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Former Cat Walter McCarty doesn’t have team at Evansville to slow down Kentucky

Kentucky figures to overwhelm Evansville tonight. (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer

In game 1, the Cats showed sufficient toughness to hold off a very strong group of Spartans to lay claim to the #1 spot on the college basketball totem pole. This past Friday, the Cats put the pedal to the metal from the opening tip to the final buzzer and took a bunch of Colonels apart for an impressive 42-point win over our neighbors from Richmond. Tonight former Wildcat star Walter McCarty will bring his Evansville Purple Aces into Rupp to see if he can find the keys to slow down this hot set of Wildcats.

Just as two games do not define a season, neither does one game performance by any player define that player. However, these single game player eruptions serve to illustrate how strong (or weak) the components of the team can be. Against Michigan State, Tyrese Maxey emerged on one of the biggest stages against a legitimate final four opponent and turned in one of the strongest freshman debuts in Kentucky basketball history. Against EKU, Junior Nick Richards had perhaps his best game ever as a Wildcat.

Both individual game performances are most welcome to the Big Blue Nation. However, these individual performances are peaks, and where there are peaks, there are also valleys. For me, the more encouraging observations from these first two games are the steady, reliable contributions to the team’s efforts by Nate Sestina, Immanuel Quickley, Kahlil Whitney, and Ashton Hagans.

Yes, Big Blue Fans, the season is still in its infancy, and the basketball landscape will change as infants mature basketball players for March Madness and the run toward Championship Monday. There is no way to know today who will remain standing at midnight on April 6, 2020, but our Wildcats have started their 2019-20 journey in an impressive manner.

The Cats now stand at 2-0 with an Adjusted Net Efficiency (ANE) of 0.35 points per possession (ppp) against a schedule strength of +0.073 ppp (MSU and EKU). This ANE is worthy of the #1 ranking. The Cats’ average tempo has been in the upper 70s possessions per game due to the 82-possession tempo of the EKU game. Evansville opened its season on Saturday with a 4-point (79-75) home win over #157 Ball State. That game produced an ANE of 0.027 ppp against a schedule strength of -0.027 ppp. While the Cats have the highest ANE in the land, Evansville’s ANE ranks #164.

Based on the limited data from 1 or 2 games for these teams, an ANE analysis indicates this game will have a tempo of 76 possessions with the Cats prevailing by 30 points, 88-58.


  1. Can’t slow us down? You don’t say! Can you say Robert Morris? No. 9, REALLY?? What about it Captain Rah Rah??? I should have bought more stock in Kleenex. I can only imagine how many empty boxes there will be tonight in Rah Rah land..

  2. Analysis:

    UK scored its 64 points in a total of 71 possessions (0.901 ppp) for the game, and Evansville scored its 67 points on a total of 69 possessions (0.971 ppp).

    Evansville won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 39-35, and the Aces won the battle of the offensive glass 11-8. Kentucky used its 8 second chance possessions to score 11 second chance points while EVANSVILLE used its 11 second chances to score 12 points. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 22.2% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Evansville was able to convert 28.9% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

    UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 20-25 [80.0%]. Evansville made 12-13 [92.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 20-53 overall [37.7%] and 4-16 from long range [25.0%]. For Evansville, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 14-30 [46.7%] and from long range, Evansville hit 9-30 [30.0%].

    The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 5.4 possessions. The Cats forced 14 Evansville turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions.

    Next Game On Schedule: Monday night against Utah Valley in the fourth game of the 2019-20 regular season.

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