2019-20 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Limp From Columbia to Fayetteville
Must Face Dangerous Hogs Before Returning To Rupp

The season has passed the ½ way mark with a loss at South Carolina on Wednesday night. Now, the Cats continue their mid-season two game trip with a game in Fayetteville, Arkansas against a group of hogs that have been playing very good basketball this season. We recall that the two game Las Vegas junket last month ended with a pair of losses, and a repeat of the 0-2 trip now would carry very serious impact upon the Cats' standing in the SEC race.

Arkansas enters this game with an 14-2 record, 3-1 in the SEC. Arkansas won its first 8 games before stumbling at #106 Western Kentucky by 7 points in OT. The Hogs have won 6 of their 7 games since, losing at #24 LSU by 2. Arkansas's most impressive wins thus far this season have been over Rice with a game ANE of 0.49 ppp and over #52 Indiana with a game ANE of 0.34 ppp. Arkansas's weakest games this season have been against #178 Austin Peay with a game ANE of 0.02 ppp and against #166 Valparaiso with a game ANE of 0.01 ppp, each in a winning effort. Arkansas's current ANE is an 0.202 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.021 ppp and a tempo of 71.7 possessions per game.

The Cats bring an ANE of 0.195 ppp into this game having played a schedule strength of 0.013 ppp at a tempo of 69.9 possessions per game.

Based on this data for these teams, an ANE analysis indicates this game will have a tempo of 71 possessions with the Cats falling by 5 points, 66-71.

It is intuitively clear than not all 5-point wins or losses 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:

Johnny Juzang has missed the last four games due to a contagious illness that required separation from the other players and coaches. Johnny Juzang dressed for the Alabama and South Carolina games, and will be on the bench for tonight's game. However, Coach Calipari has not addressed his availability for today's game. The most recent information indicates Dontaie Allen is still not working practices but may be close. Coach Calipari starts Keion Brooks, E. J. Montgomery, Nick Richards, Tyrese Maxey, and Ashton Hagans, to start the 16 th game of this season against the Arkansas. Nate Sestina, Kahlil Whitney, Immanuel Quickley, and possibly Johnny Juzang will come off the bench.

Kentucky controls the opening tip and turns the ball over. After a missed shot by Arkansas, the Cats move on top 3-0, but the Hogs move into the lead 5-3, 7-3, and 11-10 at the under 16 media timeout, and the Hogs will have a pair of free throws after the break. In the second segment, the Cats move back on top 15-12 on a 3 pointer by Nate Sestina. On the next Arkansas possession, play stopped on a Kentucky foul, and the officials reviewed a hit Ashton Hagans received to the mouth from an Arkansas player. The Kentucky foul was on Tyrese Maxey, his second with 13:05 left in the half. The Cats lead by 2, 17-15 at the under 12 media timeout with 10:28 left in the half.

The Cats will be at the line for a pair of free throws after the under 12 media timeout, and make 1 of 2 tries. In the third segment, the Cats use back to back Hog turnovers to move on top by game high 7 points, 22-15. The Cats lead by 4, 24-20, at the under 8 media timeout with 6:58 left in the half. Kentucky is in possession after the break. A 3 pointer by Johnny Juzang extends the Cats to a game high 9 point lead, 29-20. After leading by 7, 31-24, the Hogs made a 3 pointer to cut the lead to 4, 31-27 and a Kentucky player fouled an Arkansas player while fighting for rebound position on the 3 point shot, so Arkansas will have free throws after the under 4 media timeout with 2:11 left in the half.

In the final segment, the Cats ease back on top by 6, 33-27, and with 38 seconds left, the officials call a foul on a Kentucky player when the Arkansas player flops. During the stoppage in play the officials review the play and do not call the flop. Ashton Hagans, E. J. Montgomery, and Tyrese Maxey all have 2 fouls, and the entire Arkansas team has 3 fouls. The Cats finish the final 38 seconds strong to lead by a game high 9 points, 36-27 at the half.

