EXPLANATION OF DATA AND
Kentucky Returns to Rupp To Sharpen Its Game Against Liberty
Kentucky found its offensive presence during their last game on Tuesday against West Virginia . The goal tonight is to advance the team's growth offensively and maintain the early season defensive effectiveness. That angry growl has subsided since Tuesday's impressive victory over a ranked, and NCAA competitive West Virginia . However, that discontent may only be lurking just below the surface, and another lackadaisical performance against a clearly outmanned team could all that disgruntlement to boil anew.
On the pre-game show this evening, Tubby was clear that not only does he hear the growl of discontent, but that he intends to secure control over what happens on the playing floor. The keys words he used in his discourse were discipline, control and defense. Will the Cats play this game with 85 of fewer possessions, which will confirm Tubby's control, or will the game be played in the stratosphere of 95+ possessions, in which case the players have regained their control over the pace of the game.
Tonight, Kentucky is playing in the mid 80s possession pace for the first half, and the offensive efficiency at half time is a weak 0.857 ppp. Defensively, the cats have also been weaker than expected at 0.711 ppp,
UK has outrebounded Liberty 26 – 16 with a decisive 9-4 advantage on the offensive rebounds. LIBERTY only converted its 4 second chances into 4 second chance points, but the difference in this first half is that UK converted its 9 second chance opportunities into 13 second chance points, for the 9 point halftime advantage.
LIBERTY had an offensive efficiency of 0.677 ppp on its 34 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp for its 4 second chance possessions. UK had a pitiful 0.697 ppp on its 33 first chance possessions and a whopping 1.444 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. Kentucky got ten more rebounds, 26-16 The free throw shooting in the first half was a poor 1 for 5 [20.0%] for Kentucky and 4-7 [57.1%] for LIBERTY. The field goal shooting, was poor for Kentucky from inside the arc, 36.8% [7-19] for Kentucky and for LIBERTY , 7-18 [38.9%]. Outside the arc, Kentucky shot a strong 7-14 [50.0%] while LIBERTYs as a cool 3-11 [27.3%]. The pace of this game was equivalent to about 80 to 85 possessions for the game.
MAGIC NUMBER Tonight: the first team to score its 68 th point will win this game. UK needs 32 more points in the second half to reach this level before LIBERTY cam score 41 points. UK scored its 68 th point first with 6:25 to play, on a Rondo 3, taking the lead to 32 points, and UK moves on to win the game 81-51.
While the defense was good in the first half, the defense in the second half was even better, LIBERTY scored 24 second half points in 43 possessions, and 0.630 ppp for the entire game. However, UK 's offensive efficiency remained very strong for the entire game, e.g. 0.920 for the game. The Cats out rebounded LIBERTY tonight, 48-35, and also held the edge in offensive rebounding, 17-10..
The second chance possessions were more productive for Kentucky tonight, but unlike the trend in most games, Liberty 's second chance possessions were slightly less efficient than their first chance possessions. Kentucky had 72 first chance possessions in which they scored 57 points, 0.792 ppp while they scored 24 points on their 17 second chance possessions, 1.412 ppp. LIBERTY had 71 first chance possessions on which they scored only 45 points, 0.630 ppp while they scored 6 second chance points on their 10 second chance possessions, 0.600 ppp.
The Cats' efficiency offensive performance tonight was marked by a significant reduction in the turnovers and turnover rate. Tonight UK shot the ball about like they have thus far this season, 43.5% field goal shooting, but only 55.6;% 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 7.0 possessions while forcing a turnover in every 4.8 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 LIBERTY by 79-53, and the final score was 81-51. The predicted v. actual offensive efficiencies were 0.912 and 0.920 ppp respectively, and the predicted v. actual defensive efficiencies were 0.654 and 0.630 ppp respectively.
Next Tuesday night, the Cats will play Highpoint in another tuneup game. I predict that UK will defeat Highpoint 78 – 61.
Copyright 2005 Richard Cheeks