2019-20 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Take Two Game Junket To Las Vegas; First Comes Utah

The Cats opened this season about 5 weeks ago with a win over a strong Michigan State ranked #1 in every pre-season poll. Since that powerful debut, the Cats have receded into the Cats' lair's protections at Rupp for the last eight games. During this period, young Cats discovered that they are not as great as their opening win might have suggested, and hit a hard bottom with a lackluster game the next time out, albeit a win. Over the last five games, the Cats have bounced back from that bottom of game 4.

At present, the Cats' adjusted net efficiency is on a gentle rising trend at 0.196 ppp after the Cats' win over Georgia Tech this past Saturday. The Cats' ANE ranks #27 nationally.

Now, Coach Calipari is leading his Cats on a two game junket in Las Vegas. On Wednesday, the Cats will face Utah in Las Vegas and on Saturday, the Cats will face #1 Ohio State in the same venue.

#79 Utah brings a 8-2 record into the game. Utah's most impressive wins are over #41 BYU by 7 and over #64 Minnesota by 4. Utah's losses are puzzling, losing at #155 Coastal Carolina by 22 and to #218 Tulane by 4 on a neutral court. Utah has played this season at an average tempo of 72.0 possessions per game at an ANE 0.112 ppp with a schedule strength of -0.033 ppp.

The #27 Cats bring a 8-1 record into this game with an ANE of 0.196 ppp against a schedule strength of -0.070 ppp.

Based on this data for these teams, an ANE analysis indicates this game will have a tempo of 71 possessions with the Cats prevailing by 5 points, 74-69.

It is intuitively clear than not all 13-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. move the game into the strong group while smaller margins move the game into the poor range.

Game Summary:

This week, Nate Sestina returned to practice, and we continue to hear that Dontaie Allen continues to practice. Coach Calipari has not indicated Dontaie Allen will be available for action in games, but Coach Calipari has said that Nate Sestina is available to play if needed. Calipari starts Immanuel Quickley, Tyrese Maxey, Ashton Hagans, E. J. Montgomery, and Nick Richards. Kahlil Whitney, Nate Sestina, Johnny Juzang, Keino Brooks, and Dontaie Allen will come off the bench tonight.

Kentucky controls the opening tip and get the game's first score, but by the time the under 16 media timeout occurred, the Cats trail 10-4 due to 2 for 8 shooting, poor rebounding, and a pair of turnovers to account for their first 9 possessions. Utah has hit 4 of 6 shots including 2 of 3 from outside the arc. In the second segment, Utah continued to pull ahead, extending their lead to a game high 9 points, 18-9, at the under 12 media timeout. Through the first 8 minutes, Utah is 7-11 overall and 2-4 from the arc while the Cats are 4-14 overall and 0-5 from outside the arc. Utah also holds a 10-5 rebounding advantage.

In the third segment, the Cats did not lose additional ground to Utah and continue to trail by 9, 26-17, at the under 12 media timeout. In the 4 th segment, Utah extended their lead to a game high 10 points, 33-23 at the under 4 media timeout.

In the final segment, Utah went on top by 12, 35-23, but the Cats scored the last 8 points of the first half to trim the 12 point lead to 4, 35-31, at the half.

The Cats scored 31 points on 36 possessions, 0.861 points per possession, and Utah managed their 35 points on 35 possessions, 1.000 ppp. The Cats made 41.9% (13-31) of their first half shots, including 0-7 (0.0%) from outside the arc. Utah made 13-26 (50.0%) shooting in the first half and managed to make 4-9 shots from long range (44.4%) and 9-17 (52.9%) from inside the arc.

The Cats made 5-7 free throws (83.3%) and Utah managed to make 5-7 (71.4%) free throws.

On the Boards, the Utes won the battle 17-16, but the Cats won on the offensive glass, 5-3. The Cats used its 5 second chance possessions to score 4 points and UTAH used its 3 second chances to score 2 second chance points. The Cats grabbed 26.3% of their missed shots while UTAH only rebounded 21.4% of its missed shots. The Cats committed 8 turnovers, one for each 4.5 possessions while Utah committed 8 turnovers, one for each 4.4 possessions.

Second Half:

Utah opens the second half with a score. After the Utes and Cats traded baskets to a score of 40-36, the Utes scores the next 5 points to lead by 9, 45-36 at the under 16 media timeout. In the second segment, Utah continued its run from 5-0 to end the first segment to 10-0 extending their lead to a game high 14 points, 50-36 forcing Coach Calipari to take a timeout with 14:56 left in the game. Over the rest of the 2 nd segment, the Utes maintained a 15 point lead, 54-39 at the under 12 media timeout.

In the third segment, Utah extended their lead to a game high 17 points, 56-39. The Cats closed the gap to 10 points, 58-48, at the under 8 media timeout. In the 4 th segment, the Cats climb to within 6 points, 59-53 with 5:26 left in the game. In the 4 th segment, the Cats clawed to within 2 points, 62-60, at the under 4 media timeout, and Utah will be at the line for a pair of free throws after this final media timeout.

After Utah ease on top by 3 points after making 1 of 2 from the line, the Cats fail to score on 3 opportunities and Utah goes up by 6 points on its 8 th 3-point basket of the game. With 2:25 left, the Cats are down by 6, 66-60. Over the next 40 seconds, the Cats make a jump shot and back to back layups following Utah turnovers to tie the score, 66-66 with 1:43 left in the game. Utah eases back into a 2 point lead, 68-66, and after a defensive stop, Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 33 seconds left.

With 23 seconds left, Utah fouls Tyrese Maxey, and during a video review, the referees change it to an offensive foul, a turnover. Coach Calipari burns his next to last time out with 23 seconds left. The Cats foul with 15 seconds left, and Utah makes 1 of 2 from the line to ease out to a 3 point lead, 69-66. After Tyrese Maxey missed a 3 point attempt, E. J. Montgomery got the rebound and called the Cats' last timeout with 3.2 seconds left and down 3 points.

Cats lose for the second time this season by 3 points, 69-66.


UK scored its 66 points in a total of 68 possessions (0.971 ppp) for the game, and Utah scored its 69 points on a total of 67 possessions (1.030 ppp).

Kentucky and Utah each grabbed 31 total rebounds, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 14-4. Kentucky used its 14 second chance possessions to score 10 second chance points while UTAH used its 4 second chances to score 4 points. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 34.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Utah was able to convert 19.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK made 12-16 [75.0%] from the free throw line. Utah made 15-23 [65.2%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 26-63 overall [41.3%] and 2-17 from long range [11.8%]. For Utah, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 15-27 [55.6%] and from long range, Utah hit 8-15 [53.3%).

The Cats committed 12 turnovers, one for every 5.7 possessions. The Cats forced 17 Utah turnovers, one for every 3.9 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon against Ohio State in Las Vegas in the eleventh game of the 2019-20 regular season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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