EXPLANATION OF DATA AND
Kentucky Takes Its Last Test Drive Against Georgetown College
Kentucky closed out its traditional pair of pre-season exhibition games tonight against local Georgetown College Tigers, a proud, tradition filled college basketball program in its own right. Coach Smith played musical chairs to select a starting lineup with such stallwart starters as Rondo and Sparks riding the bench. Rekalin Sims did get the nod, and he responded in grand form, turning in an impressive double double with 22 points and 12 rebounds in leading these Wildcats to victory, 85-63.
This game saw the Wildcats operate an an offensive efficiency of 0.977 points per possession, a definite improvement from the 0.889 ppp against Northern State last week. On defense, the Wildcats held Georgetown College to only 0.685 ppp, while strong, not quite as strong as last week's defensive effort against Northern State. The Net Game Efficiency for the game was an impressive 0.292 ppp.
The Wildcats shot the ball much better tonight than they did a week ago, both at long range and from the charity line. However, not all was well with the performance tonight. First, UK committed 24 turnovers while only forcing 19 Georgetown turnovers. In addition, UK lost the battle of the offensive boards to Georgetown College, 10 - 16, allowing Georgetown 6 bonus possessions for the game.
For the two exhibition games combined, Kentucky averaged 88 possessions while last year they averaged 90 possessions for the two exhibitions. UK posted an average offensive efficiency of 0.933 ppp this season, compared to 0.945 last year. Defensively, this season is 0.642 ppp compated to 0.719 ppp last year. Slightly slower pace this year, slightly better defense, and slightly less efficiency offense this year.
Based on this analysis, the pace of this Kentucky team will not be significantly faster than recent Kentucky teams, probably averaging about 80 possessions per game this season. The promise, indeed dream, of faster pace appears to be withering on the vine again this year.
Last year in the pre-season game, I observed that the 2 offensive rebounding advantage that UK earned was lower than previous exhibition seasons, and did not bode well for UK's rebounding ability. This season there was no offensive rebounding advantage for UK. Rebounding will probably continue to haunt this edition of the UK Wildcats.
The Net Game Efficiency was 0.289 ppp, which is also a strong performance. Prior to tonight, the best year in this category for the exhibition games was 1996 when UK averaged 0.280 ppp Net Game Efficiency. This season, the team bettered this prior high water mark with an average Net Game Efficiency of 0.288 ppp. This is a significant achievement for any team, and bodes well for the upcoming season.
So, some good news, some bad news. This season's exhibition games were a mixed bag. On Sunday, UK will open its season at Rupp Arena against South Dakota State University. Since neither team has played a game against D1 competition this season, the only basis for comparison is last season, and these two exhibition games.
Copyright 2005 Richard Cheeks