2019-20 Season Analytical Writings

SEC Champs Have Two Final Games To Prepare for Post Season Run

For the 50 th time, the Kentucky Wildcats have won the SEC regular season championship, and this time they secured the title with a 3 game lead over the nearest competitor with two games remaining on the schedule, an impressive accomplishment for any team, any season in any major conference. The Cats will celebrate Senior Night on Tuesday when Tennessee comes into Rupp for the final home game of the 2019-20 season, and next Saturday the Cats will close the season at Florida.

Then the post season begins with the annual SEC Tournament in Nashville and the Cats will be the #1 seed, playing on Friday at noon against the winner of Thursday afternoons game between the SEC's 8 th and 9 th place finishers.

The Cats will be facing Tennessee for the second time this season, having beaten the Volunteers on February 8 by 13 points, 77-64. That win was the second win in the Cats' current 8 game winning streak. The Volunteers on the other hand have split their 6 games since sustaining the home loss to the Cats.

TENNESSEE brings its 16-13, 8-8 record into the Tuesday night's encounter with the Cats. TENNESSEE's average ANE over the last six games since they faced the Cats in Knoxville has been 0.16 ppp. In contrast, the Cats' average ANE since the TENNESSEE win in Knoxville has been 0.23 ppp.

Kentucky its SEC Championship and a record of 24-5, 14-2 and an eight game winning streak into this game. This winning streak includes the following sequence of wins over:

•  #49 Mississippi State by 8 (0.22 ppp Game ANE),

•  #58 Tennessee by 13 (0.41 ppp Game ANE),

•  #166 Vanderbilt by 14 (0.28 ppp Game ANE),

•  #95 Mississippi by 5 (0.12 ppp Game ANE),

•  #36 LSU by 3 (0.29 ppp Game ANE),

•  #34 Florida by 6 (0.23 ppp Game ANE),

•  #154 Texas A&M by 9 (0.25 ppp Game ANE), and

•  #35 Auburn by 7 (0.23 ppp Game ANE)

Over the course of this winning streak, the Cats have posted an average ANE of 0.25 ppp. TENNESSEE's season ANE of 0.149 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.099 ppp and an average tempo of 66.5 possessions per game. Kentucky's season ANE of 0.211 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.081 ppp at an average tempo of 68.8. The ANE analysis based on these season profiles points to an 8 point Kentucky win, 72-64 in a game played with 68 possessions.

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:

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

Tennessee controls the opening tip and the Volunteers fail to score. The Cats convert on their first possession to ease into the early lead, 2-0. After Tennessee cannot shoot before the shot clock expires, the Cats move on top by 5 after a 3 point play by Tyrese Maxey. After the Cats lead by 5 again, 7-2, the Volunteers score 7 in a row to take its first lead, 9-7. Tyrese Maxey ties the score, and Immanuel Quickley is fouled at the under 16 media timeout with 14:25 left and the score tied 9-9. In the second segment, the Cats moved back on top by 5, 14-9 before Tennessee trimmed the lead to 3 points at the under 12 media timeout.

Johnny Juzang lifts the Cats to a game high 6 point lead with the Cats' first 3 point basket of the game. Then the Cats' block a Tennessee shot, and Tyrese Maxey drains another 3 point basket to extend the lead to 9 points, and on the shot, Tennessee committed a foul, giving the ball back to the Cats. Keion Brooks gets a second chance basket to extend the lead to a game high 11 points, 22-11. Nick Richards makes a baseline jump shot to extend the lead to 13, 24-11. Tennessee responds with back to back 3 point baskets to trim the 13 point lead to 7 points, and Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 8:05 left in the first half.

After the timeout, the Volunteers trim the lead to 5, 24-19. The Cats respond with a 7-3 run to move on top by 9, 31-22. When Johnny Juzang makes his second 3 point basket of the game, the Cats lead by 12 points, and Tennessee takes a timeout. Tennessee trims the lead to 10, 34-24 at the under 4 media timeout with 3:26 left in the first half.

Cats close the first half with an 11 point lead, 42-31.

The Cats scored 42 points on 31 possessions, 1.355 points per possession, and TENNESSEE managed their 31 points on 29 possessions, 1.069 ppp. The Cats made 55.2% of their first half shots, including 4-5 from outside the arc. TENNESSEE managed to make 56.5% of their first half shots, including 4-10 from outside the arc.

The Cats committed 5 turnovers in the first half to 8 turnovers by TENNESSEE.

