Yes, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, we must go through these kinds of games every year. The mismatches are a part of the learning experience of college basketball, and a rite of passage for every Kentucky team. Coming off a fairly difficult schedule the last few weeks, we had been treated to some difficult contests against solid basketball teams, and we got a little bit spoiled with that. We have to beat the usual slate of little guys also, and as Tennessee and Louisville found out, you can never take a game off in college basketball. Kentucky may not have played their best last night, but they played plenty well enough.
First off, let's take a look at the basic statistics of the game, courtesy, as always, of the awesome Statsheet.com:
Overall, these statistics are not horrible at face value. The three point shooting, percentage-wise, continues to be good as it has all year, and one thing we should note is that Kentucky did not really force a single three that I can remember last night, except for maybe one quick one by Brandon Knight in the first half.
As JLeverenz noted in this excellent post, assists are one statistic that we would very much like to see increase, and the raw numbers of assists last night, 11, are don't look too bad on the surface. We'll look at all these a little more in depth after the jump, because raw, basic stats don't tell us all that much about how the game went.
Here is what I like about the UK stats:
- Darius Miller's line. Miller had a 2.5-1 A/T (great for a forward, and best on the team), the second-highest steals% on the team, and the highest EFG% on the team, got to the line on 71% of his shots, all on only 15% of the team's shots. Compare that to Brandon Knight's line, who looks like a volume shooter by comparison.
- Brandon Knight's A/T and assist %. This seems to be increasing, and that is encouraging. A turnover% of 14.2 is a great number for a point guard.
What does not look as good:
- Zero assists for DeAndre Liggins. He should be getting some. Terrence Jones also had zero, but his minutes were limited. Still, as good a passer as he is, we should have seen at least a couple.
- Josh Harrellson's TO%. That's too many for the big guy.
- Brandon Knight's FTR%. He should get to the line a lot more.
Looking at these stats in isolation just tells us what happened. We all know by watching the game that Knight did not shoot well and didn't score well, and now we know why -- he didn't get to the line enough. Contrast that with Terrence Jones, who despite playing only 57.5% of the minutes available, scored much better even on so-so shooting for him. He got to the line more than one out of two shots.
Four Factors and additional stats
So what we see here that's troubling is the overall eFG% of the team. Against a team like MVSU, you'd expect to see this number north of 55%. UK did not make open shots, which is why we wound up at this level. The 'Cats got many wide-open, unopposed looks at 3, and they made a good percentage, but it was the shots inside the arc that were the downfall of this statistic. UK took typically good care of the ball, but lost the battle of the offensive boards, almost unforgivable versus the smaller Delta Devils. The real impressive number on this graph is FTR%, which UK absolutely dominated.
77 possessions is very high for Kentucky, so this game was played very much at the pace dictated by MVSU. The 0.9 A/T ratio is not horrible as a team number, but we'd like to see that number above 1, especially against a team like the Delta Devils. Kentucky assisted on only 40% of made shots, which is not what we'd hoped for.
Overall, it's easy to validate what your eyes told you by looking at the statistics, although I don't think Darius Miller gets enough credit for the overall excellent statistical game he played. Terrence Jones' numbers look impressive, but if you look at his stats, they tend to be deceiving. Jones played a not-so-great game, and got most of his points from the line or when the Delta Devils were worn out.
Some other interesting stats:
- Points off turnovers; UK 28, MVSU 17
- Points in the paint: UK 36, MVSU 22
- 2nd chance points: UK 7, MVSU 10
- Fast break points: UK 6, MVSU 6
The hustle stats seem to favor MVSU. That can't make Coach Cal happy.
- This person writing as a guest on Larry Vaught's blog takes Calipari to task for getting ejected. I will simply say that I disagree profoundly with him, and that his analysis of the situation looks like that of person who has a grudge against Calipari.
- The half-court shot by Brandon Knight was the second improbable shot of the day. Jared Sullinger made a turn-around jumper from the left hash about 35 feet from the basket in the game between the Ohio St. Buckeyes and the South Carolina Gamecocks.
- Mike Stewart is only fourth in the number of technicals called so far this year. Pat Adams has 6 more techs in 3 fewer games, but despite that has not ejected a soul so far. Can't say that about Stewart now.
- One of the Delta Devils did not know the difference between John Calipari and Rick Pitino.
- Calipari on his ejection:
"All I can tell you is, I've done this 20-some years," he told reporters. "This was the first game I was thrown out of pro or college."
Close, coach, but not quite. Coach Cal got ejected when he was with UMass, as the article goes on to mention. But it isn't a common thing by any means, and I feel like Coach Cal was trying to send a message here to somebody about something. We may never know exactly what or why.
All in all, an eventful night of basketball.