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Slowly But Surely, Kentucky Is Improving


Photo by Chet White/UK Athletics

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post comparing how Kentucky ranks against other teams in the NCAA in various statistical categories. With 4 games under their belt since then, I thought I would go back to teamrankings.com and see how much Kentucky has improved, if any. The stats shown below are as of the Georgia game and how that category ranks among the rest of the NCAA. The second number is what their ranking was 2 weeks ago.

KENTUCKY: THE BAD KENTUCKY: THE GOOD
Assists/ Turnover  0.996 (#175) (#174) Points/Game 79.6 (#21)  (#23)
Assists/Game 12.6 (#169) (#169) Total Rebounds/Gm 42.4 (#5) (#5)
Free Throw % 67.6% (#246) (#287) FTA/FGA 0.577 (#3)  (#4)
Three Point % 31.5 (#281) (#308) Two Point % 53.8% (#16) (#10)
FGA/Game 55.7 (#156) (#145) Shooting % 47.4% (#36) (#33)
3PM/Game 5.1 (#286)  (#298) FTM/Game 21.7 (#2)  (#5)
3PA/Game 16.1 (#259) (#251) FTA/Game 32.2 (#2)  (#2)
Def Rebound % 71.5% (#144) (#101) 1st Half Pts/Gm 37.3 (#32)  (#36)
Steals/Game 4.6 (#315) (#329) 2nd Half Pts/Gm 41.7 (#19) (#14)
Steals/Play 5.7% (#320) (#333) Off Rebounds/Gm 13.5 (#4)  (#3)
Turnovers/Game 12.6 (#187) (#174) Def Rebounds/Gm 25.6 (#19)  (#17)
Off Rebound % 43.9 (#1)  (#1)
Blocks/Game 6.9 (#3)  (#7)
Block % 11.6% (#6)  (#13)

Most Improvement:  Free Throw Percentage – 67.6% (#246) (#287) Slowly but surely, Kentucky’s free throw percentage is on the rise. However, that may have something to do with them hitting 23-24 from the line against Arkansas. If that game tells us anything, it tells us that they have the ability to make their free throws.  I think it’s very possible for them to get their percentage up over 70% before the start of the SEC tournament.

Biggest Drop Off: Defensive Rebound Percentage – 71.5% (#144) (#101) Even though Kentucky is an excellent rebounding team; their opponents get the offensive rebound nearly 30% of the time.  Since their opponents shoot an average of 17 threes a game, does that equate to Kentucky being out of position to get the long rebound?

DEFENSE: THE BAD DEFENSE: THE GOOD
Opp Assists/Turnover 0.904 (#101) (#135) Opp Assists/Game 10.4 (#34) (#27)
Opp FGM/Game 23.2 (#101) (#118) Opp Total Rebounds/Gm 31.5 (#31) (#31)
Opp FGA/Game 59.9 (#322) (#330) Opp Effective FG % 43.0% (#10) (#12)
Opp 3PM/Game 5.2 (#57) (#109) Opp Two Point % 42.0% (#15) (#12)
Opp 3PA/Game 17.2 (#130) (#185) Opp Shooting % 38.7% (#15) (#14)
Opp 1st Half Pts/Gm 32.2 (#145) (#184) Opp Shooting Efficiency 0.939 (#9) (#12)
Opp Off Rebounds/Gm 10.2 (#269) (#245) Opp 2nd Half Pts/Gm 32.6 (#22) (#27)
Opp Off Rebound % 28.5% (#144) (#114) Opp Def Rebounds/Gm 17.3 (#2) (#2)
Opp Steals/Game 5.8 (#140) (#160) Opp Blocks/Game 2.5 (#19) (#16)
Opp Steals/Play 6.9% (#75) (#104) Opp Block % 4.5% (#16) (#15)
Opp Turnovers/Game 11.5 (#249) (#285) Opp Personal Fouls/Gm 24.3 (#2) (#1)
Opp Turnovers/Play 14.3% (#280) (#312) Opp Personal Fouls/Play 28.8% (#7) (#3)

Biggest Improvement: Opponent 3PM/Game 5.2 (#57) (#109) Kentucky is holding their opponents to only 30.2% shooting behind the arc. Kentucky’s length and their ability to switch on defense and have their big men defend smaller guards on the perimeter is a possible key to this low percentage. The best chance a team has to beat Kentucky is to shoot the lights out from the three point line. Can Kentucky keep defending the 3 as well as they have been?

Biggest Drop Off:  Opponent Offensive Rebounds/Gm 10.2 (#269) (#245) As I mentioned above, Kentucky has struggled in allowing offensive rebounds. A missed block out assignment cost Kentucky the game at Arkansas, but with Kentucky’s length and athleticism, this should be an easy fix.

In almost every category, Kentucky did improve. Can they continue to improve?

(Stats and info from teamrankings.com)

Follow me on twitter: @Perk_21KSR

Article written by Aaron Perkins

One response to “Slowly But Surely, Kentucky Is Improving”

  1. CatsRus

    Our Cats had better improve a lot more. I watched Arizona play Utah last night and the hustle and athleticism was something to see. Aaron Gordon was quiet the first half but he literally dominated the second.
    The Cats can do it but it will be a tall order.