2019-20 Season Analytical Writings

Cats Face LSU With SEC Race On The Line

On Saturday morning, Kentucky was tied with LSU and Auburn at the top of the SEC standings at 9-2. By Saturday night, Kentucky stood alone atop the SEC by virtue of its come from behind win at Rupp over Mississippi and LSU's loss at Alabama and Auburn's loss at Missouri. On Tuesday night, the Cats will face LSU in Baton Rouge in a game that carries real SEC regular season championship consequences for each team. A LSU win will leave these teams tied, and since they only play once, LSU owns the tie breaker over the Cats. On the other hand, if the Cats get out of Baton Rouge with a win, the Cats will remain alone in the led and LSU will drop out of contention.

A win at LSU would probably be sufficient to secure at least a tie for the regular season SEC championship, but a UK win at LSU does not end the race to secure the #1 seed for the upcoming SEC Tournament. The Cats must face Auburn a second time in Rupp, and a loss to Auburn would leave them tied, and Auburn would own the tie breaker over the Cats. Therefore, UK must beat LSU in Baton Rouge and Auburn at Rupp to secure the sole SEC regular season championship and the #1 seed in the tournament.

LSU brings its 18-7, 9-3 record into the Tuesday night encounter with the Cats. However, after a 17-4 start, LSU has dropped three of its last four games. The Bengal Tigers lost to #155 Vanderbilt by 9 (-0.05 ppp Game ANE), to #34 Auburn by 1 (0.24 ppp Game ANE), and at #46 Alabama by 6 (0.14 ppp Game ANE),. The only win in their last 4 games was against #92 Missouri by 4 (0.12 ppp Game ANE). LSU has posted an average ANE over these last 4 games of 0.11 ppp.

Kentucky also brings a four-game winning streak into this game. After losing at Auburn, the Cats have beaten Mississippi State by 8 (0.22 ppp Game ANE), Tennessee by 13 (0.43 ppp Game ANE), Vanderbilt by 14 (0.28 ppp Game ANE), and Mississippi by 5 (0.12 ppp Game ANE), which is an average ANE of 0.26 ppp over these last 4 games. If the teams play on Tuesday night as they each have played their last four games, then the Cats should beat the Tigers by 7, 77-70.

LSU's season ANE of 0.196 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.083 ppp and an average tempo of 71.1 possessions per game. Kentucky's season ANE of 0.201 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.066 ppp at an average tempo of 69.3. The ANE analysis based on these season profiles points to an 3 point LSU win, 75-72 in a game played with 70 possessions.

It is intuitively clear than not all 3-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 LSU. Nate Sestina, Keion Brooks, and Johnny Juzang will come off the bench.

Kentucky controls the opening tip and score on a second chance possession. LSU does the same on its first possession. After LSU eases on top by 2 points, 4-2 and 6-4, the Cats regain the lead, 7-6 on a 3 point play. The Cats lead by 1 at the under 16 media timeout 9-8 and have possession. Each team had 8 possessions in the opening segment. The Cats start the second segment with their 3 rd turnover of the game. LSU has not committed a turnover. LSU responds with its first 3 point basket of the game to match its biggest lead at 2 points. The Cats pull even with a pair of free throws by Immanuel Quickley, and after LSU eases back on top by a point, 12-11, the Cats score 5 straight to lead by a game high 4 points, 16-12 at the under 12 media timeout and the Cats in possession.

In the third segment, LSU used 2-3 shooting from outside the arc to move back on top by 2, 22-20 at the under 12 media timeout and Kentucky in possession. After the timeout, the Cats miss from outside the arc, 6 th miss in seven tries so far. In the 4 th segment, LSU moves on top by a game high 4 points, 26-22. The Cats trim the lead to 2 points, 26-24 at the under 4 media timeout, but LSU will have a pair of free throws after the media timeout.

LSU converts both free throws to regain the 4 point lead. The Cats trim the lead to 2 points, and following a LSU turnover, Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 52 seconds left and the Cats down by 2, 28-26. After the timeout, the Cats make a 3 point basket to regain the lead with 24 seconds left, and LSU takes a timeout. LSU fails to score and the Cats lead at the half by 1 point, 29-28.

