Kentucky Basketball: A Look At The Marshall Game

John Calipari was pleased with Kentucky's progress yesterday - Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky didn't play great against Marshall, but there are some things that really improved.

We have been waiting to see some improvement in this Kentucky Wildcats team, and believe it or not, we saw some critical ones in the game against the Marshall Thundering Herd. I know from the reaction of many to the postmortem that a lot of Kentucky's good stayed under the radar, mainly due to some pretty inefficient offense including many missed open shots and even layups.

Let's have a look shall we?

This is a graph of the four factors. Note the following:

  • Kentucky was almost 4 percentage points better rebounding the basketball offensively than they have been on average. The last two games, both against the weak Lipscomb and not-so-weak Marshall, the Wildcats have been well above average in the OR% statistic.
  • Marshall is the 41st best team in the country in offensive rebounding. While they were missing their point guard, all of their best rebounders were present. Kentucky defeated them soundly.
  • Kentucky had a very good FT% rate in this game, but Marshall, as has been their wont all season, won that statistic convincingly. Unfortunately, it meant nothing, as their shooting from the line was typically horrible. Kentucky shot very well from the line.
  • We can't take too much comfort from Marshall's turnovers. While Kentucky has been very good this year forcing them, Marshall was playing without their point guard, and it showed.
  • Ryan Harrow has only 5 turnovers ... on the year. If UK can avoid turnovers against Louisville, it would be a very good sign. Right now, Harrow is taking care of the ball better than any point guard in the Calipari era, and that is exalted company. But keep in mind, he's only logged 147 minutes for the season so far.

As Coach Cal pointed out, this team is making strides, but it has a long way to go. How far it had progressed will be well and truly tested next weekend against the Louisville Cardinals.

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