Let’s get a couple things out of the way before getting into the nuts and bolts about this post:
- The officiating hasn’t been great this season, although when is it ever considered great. The issue more than “bad calls” is inconsistency in which contact fouls are called. I think the block-charge calls have been really good this year, but just how much contact is being allowed on drives to the basket has been wildly inconsistent. Refs have a VERY DIFFICULT job that nobody would do well. But even still, many of these guys have done this for 20 years and still can’t seem to call an even game.
- Referees don’t have an agenda against the Cats.
- As you will see, there is a trend that is developing for UK when it comes to fouls and it can easily be explained.
OK, with that said, let’s talk about fouls. Since SEC play began, UK seems to constantly be in foul trouble. UK has had more than 20 fouls in 8 of 10 games in 2016. The big guys can’t stay on the floor and it just exposes the guards even more. Take a look at the following 2 stats. The first are every instance when an opponent reached the bonus before UK in a half. The instances in red are those that occurred on a neutral or road floor.
2nd Half- Duke
2nd Half- South Florida
1st Half and 2nd Half- UCLA
1st Half- EKU
2nd Half- Arizona St.
1st Half and 2nd Half- Louisville
2nd Half- Ole Miss
2nd Half- LSU
2nd Half- Mississippi St.
1st Half and 2nd Half- Auburn
1st Half and 2nd Half- Arkansas
1st Half and 2nd Half- Vanderbilt
2nd Half- Kansas
And then here you have total fouls for the game, with again the road/neutral games in red.
Ohio St (17-16)
Ole Miss (25-19)
Mississippi St (21-20)
So, here is what these numbers tell us:
- In the 12 games played in 2015, UK’s opponents had more fouls than UK in 9 of those 12 games. Since the calendar turned to 2016, UK has played 10 games and had more fouls than their opponent 8 out of 10 times.
- More interestingly, UK’s opponents have reached the bonus first in the 2nd half in 8 of 10 games in 2016. To me, that shows this team is getting very fatigued which is leading to more silly fouls.
And here is the fact: KENTUCKY LEGITIMATELY COMMITS MOST OF THESE FOULS. More than anything, you have a bunch of either mediocre/poor defenders (Skal, Willis), questionable basketball IQ (Murray), size issues (Ulis) or physical weakness (Lee). All of those things combined lead to guys being put into bad situations and then committing fouls. The refs don’t have to have some kind of maniacal agenda to get UK in foul trouble. UK is a bad defensive team with limited depth. And the fouls are showing that.