2019-20 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Face Auburn In First SEC Championship Show Down of 2020

The mid-week SEC games were full of surprises. On Tuesday night, #162 Texas A&M defeated #51 Tennessee by 5 in Knoxville and # 33 Mississippi State defeated #36 Florida by 7 in Gainesville. #92 Georgia squandered a huge second half lead at #72 Missouri before falling to the Tigers by 3, and #19 Auburn needed overtime to beat #111 Mississippi by 1 in Oxford. On Wednesday night, #88 South Carolina defeated #32 Arkansas in Fayetteville by 2. However, the biggest surprise of the week occurred at Rupp Arena when #22 Kentucky found itself down 10, 40-30, in the second half against #147 Vanderbilt. Fortunately for the Cats, Kentucky's Nick Richards came to the rescue in the second half and carried his team to an eventual 9-point win.

On Saturday, the Cats travel to Auburn when both teams will need to right their ships following their lackluster mid-week showings.

Auburn opened the 2019-20 season with 15 consecutive wins. During that span, they disposed of #69 Richmond by 14, #71 Furman by 3, #53 NC State by 6, and #33 Mississippi State by 12 in addition to an assorted diet of basketball cupcakes. Then the wheels seemed to come off their SEC Championship express when losing to #44 Alabama by 19 and #36 Florida by 22 in successive games. Since these back to back stumbles, Auburn has won three additional games, but the Tigers have been less impressive in doing so than they had been prior to their two losses, beating #88 South Carolina by 13, #79 Iowa State by 4, and the aforementioned win on Tuesday in overtime at Mississippi, after trailing most of the game, and at times by more than 20 points.

Through 20 games of the 2019-20 season, Auburn and Kentucky stand atop the SEC ratings with ANE values of 0.212 ppp and 0.204 ppp, respectively. Saturday's game in Auburn will be the first of two games between these SEC Championship contenders.

Auburn's current ANE is an 0.212 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.065 ppp and a tempo of 71.6 possessions per game. The Cats bring an ANE of 0.204 ppp into this game having played a schedule strength of 0.058 ppp at a tempo of 70.0 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 losing by 4 points , 74-70.

It is intuitively clear than not all 4-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:

Coach Calipari starts Tyrese Maxey, E. J. Montgomery, Nick Richards, Immanuel Quickley, and Ashton Hagans against Auburn. Nate Sestina, Keion Brooks, and Johnny Juzang will come off the bench.

Kentucky controls the opening tip and the Cats open the scoring with a 3 point basket. After Auburn gets a second chance basket, Immanuel Quickley makes a 3 point play to extend the early Kentucky lead to 4, 6-2. After an Auburn miss, Tyrese Maxey makes his second 3 point basket to extend the early lead to 7, 9-2. Auburn makes 3 free throws when Kentucky fouls a 3 point shooter, and the Cats lead by 5, 10-5, at the under 16 media timeout with Auburn in possession of the ball. After the break, Auburn uses a basket and four more free throws to move ahead for the first time, 11-10, and following a Kentucky miss, Auburn makes its first 3 point basket to extend their lead to 4, 14-10. A pair of free throws by Tyrese Maxey, the only points by the Cats in the segment that trim the Auburn lead to 2, 14-12 at the under 12 media timeout.

In the early going, Auburn has an advantage on the offensive glass and with turnovers, and neither team has shot the ball well. After the timeout, Auburn's Wiley draws his second foul and goes to the bench. Johnny Juzang makes the Cats' 3 rd 3 point basket to lift the Cats back into the lead. A pair of free throws by Immanuel Quickley extends the Cats' lead to 3, 17-14. A basket by Keion Brooks extends the Kentucky lead back to 5 and extends the current run to 9-0 at the under 8 media timeout and the Cats leading 19-14. Another 3 point basket by Immanuel Quickley extends the lead back to 7, 24-17. Auburn puts Wiley back into the game with 2 fouls, and he quickly draws his 3 rd foul just before the under 4 media timeout. The Cats lead by 4, 28-24, and Tyrese Maxey will be at the line after the break due to the Wiley foul.

