Cats’ Finish the First Five Games in Lackluster Fashion
 And That May Indicate Rough Road Ahead

Shai Alexander (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS

It is now official. This is the poorest start by a Calipari coached UK team. All of the Calipari teams have won at least 4 of the first five games, and five of his teams finished the first five games without a blemish. Yes, this team has won four of its five starts. Yes, the overall strength of the opponents this season has been the second toughest of the Calipari Era, with the 2010-11 Cats having to face a slightly more difficult array of opponents than this team has faced.

However, this team’s adjusted net efficiency (ANE) after five games is the lowest of the Calipari Era, and the next lowest (2009-10) is significantly higher.

I will leave the explanation for the lackluster start to the basketball minds among us. It matters little to me if the reason is youth, selfish play, or some other exemplary explanation. All I need to understand is this team is not playing basketball at the high level the Big Blue Nation has grown accustomed, and expects. Coach Calipari has been warning anyone who cares to listen that this would be the case for weeks, indeed months, and now it is clear that if this team does not correct the various issues that are impeding its progress soon, it will lose many games.

Of course, there is time to fix this, but frankly, the clock is running.

On Monday, the Cats reverse the usual script. Kansas and ETSU each outscored the Cats by 10 points in the first 5 to 8 minutes before the Cats corrected course and played better basketball. On Monday, the Cats fiddled through the first half, used the first 10 minutes of the second half to build a 21 point lead, 63-42, with 9:51 remaining, forcing Troy to take a timeout. Over the last 9:51, Troy outscored the Cats 20-8 to close the margin to 8 points at the end of the game. Kentucky’s game over that 9:51 was marked by poor shooting and a rash of turnovers.

On Wednesday night, the Cats will entertain Fort Wayne at Rupp Arena in the sixth game of this season. Fort Wayne will enter the game as the #152 rated team at Pomeroy. Two years ago, Fort Wayne finished 24-10, and competed in the post season. Last season, the Mastodons finished 20-13 with a post season appearance. This season, Fort Wayne has started their season 3-1 with wins over #348 Delaware State by 14 and at #168 Illinois Chicago by 16. The Mastodons lost at #108 Oakland in their season opener. The third win came at the expense of non D1 Defiance by 55 points.

The Adjusted Net Efficiency (ANE) analysis for this match up, based on early season experience for each team, indicates a 22 point Kentucky win over Fort Wayne in a game played at 78 possessions, 89-67. Pomeroy sees this game with Kentucky having a 20-point advantage, 85-65 played at a pace of 73 possessions.

See how other UK fans handicap this game at 247Sports, The Cats Pause message board at:

http://bigbluefans4uk.com/2017-18DataandWritings/247_PREDICTIONS/06_Predictions.png

You can participate in the score prediction contest at 247Sports at the following link:

https://kentucky.247sports.com/Board/296/Contents/Fort-Wayne-Prediction-Thread-110830104#M110838073

2 comments

  1. Analysis:

    UK scored its 86 points on 71 possessions (1.211 ppp) for the game, and FORT WAYNE scored its 67 points on 70 possessions (0.957 ppp).

    Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 44-21, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 12-7. Kentucky used its 12 second chance possessions to score 16 second chance points, and FORT WAYNE used its 7 second chance possessions to score 4 second chance points. FORT WAYNE had an offensive efficiency of 0.900 ppp on its 70 first chance possessions and 0.571 ppp for its 7 second chance possessions. UK had 0.986 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.333 ppp on its 16 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 46.2% of its misses as offensive rebounds while FORT WAYNE was able to convert 17.9% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

    UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 15-24 [62.5%]. FORT WAYNE made 7-14 [50.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 33-55 overall [60.0%] and 5-11 from long range [45.5%]. For FORT WAYNE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 12-23 [52.2%] and from long range, FORT WAYNE hit 12-37 [32.4%].

    The Cats committed 16 turnovers, one for every 4.4 possessions. The Cats forced 10 FORT WAYNE turnovers, one for every 7.0 possessions.

    Next Game On Schedule: Sunday night at Rupp Arena against Illinois-Chicago for the seventh regular season game of the 2017-18 season.

  2. Great game for Richards. Need to find a way to get PJ going. Bryce Drew now getting a piece of Cal also.

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