2019-20 Season Analytical Writings

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

On Tuesday night, the Cats beat the Bayou Bengals in Baton Rouge, and on Wednesday Auburn fell at Georgia. These midweek SEC results propelled the Cats into a commanding 2 game lead over Florida, LSU, and Auburn for the SEC regular season championship with five games left on the schedule. Over these last five games, the Cats will play 3 times against this second place trio: Florida home and away, and Auburn at Rupp.

Florida also plays three games against the leaders, hosting LSU next Wednesday in addition to their home and away games against the Cats. LSU only plays at Florida, and Auburn only plays at Kentucky. Kentucky of course holds its own fate in its hands, and of the other three, only Florida has that distinction. If the Cats beat the Gators on Saturday, Florida will no longer have the ability to win the SEC without a Kentucky collapse.

FLORIDA brings its 17-9, 9-4 record into the Saturday evening encounter with the Cats. However, after a 12-8, 4-3 start, FLORIDA has won five of its last six games. The Gators beat #146 Vanderbilt by 6 (0.18 ppp Game ANE), beat #96 Georgia by 6 (0.14 ppp Game ANE), lost to #91 Mississippi by 17 (-0.09 ppp Game ANE), beat #161 Texas A&M Vanderbilt by 9 (0.38 ppp Game ANE), beat #146 Vanderbilt again by 18 (0.24 ppp Game ANE), and beat #41 Arkansas by 14 (0.35 ppp Game ANE). FLORIDA has posted an average ANE over these last 6 games of 0.20 ppp.

Kentucky brings a five-game winning streak into this game. After losing at #36 Auburn, the Cats have beaten #45 Mississippi State by 8 (0.22 ppp Game ANE), #54 Tennessee by 13 (0.41 ppp Game ANE), #146 Vanderbilt by 14 (0.29 ppp Game ANE), #91 Mississippi by 5 (0.12 ppp Game ANE), and #35 LSU by 3 (0.29 ppp Game ANE), which is an average ANE of 0.27 ppp over these last 5 games.

FLORIDA's season ANE of 0.195 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.104 ppp and an average tempo of 67.2 possessions per game. Kentucky's season ANE of 0.204 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.072 ppp at an average tempo of 69.2. The ANE analysis based on these season profiles points to 5 point Kentucky win, 72-67 in a game played with 68 possessions. If the teams play on Tuesday night as they each have played their last 5 or 6 games, then the Cats should beat the Gators by 9 or more.

It is intuitively clear than not all 5-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:

On Friday, Coach Calipari said that Ashton Hagans and Nick Richards are day to day due to injuries sustained in the LSU game earlier this week. If either or both of them are unable to go against the Gators, an already short bench drops from the current 8 player rotation to a 6 or 7 player rotation. Larry Vaught reports, “Calipari joked that if both his point guard and center can't play, he might have to go to walk-on Ben Jordan, a pitcher on the UK baseball team.” Nevertheless, during the pre-game warmups, both Nick Richards and Ashton Hagans participated but during his pregame interview, Coach Calipari indicated that Nick Richards would play but Ashton Hagans's status is doubtful.

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

Kentucky controls the opening tip and fails to score. After Florida goes on top 2-0, the Cats go on an 8-0 run for a game high 6 point lead, 8-2. Florida cuts the lead to 3, 8-5, with a 3 point basket and the Cats take an early lead to the under 16 media timeout. During the timeout, Coach Calipari inserts Ashton Hagans into the game. After the timeout, the Cats fail to get a good shot before the shot clock expired, and Florida ties the game with a 3 point play by Blackshear. However, the Cats score the next 6 points aided by a pair of Gators turnovers to go back on top by 6, 14-8. The Gator charge back with their second 3 point basket and a jump shot just inside the 3 point arc to cut the Kentucky lead to 1, 14-13, at the under 12 media timeout with 10:22 left in the first half.

In the 3 rd segment, the Gators pull even with 1 of 2 from the free throw line. After ties at 14 and 16, the Cats ease on top by 3 with a 3 point play by Nick Richards. The Cats lead by 3, 21-18, at the under 8 media timeout. In the 4 th segment, the Gators pull within 1 point from the free throw line, and regain a 2 point lead with their 3 rd 3 point basket of the game, 23-21. A second chance 3 point play by Tyrese Maxey puts the Cats back on top by a point. The Cats lead by 1, 26-25, at the under 4 media timeout with 2:31 left in the first half and the Gators in possession.