Tyrese Maxey missed the front end and Auburn pulls to within 2 points with a pair of free throws at their end. After Tyrese Maxey is fouled on a drive, Coach Pearl draws a technical foul from the Auburn bench. Immanuel Quickley made the technical free throws, and Tyrese Maxey to extend the lead back to 6, but Immanuel Quickley fouls a 3 point shooter for the second time in this game, and Auburn makes good on all 3 free throws. Following a Kentucky turnover, a foul by Johnny Juzang allows Auburn to trim the lead to 2 points, 32-30. After Auburn eased back into the lead on its second 3 point basket of the game, 34-32, Tyrese Maxey drained a 3 pointer at the buzzer to give the Cats a 1 point lead, 35-34, at the half.

The Cats scored 35 points on 31possessions, 1.129 points per possession, and AUBURN managed their 34 points on 30 possessions, 1.133 ppp. The Cats made 39.1% of their first half shots, including 5-10 from outside the arc. AUBURN managed to make 30.8% of their first half shots, including 2-12 from outside the arc.

The Cats committed 7 turnovers in the first half to 4 turnovers by Auburn.

The Cats made 12-14 free throws (85.7%) and AUBURN made 16-20 (80.0%).

On the Boards, Auburn controlled the glass with a 20-17 advantage, and Auburn owned the offensive glass with a 9-4 margin. Auburn stayed in the game on second chance points with a 7-1 advantage. The Cats secured 26.7% of their misses and allowed AUBURN to grab 40.9% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

Auburn opens the second half with a 3 point basket to move back into the lead, but the Cats answer with a 3 point basket of its own. The teams trade baskets and 1 point leads to a 1 point Auburn lead, 45-44 at the under 16 media timeout. After the timeout, Auburn gets a second chance 3 point play to move on top by a game high 4 points, 48-44. Over the rest of the 2 nd segment, the Cats claw back into a 1 point lead, 50-49, and will have the ball after the under 12 media timeout.

Tyrese Maxey makes a pair of free throws to extend the Cats' lead to 3, 52-49. The Cats move on top by 5 before Auburn ends the scoring in the 3 rd segment to trim the Kentucky lead to 3, 54-51 at the under 8 media timeout and the Cats in possession of the ball with 7:38 left in the game. Auburn presses the Cats after the break, and when Tyrese Maxey could not find a teammate to receive the inbounds pass, he called a timeout. The Cats have 2 timeouts left, have the possession arrow, and have the ball with the 3 point lead. Coach Calipari puts Ashton Hagans back into the game with 4 fouls during the timeout. After the Cats miss their shot, Auburn ties the game with their 4 th 3 point basket of the game. Auburn moves back on top by 3 points from the foul line, 59-56. The Cats continue to dig a deep foul trouble hole in the game. After Tyrese Maxey put the Cats back on top 60-59, Auburn reclaimed the lead on another 3 point basket. Ashton Hagans fouled out with 3:37 left at the under 4 media timeout. Auburn leads by 2, 62-60, and Auburn will be at the foul line for a pair of free throws after the break.

Auburn makes 1 of 2 attempts to ease on top by 3 points. After Nate Sestina missed a 3 point attempt, Nick Richards committed his 4 th foul. The free throws give Auburn its biggest lead, 5 points, 65-60. A 3 point basket and a second chance basket by Auburn extends their lead to 6, 70-64. Down 5, 71-66 with 1:05 left, Coach Calipari calls a timeout. After a miss, Immanuel Quickley fouls out, and Auburn uses the free throws to go on top by 7 with less than a minute left in the game. After another Kentucky missed shot, Auburn add 2 more points from the line to lead by 9, 75-66 with 36 seconds left.

The Cats lose by 9, 75-66.


UK scored its 66 points on 64 possessions (1.031 ppp) for the game, and AUBURN scored its 75 points on 62 possessions (1.210 ppp).

Auburn won the battle of the boards 42-28, and Auburn controlled the offensive glass 17-6, which produced a 17-6 advantage on second chance points for the Tigers. AUBURN had an offensive efficiency of 0.936 ppp on its 62 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 17 second chance possessions. UK had 0.953 ppp on its 64 first chance possessions and 0.833 ppp on its 6 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 19.4%of its misses as offensive rebounds while AUBURN was able to convert 43.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 20-24 [83.3%]. AUBURN made 33-44 [75.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 20-49 overall [40.8%] and 6-16 from long range [37.5%]. For Auburn, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 12-28 [42.9%] and from long range, AUBURN hit 6-23 [26.1%].

The Cats committed 12 turnovers, one for every 5.3 possessions. The Cats forced 7 AUBURN turnovers, one for every 8.9 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening against Mississippi State at Rupp in the Cats' twenty seoncd regular season game and the 9 th game of the 2020 SEC season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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