EXPLANATION OF DATA AND
Kentucky Slows Down Game Pace
Following the first UK loss o f the season less than 24 hours ago at the hands of Iowa, the chatter surrounding the UK basketball fandom grew to an angry growl. Tubby must have his ear to the ground. The Professor has no doubt that Tubby hears the rumble, the roar of discontent that began to spread last night to that particular camp of the Big Blue Nation that has steadfastly defended Tubby against his detractors.
However, what message is Tubby hearing, and what answers will he provide. Tonight, we are getting a glimpse, an eyeful, of Tubby philosophy playing out live before our eyes. After a lackluster offensive performance against S. Dakota St. with a race horse pace, Tubby reacted by pulling in the reins for Lipscomb, and Kentuky slowed down to about 70 total possessions while improving their offensive efficiency. However, last night against Iowa, they played the game in the upper 80s possessions, and again the UK offensive efficiency took a sudden trip south.
Tonight, Kentucky is playing in the mid 60s possession pace for the first half, and the offensive efficiency at half time is the highest of the year, 1.031 ppp. Defensively, the cats have also asserted itself against a potent Mountaineer offense, holding them to 0.765 ppp, a very distinguishing performance against any NCAA tournament quality opponent.
All is not perfect for the game in the first half, as UK was outrebounded again 16-15, but a decisive 7-4 deficit of offensive rebounds. Fortunately, WVU only converted its 7 second chances into 2 second chance points, which UK matched with its 4 second chance possessions in the half.
WVU had an offensive efficiency of 0.889 ppp on its 27 first chance possessions but only 0.286 ppp for its 7 second chance possessions. UK had 1.107 ppp on its 28 first chance possessions and 0.500 ppp on its 4 second chance possessions. Kentucky got one fewer rebound, 16-15 The free throw shooting in the first half was a a poor 1 for 3 [33.3%] for Kentucky and 3-5 [60.0%] for WVU. The field goal shooting, was outstanding, 58.3% [7-12] for Kentucky and for WVU, 8-9 [87.5%] inside the arc Outside the arc, Kentucky shot a strong 6-13 [46.2%] while WVUs as a cool 3-19 [15.8%]. The pace of this game was about slow for these teams, on a pace of 65 to 70 possessions for the game.
MAGIC NUMBER Tonight: the first team to score its 63 rd point will win this game. UK needs 30 more points in the second half to reach this level before WVU cam score 37 points. UK scored its 63 th point first with 5:40 to play, leading by 8, and UK moves on to win the game 80-66.
While the defense was excellent in the first half, the defense in the second half was not nearly as effective, WVU scored 40 second half points in 39 possessions, for 1.025 ppp for the second half, and 0.904 ppp for the entire game. However, UK 's offensive efficiency was remained very strong for the entire game, e.g. 1.031 in the first half, and 1.175 ppp in the second half, providing a season high, and an outstanding 1.111 ppp for the game. The Cats out rebounded WVU tonight, 34-32, but WVU held the edge in offensive rebounding, 11-9.
The second chance possessions were more productive for both teams tonight. Kentucky had 64 first chance possessions in which they scored 70 points, 1.094 ppp while they scored 10 points on their 9 second chance possessions, 1.111 ppp. WVU had 63 first chance possessions on which they scored only 55 points, 0.889 ppp while they scored 10 second chance points on their 11 second chance possessions, 0.909 ppp.
The Cats' efficiency offensive performance tonight was marked by a significant reduction in the turnovers and turnover rate. Tonight UK shot the ball extremely well, 54.5% field goal shooting, but only 57% free throw shooting. As we have discussed at great length, recent UK teams have not shot free throws with a high percentage, and tonight's game did nothing to alleviate that concern. Kentucky committed one turnover for every 6.63 possessions while forcing a turnover in every 7.40 possessions. Last year, in comparison, these turnover rates were 6.2 and 4.6 respectively for the season.
The concerns remain free throw shooting, shooting, and rebounding, and while tonight's rebounding edge went Kentucky 's way, when your point guard collects a team high 10 rebounds.
I predicted a Kentucky victory over WVU by 67-66, and the final score was 80- 66. The predicted v. actual offensive efficiencies were 0.829 and 1.111 ppp respectively, and the predicted v. actual defensive efficiencies were 0.862 and 0.904 ppp respectively.
This Friday night, the Cats will return to Rupp to for another tuneup game against Liberty . I predict that UK will defeat West Virginia 80-56 as shown below.
Copyright 2005 Richard Cheeks