2019-20 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Stay On The Road at Vanderbilt

On Saturday, Kentucky played its strongest game of the season since the season opener against then #1 Michigan State and left Knoxville, Tennessee a 13 point winner. Auburn handed LSU its second consecutive loss in Auburn, Alabama and Florida took one on the chin at Mississippi to separate the SEC race into a three way tie for first place with LSU, Auburn and LSU with two losses each. Florida finds itself in 4 h place with 4 losses tied South Carolina. On Tuesday night, the Cats will play on the road again, at Vanderbilt where LSU suffered its first SEC loss of the year this past Wednesday.

It is perilous to look ahead, but under the circumstances in the league race, all signs now point to February 18 in Baton Rouge when the Cats and Bengal Tigers collide with the SEC conference championship at stake. The Cats will play at Vanderbilt, as noted above, and entertain Mississippi while LSU will host Missouri on Tuesday and travel to Alabama next Saturday before the collision will happen in Baton Rouge. The winner of that critical game will have the inside track to the SEC regular season title with 5 games left.

However, the Cats must take care of business with Vanderbilt before any thing else can matter.

Vanderbilt's current ANE is an 0..031 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.057 ppp and a tempo of 70.2 possessions per game. The Cats bring an ANE of 0.205 ppp into this game having played a schedule strength of 0.066 ppp at a tempo of 69.5 possessions per game.

Based on this data for these teams, an ANE analysis indicates this game will have a tempo of 70 possessions and the Cats should enjoy a 9 point margin, 76-67.

It is intuitively clear than not all 9 point games 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 play more of their games in the green range than in the red range over the course of the season. Conversely, Calipari's weakest teams play more of their games in the red than in the green range. A game ANE moves toward the red zone with smaller margins (or losses) and toward the green zone with larger margins.

Game Summary:

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

Kentucky controls the opening tip and cannot score. Vanderbilt opens the scoring with a 3 pointer and a basket to move out to an early 5-0 lead before the Cats gets 1 of 2 from the line by Ashton Hagans. Vanderbilt leads at the under 16 media timeout by 4, 10-6 and has possession of the ball. Vanderbilt opens the second segment with another 3 pointer, their 3 rd of the game, to lead by a game high 7 points, 13-6. The Commodores maintain the 7 point lead through the segment and lead 18-11 at the under 12 media timeout.

The Cats open the 3 rd segment with their 3 rd turnover of the game, and Vanderbilt makes them pay to extend their lead to a game high 9 points, 20-11. After the Cats trim the lead back to 7, Vanderbilt goes up by 10 with their 5 th 3 point basket of the first half, and then by 12, 25-13. The Cats trim the lead to 8, 25-17 at the under 8 media timeout.

Vanderbilt opens the 4 th segment as they did for the first 2 segments with another 3 point basket to extend their lead back to 11. After Ashton Hagans trims the lead to 10 from the line, Vanderbilt goes up by a game high 13 points with their 7 th 3 point basket of the first half, 31-18. Immanuel Quickley trims 2 points from the lead, but Vanderbilt goes up by a game high 14 on its 8 th 3 point basket of the game, 34-20. Johnny Juzang trims the lead to 12, 34-22 at the under 4 media timeout, and Vanderbilt will have a pair of free throws after the timeout.

In the final segment, the Cats manage to trim the lead to 9 points, 36-27, at the half.

The Cats scored 27 points on 33 possessions, 0.818 points per possession, and VANDERBILT managed their 36 points on 32 possessions, 1.125 ppp. The Cats made 32.1% of their first half shots, including 2-5 from outside the arc. VANDERBILT managed to make 38.2% of their first half shots, including 8-17 from outside the arc.

The Cats committed 6 turnovers in the first half to 3 turnovers by Vanderbilt.

The Cats made 7-9 free throws (77.8%) and VANDERBILT made 2-3 (66.7%).

On the Boards, Vanderbilt controlled the glass with a 22-20 advantage, and Vanderbilt owned the offensive glass with a 7-5 margin. Vanderbilt earned a 11-6 advantage on second chance points. The Cats secured 25.0% of their misses and allowed VANDERBILT to grab 31.8% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

Vanderbilt opens the second half with a miss, and the Cats score twice to trim the lead to 5 points. The Cats trim the lead to 4, 39-35, and Vanderbilt closes the scoring in the opening segment to lead by 6, 41-35 at the under 16 media timeout with Kentucky in possession of the ball. Ashton Hagans missed another shot from point blank range, and Vanderbilt goes up by 9 with another 3 point basket. The Cats respond and pull to within 2 points 44-42, and again at 46-44 at the under 12 media timeout and the Cats have the ball.

Since trailing by 14, 34-20, late in the first half, the Cats have outscored Vanderbilt 24-12. The Cats draw even for the first time since 0-0 with a pair of free throws by E. J. Montgomery, 46-46. After Vanderbilt misses from the arc, Tyrese Maxey drives and scores to give the Cats their first lead of the game, 48-46. After another Vanderbilt missed shot, Tyrese Maxey hits a 3 point basket to give the Cats their biggest lead of the game, 5 points, 51-46. A pair of free throws by E. J. Montgomery extends the Cats' lead to 7, 53-46. After Vanderbilt trims the lead to 5, the Cats respond with 4 points to move on top by a game high 9 points, 57-48 at the under 8 media timeout with 6:58 left in the game and Kentucky in possession.

The Cats move on top by a game high 11 points on a Nick Richards basket, but Vanderbilt pulls to within 8 on its 11 th 3 point basket. Vanderbilt trims the lead to 5, 62-57 with 4:20 left in the game following a Kentucky turnover against the Vanderbilt press. Then Nick Richards commits another turnover against the press. However, Vanderbilt turns the ball over on a Tyrese Maxey steal, and the Cats have the ball up by 5, 62-57 at the under 4 media timeout with 3:54 left in the game.

The Cats ease to an 8 point lead with Kentucky's 5 th 3 point basket of the game, this one by Immanuel Quickley, 65-57. Immanuel Quickley hits his second straight 3 point basket to go back up by 11, and Tyrese Maxey gets to the rim to give the Cats their largest lead, 13 points, 70-57. A layup by Tyrese Maxey extends the lead to a game high 15, 74-59.

Cats win 78-64.


UK scored its 78 points on 67 possessions (1.164 ppp) for the game, and VANDERBILT scored its 64 points on 67 possessions (0.955 ppp).

Kentucky won the battle of the boards 43-32, and Kentucky controlled the offensive glass 10-9, which produced a 17-11 advantage on second chance points for the Commodores. VANDERBILT had an offensive efficiency of 0.791 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 1.222 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.910 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 1.700 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 30.3%of its misses as offensive rebounds while VANDERBILT was able to convert 21.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 16-19 [84.2%]. VANDERBILT made 9-17 [52.9%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-59 overall [47.5%] and 6-9 from long range [66.7%]. For Vanderbilt, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 11-31 [35.5%] and from long range, VANDERBILT hit 11-27 [39.3%].

The Cats committed 9 turnovers, one for every 7.4 possessions. The Cats forced 7 VANDERBILT turnovers, one for every 9.6 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon against Mississippi at Rupp in the Cats' twenty fifth regular season game and the 12 th game of the 2020 SEC season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks



Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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