The Cats scored 29 points on 34 possessions, 0.853 points per possession, and LSU managed their 28 points on 33 possessions, 0.848 ppp. The Cats made 31.6% of their first half shots, including 2-10 from outside the arc. LSU managed to make 31.3% of their first half shots, including 3-10 from outside the arc.

The Cats committed 6 turnovers in the first half to 8 turnovers by LSU.

The Cats made 3-3 free throws (60.0%) and LSU made 5-6 (83.3%).

On the Boards, LSU controlled the glass with a 25-24 advantage, but Kentucky owned the offensive glass with a 11-10 margin. Each team scored 10 second chance points. The Cats secured 42.3% of their misses and allowed LSU to grab 43.5% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

LSU opens the second half with a basket to move back into the lead. However, the Cats answer with a 3 point basket by Ashton Hagans, a basket and a 3 point play by Tyrese Maxey to give the Cats the biggest lead of the game, 37-30. After the Cats move on top by a game high 8 points, 40-32, LSU scores 5 straight to cut the lead to 3 points. At the under 16 media timeout with 14:50 left in the game, the Cats lead by 3, 42-39 and Immanuel Quickley will be at the line for a pair of free throws after the break. The Cats moved back on top by 8, 50-42, and the Bayou Bengals trimmed the lead to 6, 52-46 at the under 12 media timeout with Ashton Hagans set for a pair of free throws after the media timeout.

In the third segment, the Cats extend their lead to a game high 9 points on a 3 point basket by Nate Sestina and lead by 7, 58-51 when Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 7:40 left in the game. After the Kentucky timeout, the Cats turn the ball over, and the game goes to the under 8 media timeout with 7:16 left. Ashton Hagans was helped off the court with apparent leg cramps as the teams went to their benches. Ashton Hagans did not return due to a knee to his thigh. The Cats trade 1 point from the line for LSU for 3 points from the line by Nick Richards to extend their lead back to 9, 61-52. Then Nate Sestina hits back to back 3 point baskets to extend the Cats' lead to a game high 15 points, 67-52, forcing LSU to take a timeout with 5:13 left in the game.

In the second half, the Cats have made all 7 of their 3 point attempts, and their last 8 attempts extending back to the first half. At the under 4 media timeout, the Cats are in control with a 14 point lead, 71-57. After back to back turnovers against the LSU press, the Bayou Bengals cut the lead to 5, 75-70. After Tyrese Maxey misses 1 of 2 free throws, LSU trims the lead to 4, 78-74 and LSU burns its last timeout with 19 seconds left in the game.

LSU fouls Immanuel Quickley with 11 seconds left, but Immanuel Quickley only makes 1 of his 2 shots.

Cats win by 3, 79-76.


UK scored its 79 points on 67 possessions (1.179 ppp) for the game, and LSU scored its 76 points on 67 possessions (1.134 ppp).

LSU won the battle of the boards 45-33, and LSU controlled the offensive glass 23-13 which produced a 26-12 advantage on second chance points for the Bayou Bengals. LSU had an offensive efficiency of 0.746 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 1.130 ppp for its 23 second chance possessions. UK had 1.000 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 0.923 ppp on its 13 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 37.1%of its misses as offensive rebounds while LSU was able to convert 53.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 12-16 [75.0%]. LSU made 17-24 [70.8%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 29-61 overall [47.5%] and 9-18 from long range [50.0%]. For LSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 19-49 [41.3%] and from long range, LSU hit 7-20 [35.0%].

The Cats committed 12 turnovers, one for every 5.6 possessions. The Cats forced 12 LSU turnovers, one for every 5.6 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Saturday evening against Florida at Rupp in the Cats' twenty seventh regular season game and the 14 th game of the 2020 SEC season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks



Submitted by Richard Cheeks


To Cats Brings A Two Game SEC Lead With Five To Play
When Florida Enters Rupp On Saturday

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To Cats Recover From Dismal First Half To Beat Mississippi by 5

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