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How Will Cats Respond To 8 Days Since Last Game? Numbers Say Just Fine

Tyrese Maxey (Vicky Graff Photo)


As has become the scheduling custom for Coach Calipari at UK, seasons begin with a flurry of games in the first 3 weeks of the season, and then for the remainder of the calendar year, the Cats play 1 game per week, typically each Saturday. This year, Coach Calipari has lamented the lack of sufficient practice time between games to correct issues identified during the initial flurry of games, and this year there have perhaps the usual issues based on youth and inexperience have been compounded by a rash of injuries.

The first seven (7) games have been a roller coaster ride from the initial peak experienced in game 1 against Michigan State, to the bottom of the Evansville/Utah Valley games, back to a peak against Lamar, and back down against UAB. The questions created by this 4-game cyclic frequency is will that pattern continue, or will the local bottoms start rising from the previous bottoms with higher successive peaks, or will the ride begin to even out with declining amplitude at the current average?

If we listen closely, the Calipari laments suggest the former rather than the latter because he will have “eight wonderful days” between games to get some issues resolved. On Saturday evening, we will get to view for ourselves the benefits of the 8 days of practice that Calipari has been craving.

Yes, the Cats now stand at 6-1 with an Adjusted Net Efficiency (ANE) of 0.15 points per possession (ppp) against a schedule strength of -0.066 ppp. The Cats’ average tempo remains about 71 possessions per game.

#270 Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) has played seven games, six against D1 opposition with a 1-5 record in those games. The Knights lost at #49 DePaul by 11, at #320 Army by 16, at #135 Lafayette by 5, at #72 Notre Dame by 25, and beat #252 Quinnipiac by 1 on Tuesday at home.

Based on this early season data for these teams, an ANE analysis indicates this game will have a tempo of 70 possessions with the Cats prevailing by 21 points, 81-60.

It is intuitively clear than not all 21-point wins are created equal. The quality of any win depends upon the final margin, the strength of the opponent, and the venue of the game.

The table provides tools to evaluate this game’s final margin considering the relevant factors. This table separates game outcomes into three ranges, red, tan, and green. Over the years, Calipari’s strongest teams win most of their games on the season in the green range and the fewest number of games end in the red range. Conversely, Calipari’s weakest teams win most of their games in the red and fewest in the green ranges. Through 7 games this season, the outcomes have been 3 in the red, 3 in the tan, and 1 in the green. For the FDU game, a final margin between 25 and 39 points would be in the Historically Common Range, and larger margins move the game into the strong group while smaller margins move the game into the poor range.


  1. I expect to see a much more focused and determined team on the court today against FDU.
    Grrrrr…GO BIG BLUE !!!

  2. Analysis:

    UK scored its 83 points in a total of 67 possessions (1.239 ppp) for the game, and Fairleigh Dickinson scored its 52 points on a total of 66 possessions (0.776 ppp).

    Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 42-33, but Fairleigh Dickinson won the battle of the offensive glass 14-12. Kentucky used its 12 second chance possessions to score 20 second chance points while FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON used its 14 second chances to score 9 points. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 38.7% of its misses as offensive rebounds while Fairleigh Dickinson was able to convert 31.8% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

    UK made 17-19 [89.5%] from the free throw line. Fairleigh Dickinson made 5-6 [83.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 32-62 overall [51.6%] and 2-11 from long range [18.2%]. For Fairleigh Dickinson, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 16-41 [39.0%] and from long range, Fairleigh Dickinson hit 5-24 [20.8%).

    The Cats committed 9 turnovers, one for every 7.4 possessions. The Cats forced 13 Fairleigh Dickinson turnovers, one for every 5.2 possessions.

    Next Game On Schedule: Saturday afternoon against Georgia Tech in the eighth game of the 2019-20 regular season.

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