In the final segment, the Gators move back on top by 2 points with their 4 th 3 point basket of the game. After the Cats move on top by 3 with the Cats' first 3 point basket of the game, the Gators tie the game 31-31 with its 5 th 3 point basket of the first half at the buzzer.

The Cats scored 31 points on 30 possessions, 1.033 points per possession, and FLORIDA managed their 31 points on 30 possessions, 1.033 ppp. The Cats made 46.4% of their first half shots, including 1-4 from outside the arc. FLORIDA managed to make 45.8% of their first half shots, including 5-14 from outside the arc.

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

The Cats made 4-4 free throws (100.0%) and FLORIDA made 4-7 (57.1%).

On the Boards, FLORIDA controlled the glass with a 16-13 advantage, and Florida controlled the offensive glass with a 4-3 margin. The Gators have a 6-5 point advantage on second chance points. The Cats secured 20.0% of their misses and allowed FLORIDA to grab 28.6% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

FLORIDA opens the second half with a basket to ease back on top by 2. After the Cats respond with a tieing basket, the Gators go on a 7 point run to a game high 7 point lead, 40-33. The Cats stop the Gators run with a 3 point play by Immanuel Quickley, and trim the Gators lead to 2, 40-38 following a Florida missed shot. The Cats tie the score, 40-40 at the under 16 media timeout, and Immanuel Quickley will have a free throw to complete a 3 point play after the timeout with 15:24 left in the game. Immanuel Quickley completes the 3 point play as the Cats ease back on top by 1 point after trailing by 7. The Gators move back on top by 3, 44-41, but the Cats score the next 9 points to lead by 6, 50-44 with 11:13 left in the game on three consecutive 3 point baskets by Immanuel Quickley, and Immanuel Quickley has scored the Cats' last 12 points. Florida takes a timeout with 11:13 left.

In the 3 rd segment, the Cats move on top by a game high 8 points when Nick Richards gets a put back slam dunk, 52-44. Since trailing 44-41, the Cats have scored the last 11 points, and the Gators stop the run to trim the lead to 6 with a pair of free throws. At the under 8 media timeout, the Cats maintain the 6 point lead, 52-46, and the Gators have possession. In the 4 th segment, Florida trims the lead to 3 points with their 6 th 3 point basket of the game. Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 6:54 to play. And the Cats respond to the timeout with back to back baskets and a 7 point lead, 56-49 at the under 4 media timeout with 3:58 left in the game.

Blackshear will be at the line for a pair of free throws after the media timeout, and he converts both to trim the lead to 5, 56-51. The Cats ease back on top by 7 following a steal by Ashton Hagans and a layup by Tyrese Maxey, and Florida takes a timeout with 2:18 left in the game. The Cats move on top by 8 with another 3 point basket by Immanuel Quickley. After Florida trims the lead to 6, 61-55, Coach Calipari takes a timeout following an offensive rebound by Nick Richards with 47 seconds left. The Gators trim the lead to 4 points, 61-57 with 33 seconds left and Florida burns its last timeout. The Cats commit 4 turnovers that allow Florida to trim the lead to 2 points, 61-59, and when the Cats could not get the ball in bounds, they had to burn their last timeout of the game with 15.9 seconds left. Florida fouls Tyrese Maxey with 12 seconds left, and Tyrese Maxey makes both to extend the lead to 4 points, 63-59.

Cats win by 6, 65-59.


UK scored its 65 points on 63 possessions (1.032 ppp) for the game, and FLORIDA scored its 59 points on 63 possessions (0.937 ppp).

FLORIDA won the battle of the boards 30-27, and FLORIDA controlled the offensive glass 9-6 which produced a 12-7 advantage on second chance points for the Gators. FLORIDA had an offensive efficiency of 0.746 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 1.333 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.921 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 1.167 ppp on its 6 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 22.2%of its misses as offensive rebounds while FLORIDA was able to convert 30.0% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 10-10 [100.0%]. FLORIDA made 9-14 [64.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 25-43 overall [47.2%] and 5-15 from long range [33.3%]. For FLORIDA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 16-28 [57.1%] and from long range, FLORIDA hit 6-23 [26.1%].

The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 4.8 possessions. The Cats forced 16 FLORIDA turnovers, one for every 3.9 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday night at Texas A&M in the Cats' twenty eighth regular season game and the 15 th game of the 2020 SEC season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks



Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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