2018-19 Season Analytical Writings

Cats and Vols Collide For Third Time In SEC Semifinals

They have played twice, on each team's home court, and the home team had its own way against the visitor each time. Now, these two giants of the this SEC season will collide in the SEC Tournament's Semifinals to determine which of them will earn a #1 seed in next week's NCAA tournament and which will settle for a #2 seed. The stakes have not been higher than this in an SEC Tournament since perhaps the wars between Pitino's Cats and Richardson's Hogs in the 1990s.

This is a game that should have occurred in the SEC Championship game, and but for a missed basket interference call that enabled LSU's upset of the Cats at Rupp Arena, that is exactly where this collision would have occurred.

The Cats regained the services of Reid Travis in their Quarterfinal 18 point win over Alabama, and with Reid's return to the floor, the Cats also saw a return to the 0.4+ game ANE values that had been conspicuously absent since Reid had to sit due to a knee sprain about 6 games ago. This bodes well for the Cats' chances because other than the change of venues that occurred between the Cats' 17 point win over the Vols at Rupp and the Vols 19 point win over the Cats at TBA, the biggest change was the presence then absence of Reid Travis from the competition.

#7 Tennessee enters this game with a 28-4 record. The Volss' schedule has a SOS value of 0.0917 ppp (#42). The Tennessee's ANE for the season stands at 0.291 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.379 ppp.

The Cats' schedule has a SOS value of 0.1053 ppp (#25). The Cats' ANE for the season stands at 0.283 ppp, their season ANE since game 7 has been 0.328 ppp, and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.249 ppp.

The ANE analysis based on Kentucky's ANE since game 7 indicates a Kentucky margin of 2 point, 74-72, in a game played at a pace of 68 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates an ½ point Tennessee advantage and a “last 5” analysis indicates a Tennessee an advantage of 9 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:

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.

Kentucky controls the opening tip and Ashton Hagans starts the scoring with a 3 pointer. These teams have lined up toe-to-toe and matched shot and basket for shot and basket to a 13-11 UK lead at the under 16 media time out and Tennessee in possession. After the Cats eased out to a 4 point lead, 15-11, Tennessee scored five straight to move back on top by 1 point. The Cats responded with a 3 pointer by Tyler Herro and a layup by Tyler Herro to lead 20-16 at the under 12 media time out with 10:33 left and Tennessee in possession of the ball. P J Washington was assessed his second foul during the second segment and once again must sit important minutes in a UK-Tennessee game.

In the third segment, Tennessee scored the only 5 points of the segment to ease back into the lead by 1 point, 21-20 at the under 8 media time out, and Nick Richards will be at the line for a pair of free throws after the time out. In the 4 th segment, the Cats moved back on top, 24-21, but Tennessee owned the balance of the segment, outscoring the Cats 8-0 to lead 29-24 at the under 4 media time out. With 4:00 left in the first half, the Cats have the ball.

In the final segment, the Cats trimmed the Tennessee lead to 2 points twice, but Tennessee's 7 th 3 pointer of the half extended the Vols' lead to 5. Coach Calipari takes a time out with 27 seconds left to plan the final possession of the first half, and the Cats trim the lead to 2 points on the Cats' 4 th 3 pointer of the first half, this one by Reid Travis.

Cats trail 36-34 at the half.

The Cats scored 34 points on 30 possessions, 1.133 points per possession, and TENNESSEE managed their 36 points on 29 possessions 1.241 ppp. The Cats made 44.8% of their first half shots, including 4-9 from outside the arc. TENNESSEE managed to make 53.8% of their first half shots, including 7-9 from outside the arc.

The Cats made 4-6 free throws (66.7%) and TENNESSEE was 1-2 (50.0%) from the line in the first half.

Kentucky committed 5 turnovers to 3 by the Vols.

On the Boards, the Cats won the glass 18-11 overall, and Kentucky won the offensive glass 7-1. Kentucky won the second chance points 6-2. The Cats secured 41.2% of their misses and allowed TENNESSEE to grab 8.3% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

Kentucky opens the second half with a pair of free throws to tie the score. After ties at 36, 38, and 40, Tennessee moves back on top by 4, 44-40, but Tyler Herro hits another 3 pointer to trim the lead to 1 point at the under 16 media time out. Tennessee will have the ball after the time out. To start the second segment, Tennessee makes 1 of 2 from the line to ease back out to the 2 point lead they held at the half, and the Cats tied the score for the 4 th time of the second half. In the second segment, the Cats moved back into the lead, leading by as many as 3 points 51-48, but Tennessee scored the last 4 points of the segment to move back on top by 1 point, 52-51 at the under 12 media time out with 11:15 left in the game, and the Vols in possession. During the time out, the officials assessed a on a UK assistant coach, and Tennessee converted the free throws to lead by 3, 54-51.

Reid Travis makes a pair of free throws, and the Cats gets a run out basket off a Tennessee turnover to move back on top by 3 points, 57-54, and Tennessee takes a time out with 9:43 left in the game. After the time out, Tennessee's Williams gets to the line for a pair of free throws, trimming the lead back to 1 point. After the Vols eased back into a 1 point lead, 58-57, the Cats run off 6 straight points to a 5 point lead, 63-58, forcing a Tennessee time out with 7:33 left in the game. The 5 point lead matches the Cats biggest lead of the game, and the first 5 point lead since the Cats led early 13-8. 5 points is also the largest lead held in this game by Tennessee, the last at 36-31 just prior to Reid Travis' 3 pointer that ended the first half.

Following a missed 3 point attempt, Keldon Johnson makes a layup to extend the lead to 7, but Keldon Johnson missed the and one. The teams traded scores to the end of the 4 th segment when Keldon Johnson made a basket and was fouled, lifting the lead to 7 points again, 71-64, and sending the game to the under 4 media time out with 2:58 left. Keldon Johnson will again have an and one after the time out.

In the final segment, Tennessee makes an 11-2 run to move on top by 1 point, 75-74 with 1:10 left in the game, and Coach Calipari takes a time out. P J Washington scores a second chance basket to give the Cats a 1 point lead. After Tennessee missed a 3 point attempt, Williams grabbed an offensive rebound, and called time out on the baseline to save the possession with 38 seconds left. Out of the time, Tennessee makes a 3 pointer to move back on top by 2 points with 29 seconds left.

Cats lose 82-78, being outscored 18-6 down the stretch.


UK scored its 78 points on 64 possessions (1.219 ppp) for the game, and TENNESSEE scored its 82 points on 64 possessions (1.281 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards 32-28, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive boards with a rebounding edge 11-10. Kentucky and Tennessee each scored 13 second chance points. TENNESSEE had an offensive efficiency of 1.078 ppp on its 64 first chance possessions and 1.300 ppp for its 10 second chance possessions. UK had 1.016 ppp on its 64 first chance possessions and 1.182 ppp on its 11 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 37.9% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TENNESSEE was able to convert 32.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK made 13-19 (68.4%) from the free throw line in this game. TENNESSEE made 20-25 [80.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 30-56 overall [53.6%] and 5-11 from long range [45.5%]. For TENNESSEE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 16-35 [45.7%] and from long range, TENNESSEE hit 10-21 [47.6%].

The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 5.8 possessions. The Cats forced 6 TENNESSEE turnovers, one for every 10.7 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: The Cats head home and wait for the NCAA selection committee to announce the seedings and matchups for the NCAA Tournament that begins next week.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks



Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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