The Cats made 6-7 free throws (85.7%) and TENNESSEE made 1-2 (50.0%).

On the Boards, Kentucky controlled the glass with a 14-8 advantage, and Kentucky controlled the offensive glass with a 5-2 margin which produced a 7-0 advantage for the Cats on second chance points. The Cats secured 45.5% of their misses and allowed TENNESSEE to grab 18.2% of their misses as second chance opportunities.

Second Half:

Kentucky opens the second half with a charging foul on Ashton Hagans, his 3 rd foul of the game. A layup by Tyrese Maxey, free throws by Immanuel Quickley and Nick Richards lifts the Cats to a game high 17 point lead, 48-31. The teams trade 3 point plays and Tennessee closes the scoring in the opening segment with a second chance 3 point basket to trim the lead to 14, 51-37 with 16:15 left in the game. After the timeout, Tennessee trims the lead to 8 points, 51-43 with a 9 point run, and Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 13:57 left in the game. Ashton Hagans extends the lead back to 10 points from the line but Tennessee trims the lead to only 7 points with another 3 point basket, their 6 th of the game. After the Cats move back on top by 9, 58-49, Tyrese Maxey fouls a 3 point shooter to take the game to the under 12 media timeout with 11:40 left in the game. Tennessee will have 3 free throws after the break.

Tennessee makes 2 of the 3 free throws. A pair of Tennessee free throws trims the lead to only 5 points, 58-53 with 9:23 left in the game. After Nick Richards eases the lead back to 7, 60-53, Tennessee scores back to back baskets, and on the second basket, the shooter is fouled, taking the game to the under 8 media timeout with 7:27 left in the game and Tennessee set for a free throw to complete a 3 point play and potentially cut the one time 17 point Kentucky lead to only 2 points.

The Volunteers make the free throw, the Cats fail to score, and the Volunteers move into the lead with their 7 th 3 point basket of the game, 61-60 with 6:16 left in the game. After a Kentucky turnover, the Volunteers move on top by 3, 63-60. Coach Calipari takes a timeout with 6:05 left in the game. After the timeout, the Cats stop the Tennessee run, at least for the moment with a basket, and then pull even with 1 of 2 from the free throw line. However, Tennessee moves back on top by 3 with their 8 th 3 point basket of the game. The Volunteers lead the Cats by 3 at the under 4 media timeout, 68-65 with 3:38 left in the game and the Cats in possession of the ball.

After Nick Richards trims the Tennessee lead to 2 with 1 of 2 from the line, the Cats fail to score on a possession that could have tied the score or given the Cats a lead, and Tennessee takes a timeout. After the timeout, Tennessee scores to go up by 4, and after another Ashton Hagans turnover, Tennessee moves on top by 6, 72-66. The Cats trim the lead to 4 points twice, 72-68, and 74-70. Coach Calipari burns a timeout with 51 seconds left. Tyrese Maxey fouls with 50 seconds left, and Tennessee makes 1 of 2 from the line to ease on top by 5, 75-70. The Cats turn the ball over again, and Tennessee extends its lead to 7 from the line, 77-70. The Cats essentially turn the ball over again with a 30 foot 3 point attempt that sailed out of bounds without hitting iron, and Tennessee extends their lead to 9, 79-70.

Cats fall at home for the second time this season by 8, 81-73.


UK scored its 73 points on 68 possessions (1.074 ppp) for the game, and TENNESSEE scored its 81 points on 65 possessions (1.246 ppp).

TENNESSEE won the battle on the boards 31-26 and won the battle on the offensive glass 11-10. However, Kentucky had an 11-9 advantage on second chance points. TENNESSEE had an offensive efficiency of 1.108 ppp on its 65 first chance possessions and 0.818 ppp for its 11 second chance possessions. UK had 0.912 ppp on its 68 first chance possessions and 1.100 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 33.3%of its misses as offensive rebounds while TENNESSEE was able to convert 40.7% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 17-20 [85.0%]. TENNESSEE made 17-21 [81.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 25-56 overall [44.6%] and 6-13 from long range [46.2%]. For TENNESSEE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 20-35 [57.1%] and from long range, TENNESSEE hit 8-18 [44.4%].

The Cats committed 14 turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions. The Cats forced 15 TENNESSEE turnovers, one for every 4.3 possessions.

Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon at Florida in the Cats' thirty first and final regular season game, the 18 th game of the 2020 SEC season, and the final game of this season.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks



Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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