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Numbers project 24-point win for Kansas over UK


Each summer and early fall, we have all grown accustomed to Coach Calipari’s familiar refrain that his team is so young, the road will be bumpy, but he really likes his team. The common response to these annual warnings has included a subtle rolling of the eyes, and a silent retort, “Yeah Coach, we know.”

However, this team is clearly different, and if our expectations are based on how Coach Calipari’s previous eight teams have matured and developed, especially early in the schedule, we are very likely to be disappointed this season. This team has had the slowest start of the Calipari Era, as shown in the Table below:

The typical Calipari teams have completed their first two games with an Adjusted Net Efficiency (ANE) between 0.166 ppp and 0.285 ppp. There are two outliers on the high end, 2010-11 (0.435 ppp) and 2011-12 (0.419 ppp). There has been one outlier on the low end, 2009-10 (0.071 ppp), and the current team sets a new low for their first two games at 0.045 ppp.

This does not mean this team cannot or will not develop into a team capable of competing on the national stage. For proof of this assertion, we only need to look at Calipari’s previous slowest starting team, 2009-10. The Cousins, Wall, Bledsoe group were quick learners, and we all know how competitive that team was as it ran through the regular season with only two losses, at South Carolina and at Tennessee. However, it does mean this current team has not climbed its learning curve much during its three exhibitions and first two regular season games.

As has become the custom with Coach Calipari schedules, the Cats now travel to Chicago to appear in the annual Champions’ Classic, and this year their opponent is #4 Kansas. Yes, Kentucky does bring a current ranking of #5 into this game, but the differences between this Kansas team on November 13 and this Kentucky team on November 13 are substantial.

Kansas has also played three exhibition games this pre-season. They opened their exhibition season against Missouri at a neutral court, winning by 6, 93-87. This Missouri team controlled that game into the second half before the Jayhawks pulled away. Kansas also took care of business in its two traditional exhibitions, beating Pittsburg State by 46, 100-54, and beating Fort Hays State by 29, 86-57. Coach Self’s Jayhawks opened their regular season Friday night, disposing of #219 Tennessee State by 36, 92-56.

It appears that this Kansas is on par with most Kansas teams, but it also appears that this Kentucky team is not on par with most Kentucky teams in the early going. The Adjusted Net Efficiency (ANE) analysis for this match up, based on early season experience for each team, indicates a 24 point Kansas win over Kentucky in a game played at 78 possessions, 65-89. Pomeroy sees this game with Kansas having a 1-point advantage, 77-78 played at a pace of 75 possessions.

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

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


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    This is a link to the table with a larger view

  2. As a point of interest, the largest margin deficit in the Calipari Era was 30 points in 2013 when the Cats lost at Tennessee in the game following Nerlen’s loss due to injury. The next largest deficit margin was 22 points last season at Florida.

  3. 24 points may be a bit harsh but I fear this one is a loss. We’re too young.

  4. It does appear to be shaping up as a loss but hope we can keep it close. I hate to see Self get another W because he continues to close the gap and could overtake us in next few years. There will be a price to be paid, probably all year, for the youth on this team, but I am VERY surprised that the guys, with their length, athleticism, and considerable skills haven’t been able to show better rebounding and, even more so, 3 pt. defense.

  5. Analysis:

    UK scored its 61 points on 71 possessions (0.859 ppp) for the game, and Kansas University scored its 65 points on 70 possessions (0.929 ppp).

    Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 39-38, but Kansas won the battle of the offensive glass 18-10. Kentucky used its 10 second chance possessions to score 12 second chance points, and Kansas University used its 18 second chance possessions to score 20 second chance points. Kansas University had an offensive efficiency of 0.643 ppp on its 70 first chance possessions and 1.111 ppp for its 18 second chance possessions. UK had 0.690 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.200 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 33.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Kansas University was able to convert 38.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

    UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 12-18 [66.7%]. Kansas University made 9-16 [56.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 23-54 overall [42.6%] and 3-12 from long range [25.0%]. For Kansas University, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 16-40 [40.0%] and from long range, Kansas University hit 8-28 [28.6%].

    The Cats committed 18 turnovers, one for every 3.9 possessions. The Cats forced 11 Kansas University turnovers, one for every 6.4 possessions.

    Next Game On Schedule: Friday night at Rupp Arena against East Tennessee State for the fourth regular season game of the 2017-18 season.

  6. Cats did themselves proud tonight and showed considerable improvement from their first two games, and actually showed some improvement on the boards in the second half tonight.

  7. Yes they did.

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