2019-20 Season Analytical Writings

How Will Cats Respond To 8 Days Since Last Game

As has become the scheduling custom for Coach Calipari at UK, seasons begin with a flurry of games in the first 3 weeks of the season, and then for the remainder of the calendar year, the Cats play 1 game per week, typically each Saturday. This year, Coach Calipari has lamented the lack of sufficient practice time between games to correct issues identified during the initial flurry of games, and this year there have perhaps the usual issues based on youth and inexperience have been compounded by a rash of injuries.

The first seven (7) games have been a roller coaster ride from the initial peak experienced in game 1 against Michigan State, to the bottom of the Evansville/Utah Valley games, back to a peak against Lamar, and back down against UAB. The questions created by this 4-game cyclic frequency is will that pattern continue, or will the local bottoms start rising from the previous bottoms with higher successive peaks, or will the ride begin to even out with declining amplitude at the current average?

If we listen closely, the Calipari laments suggest the former rather than the latter because he will have “eight wonderful days” between games to get some issues resolved. On Saturday evening, we will get to view for ourselves the benefits of the 8 days of practice that Calipari has been craving.

Yes, the Cats now stand at 6-1 with an Adjusted Net Efficiency (ANE) of 0.15 points per possession (ppp) against a schedule strength of -0.066 ppp. The Cats' average tempo remains about 71 possessions per game.

#270 Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) has played seven games, six against D1 opposition with a 1-5 record in those games. The Knights lost at #49 DePaul by 11, at #320 Army by 16, at #135 Lafayette by 5, at #72 Notre Dame by 25, and beat #252 Quinnipiac by 1 on Tuesday at home.

Based on this early season data for these teams, an ANE analysis indicates this game will have a tempo of 70 possessions with the Cats prevailing by 21 points, 81-60.

It is intuitively clear than not all 21-point wins are created equal. The quality of any win depends upon the final margin, the strength of the opponent, and the venue of the game.

The table provides tools to evaluate this game's final margin considering the relevant factors. This table separates game outcomes into three ranges, red, tan, and green. Over the years, Calipari's strongest teams win most of their games on the season in the green range and the fewest number of games end in the red range. Conversely, Calipari's weakest teams win most of their games in the red and fewest in the green ranges. Through 7 games this season, the outcomes have been 3 in the red, 3 in the tan, and 1 in the green. For the FDU game, a final margin between 25 and 39 points would be in the Historically Common Range, and larger margins move the game into the strong group while smaller margins move the game into the poor range.

Game Summary:

Since the last game, Dontaie Allen returned to action in practice sessions and is no longer on the injured reserve list. Coach Calipari has not indicated when Dontaie Allen will be available for action in games but has indicated that he is behind with conditioning. . Calipari starts Johnny Juzang, Tyrese Maxey, Ashton Hagans, E. J. Montgomery, and Nick Richards. Kahlil Whitney, Immanuel Quickley, Keino Brooks, and Dontaie Allen will come off the bench tonight. Nate Sestina remains on the injured reserve list with his broken wrist.

Kentucky controls the opening tip but Fairleigh Dickinson scores first, and after Fairleigh Dickinson leads 4-2, the Cats go on a 7-point run that Fairleigh Dickinson stopped with a 3 point second chance basket. The Cats lead 9-7 at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, the Cats moved out to a 7 point lead, 18-11.

In the third segment, each team scores a basket to extend the 7 point lead to 20-13, and then the Cats score 5 straight to move on top by 12, forcing a Fairleigh Dickinson timeout. After the timeout, the Cats extend their run to 9 points, to lead 29-13 at the under 8 media timeout. In the 4 th segment, the Cats extend their lead to 22, 35-13, but Fairleigh Dickinson cuts 6 points off the lead with back to back 3 pointers, and Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 4:00 left in the half and the Cats leading by 16, 36-19.

In the final segment, the Cats extend their lead to 20 points, 43-23, at the half.

The Cats scored 43 points on 34 possessions, 1.265 points per possession, and Fairleigh Dickinson managed their 23 points on 33 possessions, 0.697 ppp. The Cats made 52,8% (17-34) of their first half shots, including 1-8 (12,5%) from outside the arc. Fairleigh Dickinson made 9-30 (30.0%) shooting in the first half and managed to make 3-17 shots from long range (17.6%) and 6-13 (46.2%) from inside the arc.

The Cats made 6-7 free throws (85.7%) and Fairleigh Dickinson managed to make 2-2 (100.0%) free throws.

On the Boards, the Cats won the battle 22-15 and the Cats and the Cats won on the offensive glass, 7-6. The Cats used its 7 second chance possessions to score 12 points and FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON used its 6 second chances to score 3 second chance points. The Cats grabbed 43.8% of their missed shots while FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON only rebounded 28.8% of its missed shots. The Cats committed 4 turnovers, one for each 8.5 possessions while Fairleigh Dickinson committed 8 turnovers, one for each 4.1 possessions.

Second Half:

Fairleigh Dickinson opens the second half with a basket to trim the lead to 18. After the Cats move on top by a game high 23, 52-29, a 3 pointer by Fairleigh Dickinson trims the lead back to 20, 52-32, at the under 16 media timeout. A pair of free throws by Ashton Hagans and a transition basket by Keion Brooks extends the lead to a game high 24 points. In an extended second segment, the Cats move on top by 30 points, 65-35, forcing a Fairleigh Dickinson timeout with 10:49 left in the game.

At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats lead by 26, 69-43, and Ashton Hagans will be at the line for 3 free throws after the break.

Cats win 83-52.


UK scored its 83 points in a total of 67 possessions (1.239 ppp) for the game, and Fairleigh Dickinson scored its 52 points on a total of 66 possessions (0.776 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 42-33, but Fairleigh Dickinson won the battle of the offensive glass 14-12. Kentucky used its 12 second chance possessions to score 20 second chance points while FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON used its 14 second chances to score 9 points. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 38.7% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Fairleigh Dickinson was able to convert 31.8% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK made 17-19 [89.5%] from the free throw line. Fairleigh Dickinson made 5-6 [83.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 32-62 overall [51.6%] and 2-11 from long range [18.2%]. For Fairleigh Dickinson, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 16-41 [39.0%] and from long range, Fairleigh Dickinson hit 5-24 [20.8%).

The Cats committed 9 turnovers, one for every 7.4 possessions. The Cats forced 13 Fairleigh Dickinson turnovers, one for every 5.2 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon against Georgia Tech in the eighth game of the 2019-20 regular season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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