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Kentucky Gets Last Opportunity to
Refine Game Before Hosting
Defending National Champion
North Carolina on Saturday
By
TheProfessor

In the first half tonight, Kentucky did not take advantage of its last opportunity to find its identity before entertaining the defending national champions, UNC, in Rupp this Saturday. This tune up is against Tubby Smith's Alma Mater, High Point , another North Carolina school on the schedule. However, the numbers say that there is a world of difference between High Point and UNC.

Tonight, Kentucky is playing in the mid 80s possession pace for the first half, and the offensive efficiency at half time is a weak 0.850 ppp. Defensively, the cats have also been weaker than expected at 0.750ppp,

UK has been outrebounded by High Point in the first half, 19-21 with each team grabbing 5 offensive rebounds and each team having 6 second chance points to show for their effort in the struggle to the first half buzzer and a 34-30 Kentucky lead..

HIGH POINT had an offensive efficiency of 0.686 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and 1.200 ppp for its 5 second chance possessions. UK had a pitiful 0.778 ppp on its 35 first chance possessions and a whopping 1.200 ppp on its 5 second chance possessions.

The free throw shooting in the first half was a poor 1 for 3 [33.3%] for Kentucky and 4-7 [57.1%] for High Point . The field goal shooting, was better tonight for Kentucky from inside the arc, 50.0% [12-24] for Kentucky and for HIGH POINT, 13-25 [52.0%]. Outside the arc, Kentucky shot a weak 3-10 [30.0%] while HIGH POINTs was frigid, 0-5 [0%]. The pace of this game was equivalent to about 80 possessions for the game.

MAGIC NUMBER Tonight: the first team to score its 67 th point will win this game. UK needs 33 more points in the second half to reach this level before HIGH POINT cam score 37 points. UK scored its 67 th point first with 4:28 to play, on a Sparks fast break lay up, taking the lead to 24 points, and UK moves on to win the game 81-51.

In the first game segment of the second half, UK used aggressive offensive rebounding to outscore High Point 9-3 and extend the lead to 10 pts. While the defense was soft in the first half, the defense in the second half was quite good, holding HIGH POINT scored 25 second half points in 48 possessions, and 0.625 ppp for the entire game. Just as UK 's defense improved in the second half, so did their offense, scoring 41 points on their 42 second half possessions, ending the game with an offensive efficiency of 0.915 ppp. The Cats out rebounded HIGH POINT tonight, 43-35 even though the two teams battled evenly on the offensive boards, 13-13

The second chance possessions were less productive for Kentucky tonight for the first time this young season, but High Point 's second chance possessions were considerably better than its first chance possessions. Kentucky had 71 first chance possessions in which they scored 65 points, 0.916 ppp while they scored 10 points on their 13 second chance possessions, 0.769 ppp. HIGH POINT had 75 first chance possessions on which they scored only 40 points, 0.533 ppp while they scored 15 second chance points on their 13 second chance possessions, 1.154 ppp.

Tonight UK shot the ball better than they have thus far this season, 49.2% field goal shooting, but only 57.1;% 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 6.0 possessions while forcing a turnover in every 5.2 possessions. Last year, in comparison, these turnover rates were 6.2 and 4.6 respectively for the season.

The concerns remain free throw shooting, and tonight the team showed positive signs with its shooting, and rebounding, and Obrzut and Carter played significant minutes and contributed to the team with rebounding and scoring..

I predicted a Kentucky victory over HIGH POINT by 79-61, and the final score was 75-55. The predicted v. actual offensive efficiencies were 0.937 and 0.915 ppp respectively, and the predicted v. actual defensive efficiencies were 0.656 and 0.625 ppp respectively.

Next Saturday afternoon, the Cats will host defending national champion UNC at Rupp Arena in a nationally televised game.  I predict that UK will defeat UNC this year by 4 points, 73 - 69.

73
69
Kentucky
UNC
Points
73
69
FGM
26
26
FGA
43.1%
60
60
44.3%
3PTM
12
2
3PTA
54.3%
21
18
12.3%
FTM
9
14
FTA
61.4%
16
22
62.6%
TO
5.00
17
17
5.19
REB
35
38
Possessions
85
87
PPP
0.852
0.787
1.08

 

 

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Copyright 2005 Richard Cheeks
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