The Cats scored 36 points on 33 possessions, 1.091 points per possession, and ARKANSAS managed their 27 points on 32 possessions, 0.844 ppp. The Cats made 43.8% of their first half shots, including 4-7 from outside the arc. ARKANSAS managed to make 39.1% of their first half shots, including 6-8 from outside the arc.

The Cats made 4-7 free throws (57.1%) and ARKANSAS made 3-8 (37.5%).

On the Boards, the Kentucky controlled the glass 27-10 overall, and Kentucky controlled the offensive glass 9-1. Kentucky earned an advantage on second chance points of 10-0. The Cats secured 50.0% of their misses and allowed ARKANSAS to grab 6.4% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

Arkansas opens the second half, but the Cats get the first score of the second half to move on top by a game high 11 points. After the Hogs trim the lead to 7, the Cats close the segment with a 9 point lead, 40-31 at the under 16 media timeout. In the opening segment, the Cats had committed 4 fouls to none for Arkansas, and with 15 minutes left, Ashton Hagans committed his 4 th foul and the team's 7 th of the half to none called against Arkansas. At the under 12 media timeout, the Hogs have trimmed the Kentucky lead from 11 to 6, 42-36, and Arkansas will have one free throw to complete a 3 point play after the media timeout.

Arkansas finishes the 3 point play, and Arkansas pulls to within 2 points, 42-40 with a 3 point basket. Arkansas catches Kentucky, 44-44 with 8:49 left in the game. With 8:19 to play, Coach Calipari picked up back to back technical fouls and is ejected from the game after Nate Sestina was whistled for his 4 th foul. Arkansas converted 3 of 4 and then have the ball following the technical fouls. The Hogs lead by 3, 49-46 at the under 8 media timeout with 6:53 left in the game and E. J. Montgomery set for a pair of free throws.

Coach Kenny Payne moves the Cats into a 2-3 zone defense.

With 7 minutes left, the Cats have 3 players with 4 fouls each, Nate Sestina, Ashton Hagans, and E. J. Montgomery. E. J. Montgomery made the first but missed the second. After an Arkansas turnover, E. J. Montgomery fouls out with 6:22 left. Then, Tyrese Maxey makes a 3 point play to ease the Cats back into a 1 point lead, 50-49. Another basket by Tyrese Maxey pushes the lead to 3, and a pair of free throws by Nick Richards pushes the lead to 5, 54-49. Another pair of Nick Richards free throws extends the lead to 7, and a 3 point basket by Immanuel Quickley pushes the lead to 10, 59-49 forcing an Arkansas timeout with 4:09 left in the game. The Cats have scored 13 straight after the back to back technical fouls on Coach Calipari allowed the Hogs to lead by 3 points.

A basket by Keion Brooks extends the lead to a game high 12 points before Arkansas stops the run at 17 points. Ashton Hagans fouls out with 44 seconds left and the Cats on top by 11, 67-56. The officials call a flagrant 1 on Immanuel Quickley and make both free throws and score on the ensuing possession to cut the lead to 5, 69-64 with 21 seconds left.

Cats win 73-66.


UK scored its 73 points on 71 possessions (1.028 ppp) for the game, and ARKANSAS scored its 66 points on 73possessions (0.904 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards 47-29, and Kentucky controlled the offensive glass 12-8 which produced a 14-9 advantage on second chance points for the Cats. ARKANSAS had an offensive efficiency of 0.781 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 1.125 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 0.831 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.167 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 36.4%of its misses as offensive rebounds while ARKANSAS was able to convert 18.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 20-27 [74.1%]. ARKANSAS made 20-30 [66.7%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 24-54 overall [44.4%] and 5-14 from long range [35.7%]. For Arkansas, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 11-31 [35.5%] and from long range, ARKANSAS hit 8-26 [30.8%].

The Cats committed 16 turnovers, one for every 4.4 possessions. The Cats forced 12 ARKANSAS turnovers, one for every 6.1 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday night at Rupp against Georgias in the Cats' eighteenth regular season game, and the 6 th game of the 2020 SEC season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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