Thursday, November 28, 2013

Kentucky 81 - 63 E. Michigan (No. 2,117)

I love the score by quarters.  Here was what this game looked like in 10-minute increments:

1st:  Kentucky 16, E. Michigan 15
2d:  Kentucky 19, E. Michigan 17 (UK led 35-32 at the half)
3d:  Kentucky 21, E. Michigan 14 (UK led 56-46 with 10 minutes to go)
4th:  Kentucky 25, E. Michigan 17 (UK wins 81-63)

This was the fifth game in a row where UK's offense peaked in the last 10 minutes of the game.

Ken Pomeroy was not too impressed with this result, as he dropped the Cats to from number 7 to number 8 in his overall rankings.  He gives the Cats a 70 percent chance to beat Providence on Sunday, and a 60 percent chance to beat Baylor next Friday (Dec. 6).  That sounds pretty good, but it means there is a 58 percent chance UK loses one of its next two games.

Although Kentucky has only played seven games, and only one game against a team from a major conference, the Cats' statistics present a very vivid picture of the team's personality.  Here's what the Cats are good at:

They lead the nation in offensive rebound percentage.
They are fourth in the nation in free throw attempts per field goal attempts.
They are seventh in the nation in defensive 2-point shooting percentage.
They are 16th in the nation in defensive percentage of shots blocked.

Here's what Kentucky is not good at:

They are 285th in the country in three-point shooting percentage (28.9 percent).
They are 235th in the country in free-throw shooting percentage (67.4 percent).
They are 216th in the country in assists per field goals.
They are 300th in the country in defensive steal percentage.
They are 255th in the country in defensive turnover percentage.

Now it's not surprising to see Kentucky ranked low in steals and turnovers, because Cal wants them to play a tough man-to-man defense without gambling.  In 2012, for example, UK was 204th in steals, and 301st in defensive turnovers -- but first in blocks and first in defensive 2-point shooting percentage.  Given that this team lacks an Anthony Davis, it's unlikely that their defense will ever be as good as the 2012 team -- but if they are off to a decent start, and can get better with more focus and effort.

The poor shooting, however, is likely to plague them all year -- especially as more opponents realize that the Cats aren't good shooters and pack everyone in around the basket.  On the other hand, UK can make up for this if they continue grabbing huge numbers of offensive rebounds and taking lots of free throws.  Even though the Cats don't make a high percentage of free throws, they get over 30 percent of their points from the line because they take so many.  Only 12 other teams get a higher percentage of points from the charity stripe.

In short, we have a team that looks very much what you would expect:  lots of height and athleticism, but a shortage of basketball skill when it comes to things like assists and shooting.  Putting it altogether, I think we are in for a lot of tough, grind-it-out sorts of games.  This means that the Cats' record will be heavily influenced by how much work and effort they put into each game -- and whether they can play hard for all forty minutes, instead of coming out flat.

No comments:

Post a Comment