semifinals.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks



Submitted by Richard Cheeks



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