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Guest post: Numbers project win by 26 points over Portland Saturday


On Tuesday night, the Cats seemed to respond well to the adversity of a two game losing streak, and the first home loss in nearly four seasons. The Cats responded with a suffocating defense that provided a 31 point cushion at halftime over a clearly outmatched Samford team. The 45-14 halftime score was impressive, even given the opponent’s obvious weakness, and no one expected the Cats to win that game 90-28. However, Coach Calipari was not pleased by a second half that saw Samford outplay the Cats for large stretches of the final 20 minutes, including Samford’s 9-0 start to the half. The game ended with a 32 point Kentucky win, 88-56, but the second half 33-32 score was simply inexplicable, at least to Coach Calipari.

Following the game, Coach Calipari declared that poor conditioning is the only conclusion he could reach, given a team unwilling or incapable of sustaining effort for a full 40 minutes. He also declared that poor conditioning can be fixed, indeed will be fixed over the next 3 weeks. Three weeks? Yes, it is three weeks until the Cats must travel to Louisville for the annual grudge match against a powerful bunch of Cardinals.

Whether it is truly a case of poor conditioning, or something more serious that is ailing this team, Coach Calipari’s declarations remove any doubt that he sees major problems with the state of the team at present, and he intends to use the next 3 weeks to shape this team as he wants them, or fail trying. On Saturday, the Cats get an opportunity to get a break for the new conditioning regimen, and have a game day instead of a 7 am run-run-run morning followed by an afternoon practice session. That will be the next opportunity for fans to see whether this new emphasis is having the effect that Coach Calipari intends.

Portland has opened the season with three wins in eight starts, and one of the three wins came at the expense of non-D1 opponent Lewis & Clark by 5 points. Portland’s D1 wins have both been at home over #323 Idaho State by 3 points and over #284 Portland State by 21 points. Among Portland’s early season losses are by 19 at #296 Montana State. Portland has also lost at #35 New Mexico by 15 and at home to #20 UNLV by 8. In the latter loss, Portland led the Running Rebels for the majority of the game before UNLV took control of the game in the final few minutes.

Portland has averaged about 68 to 69 possessions per game, producing 60.3ppg (0.88 ppp) and allowing 68.7 ppg (0.99 ppp) against an early schedule that Pomeroy rates as the 118th toughest (0.5800). Portland has turned the ball over on 23.8% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 19.2% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, Portland has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 28.4%, about 5% below the the NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 68.4%, which is about 2% better than the national average.

In contrast, the Cats have started the season averaging 69 to 70 possessions per game, producing 77.4 ppg (1.11 ppp) and allowing 65.3 ppg (0.94 ppp) against a schedule strength of 0..5893 (111th). The Cats have committed turnovers on 17.5% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 19.8% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats’ rebounding rates have been 32.8% and 69.3% on the offensive and defensive ends.

Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of the Cats by 26 points, 81-55, in a game played at a pace of 70 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for Portland. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky’s favor by 23 points, 81-58 at a pace of 69 possessions.

Portland’s strong showing on Tuesday night against UNLV should be enough to give the Kentucky squad pause given that UNLV is #20, Notre Dame is #21, and Baylor is #28 at present, and Portland played UNLV to a closer margin than UK could manage against Notre Dame. An effort on Saturday similar to the effort the Cats gave in the second half on Tuesday, or at Notre Dame the previous Tuesday will allow Portland to remain in this game. For these reasons, a margin on Saturday of 15 or less would suggest that the first four days of the new conditioning program has not taken hold yet, and a win by 35 or more would suggest that these players may be getting the message that Coach Calipari is sending them.


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  1. Larry Pup

    Richard..I’ll take it. Go Blue! Thanks for such a detailed analysis. Are you and “the Professor” one and the same?

    1. TheProfessor

      Larry has been so kind to post my game material, and other things on the blog for the last 3 seasons. I have been doing this for longer, and have a chronology of each season on the bigbluefans4uk.com website that I have.

      A person can pick a season, and read the analysis from start to finish for that season.


      This is the index page for the analysis stuff, the writings and the data. If you scroll down you can find seasons I think back to 2006 or 2007.

      Of course, there are tons of treasures in the history and traditions sections.

  2. TheProfessor

    That would be me

    1. Larry Pup

      You are awesome my friend. Thanks for all the hard work to research all the statistics and then compile them into a data base. I will remember the site mentioned above. As for Larry V, he has brought UK sports coverage to many of us in a way that allows the common fan to have their say. What a blessing.

      1. TheProfessor

        Thank you. The bigbluefans website is a fan site, and all the treasures on display there have been contributed by fans from all over the country. For example, the program from the 1950 Sugar Bowl, the owner sent it to me, I scanned it, and returned it to him, as I have done with all the contributed materials and items.

        There are hours of audio of Rupp and others. There is an audio clip of the great Claude Sullivan’s call of the 1966 championship game against Texas Western, Caywood Ledford’s farewell after the loss to Duke in 1992, the Baron himself, and much more.

        I can’t give anyone a road map of the site, because as it has grown, it has taken a life of its own. I suggest people dive in, and use the links they find to follow their interests and curiosities.

  3. gpm61

    Both Larry & The Professor are “special” in many ways and are “spokes of a wheel” that make The Big Blue Nation what it is today. The most unique, greatest fan base in all of sports today.

    GO BIG BLUE!!!

  4. TheProfessor


    UK scored its 74 points in 74 possessions [1.00 ppp] for the game, and PORTLAND scored its 46 points on 73 possessions [0.63 ppp].

    Kentucky won the boards, with a rebounding edge 44-39, but Portland won the offensive glass with a 11-10 offensive rebounding advantage. PORTLAND converted its 11 second chance possessions into 4 second chance points while Kentucky converted their 10 second chance possessions to score 11 second chance points. PORTLAND had an offensive efficiency of 0.575 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 0.364 ppp for its 11 second chance possessions. UK had 0.851ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 1.100 ppp on its10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 26.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while PORTLAND was able to convert 24.4% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

    UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 12-22 [54.5%]. PORTLAND made 10-16 [62.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 29-59 overall [49.2%] and 4-13 from long range [30.8%]. For PORTLAND, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 12-45 [26.7%] and from long range, PORTLAND hit 4-13 [30.8%].

    The Cats who committed 14 turnovers, one for every 5.3 possessions. The Cats forced 18 PORTLAND turnovers, one for every 4.1 possessions.

    Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 26 point UK win, 81-55 at a pace of 70 possessions for UK and 69 possessions for Portland. The final score was 74 (81) to 46 (55) at a pace of 74 possessions for the Cats and 73 possessions for PORTLAND. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.000 ppp (1.157 ppp) and the UK defensive efficiency was 0.630 ppp (0.797 ppp).

    Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon against Lipscomb at Rupp Arena

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