Monday, March 2, 2020

Cats Update

According to Ken Pomeroy, there have been seven games this season where no player from UK was the MVP of the game.  It happened in all five of UK's losses (Evansville, Utah, Ohio State, South Carolina, and Auburn (away).  It also happened in wins over Vanderbilt (home) and UAB.  Here are the MVP's of the other 22 games so far:

Nick Richards (7): E. Kentucky, Utah Valley, Arkansas, Texas Tech, Mississippi St., Tennessee, Mississippi
Immanuel Quickley (6):  Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana St., Florida, Texas A&M, Auburn (home)
Tyrese Maxey (5):  Michigan St., Lamar, Louisville, Georgia (away), Vanderbilt (away)
Ashton Hagans (3):  Mount St. Mary's, Georgia Tech, Georgia (home)
E.J. Montgomery (1):  Fairleigh Dickinson

It should be noted that Quickley has been the MVP in each of the last four games.  He is now shooting 42.0 percent (58-138) from 3-point range, and 92.2 percent from the line.  He has also been SEC Player of the Week in each of the last two weeks.  Against Auburn on Saturday he had 12 defensive rebounds, which is incredible for a guard.

Nate Sestina is 21-52 from three-point range, for 40.4 percent.  But if anyone else shoots a three, the Cats are probably in trouble:

Tyrese Maxey:  30-106 (28.3 percent)
Ashton Hagans:  16-60 (26.7 percent)
Johnny Juzang:  10-37 (27.0 percent)

Fortunately, UK is number 348 in three-point shots as a percentage of all field goals.  In other words, they know enough not to shoot themselves out of games by taking too many three's.  On Saturday, Auburn opened by making four straight three's.  Then the Tigers went 5-30 the rest of the way from three-point range.  Meanwhile, the Cats were terrible from three-point range -- 2-13.  But they only took 13 three's, compared to 34 for Auburn.  And UK went 20-39 from two-point range, and 27-33 from the line.  They are a smart team.

The Cats are now shooting 79.5 percent from the foul line, good for third in the nation.

Statistically, this team still isn't very good -- Ken Pom ranks them number 26th in the country.  But they are 24-5, they have already won the SEC regular season title, and the AP has them number 6 overall.  It's very difficult to predict how these guys will do, other than to say that they will play close games.

1 comment:

  1. Cats now have an all-time record of 8-2 on February 29. Here is a list of those games (home teams listed first):

    02/29/1916: Kentucky 38 - 14 Centre
    02/29/1924: N. Carolina 40 - 21 Kentucky (Southern Conference Tournament, Atlanta)
    02/29/1936: Tennessee 39 - 28 Kentucky (SEC Tournament, Knoxville, Tenn.)
    02/29/1940: Kentucky 44 - 34 Vanderbilt (SEC Tournament, Knoxville, Tenn.)
    02/29/1952: (1) Kentucky 85 - 61 Tulane (SEC Tournament, Louisville, Ky.)
    02/29/1964: Tennessee 38 - 42 (2) Kentucky
    02/29/1980: (2) Kentucky 70 - 67 Mississippi (SEC Tournament, Birmingham, Ala.)
    02/29/2000: Mississippi St. 61 - 73 Kentucky
    02/29/2004: Louisiana St. 64 - 70 (9) Kentucky
    02/29/2020: (8) Kentucky 73 - 66 (15) Auburn