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Kentucky Basketball Stats: Borderline Offensive

He’ll be doing a lot of this.

Say what you will about Cal’s defense-minded teams, through five games, Nerlens and Co.’s iteration of the Wildcats are absolutely scorching offensively.

For some of the struggles we’ve seen on the other end, like blockers jumping too soon and too often, post players getting woefully out-rebounded, etc., a sixth of the way through the regular season, it looks like a lot of the offensive questions have answers.

The Cats are currently scoring 85.2 points per game, good for 12th in the country.  For a team that’s learning an entirely new offensive scheme, and has to adjust to not being the focal point of the offense (unless you’re Archie Goodwin), that’s a remarkable number.  Granted, they’ve played a few cupcakes, but they didn’t exactly slack against the pair of ACC opponents they opened the season against, in which they averaged 70 points.  They’re also sharing the ball at a very good rate, even without Ryan Harrow (who thankfully will be back very soon).  The 17.4 assists per game are good for 22nd nationally, and stacks up favorably (roughly 1.5) against the 11.6 turnovers per game.  Again, those numbers are good, but when you consider that they came without the starting point guard, they’re great.

The best number so far, even more than average points scored and assists per game, is the shooting percentage.  This is a very smart offensive team, for their age, and the 55.8% clip at which they’re shooting is proof of that.  That number, by the way, is good for the top spot in the country.  For their rebounding struggles, the three big guys (Poythress, Noel, and WCS) are all shooting over 60%.  Even the wings, Wiltjer and Goodwin, are shooting over 50%.  That’s pretty impressive, but when you factor in that those two are also at 50% or higher on 3-pointers, it gets a little ridiculous.

The only glaring offensive stat that this team can improve on is actually one that’s easily improved: free throw shooting.  This team shoots an average of 25.4 FTs per game, but only makes 68% of them.  Imagine the offensive output they’d be capable of if that number improved to even 75%.

Morehead State, Duke, and Maryland all showed this team things they can improve on defensively.  Even LIU scored more than we would have liked.  Those issues on D are there, and I can only imagine that practice is hammering it out of them in preparation for Thursday’s trip to South Bend.  Meanwhile, though, this team is humming along offensively, and putting on quite a show doing it.

And when the defense finally does catch up to the offense, look out.

Article written by Corey Nichols

30 Comments for Kentucky Basketball Stats: Borderline Offensive

  1. gilly on d
    9:08 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Ul’s entire defense is based on the opponent missing their free throws. That’s why they play 15 players. When they lose the fans always say, “well jesus they shot 20 more free throws than we did, what did you expect?” I can’t wait to beat them 5 in a row.

  2. yevkazim
    9:14 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    I can imagine how many points they would score if they shot 75% rather than 68%. It about 2 more points per game.

  3. Reality Check
    9:15 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Football is what moves the needle these days in America!! Lets worry about our coach before we get too deep into basketball.

  4. Well, well, I’ve been listening to local sports talk here in Montgomery, AL like I always do in the morning, and guess who is “closing fast” to be the coach at Auburn? That’s right: BOBBY PETRINO!!! Here’s the link to listen if you care to:

  5. That girl's boyfriend has a hell of a right hook
    9:22 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    I know for a fact that Auburn has been talking to Petrino for some time now. Their culture is different regarding their appetite for dealing with scumbags – they don’t like it any more than the rest of us, but the intolerable thing in life is getting thumped repeatedly by Alabama. They know Petrino is their best shot at getting the program back on a high level. It’s also Petrino’s dream job so the likelihood of him leaving for another team is less there than other schools – probably all the way down to about 72%……

  6. Joe
    9:22 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    4: We all can predict pretty easily that either Auburn or TN will land Petrino, despite the unfounded claim that there’s a conspiracy against him by SEC school presidents and chancellors (lol).

  7. Reality Check
    9:25 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Comment waiting moderation? What is this a communist website

  8. Reality Check
    9:27 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    4) I though the SEC had an agreement not to hire Bobby? Hahaha at least that’s what KSR said. I hope he pound our cyber Monday special Makintyre by 40. No high school kid even knows who Makintyre is. We all knew Mitch would screw this up, why is anyone surprised?

  9. esteban
    9:31 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    @2 lmao i thought same thing

  10. Trollies
    9:31 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    I hope you’re proud of yourself, corey. Letting posters on catsillustrated do all of the research so you can swoop in and steal. This was posted there yesterday. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, Matt has been stealing info for years.

  11. 5, yeah, they’re saying he would walk to Auburn to get the job. I forgot to mention that they also said Auburn would probably hire a coach within a week. Are you listening Mitch?
    6, you thing the conspiracy theory is simply a way to give Mitch cover?

    BTW, I understand Matt’s point of view when he says if BP winds up at AU or UT then it means UK wasn’t going to get him anyway, but we’ve also been told they’re going to “swing for the fence”. Really??? Is that what you’re doing when you go after glorified 1-AA coaches (except for Stoops) and don’t at least INTERVIEW Petrino? Sorry, but Webster’s would NOT define that as swinging for the fence. I will support whoever we hire, but I believe Petrino should at least get a look.

  12. Bradley
    9:37 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    10. Prepare to get crushed for speaking the truth.

  13. Here’s the link to the source who’s reporting BP gaining ground at Auburn (it’s a pay site, but you can at least see the headline to know I’m not making this up…they also mention Jeff Fisher & the Penn State coach):

  14. Trollies
    9:41 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    12 – I know. I’m ready for people telling me I am worthless and jealous. That’s rdiculous. Corey is a lazy writer and people just love to defend him because he is a matt jones product. These people are just like the maggard followers that they love to hate on. Objectivity is a foreign concept to them

  15. Mooot
    9:44 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    I’m just baffled that some people act as if we truly have a chance if teams like Auburn or UT are going to look at Petrino. You don’t think he knew those positions were going to open up? You honestly think that we could somehow beat out Auburn or UT for a coach like him? Sure, it isn’t impossible to win here but it is very difficult. A coach that has any kind of chance to go to a higher tier program is not going to come here.

  16. LP
    9:44 am November 27, 2012 Permalink


    You don’t have to “imagine” the offensive output they’d be capable of if they shot 75% from the free throw line. You just have to be able to do remedial math. By the way, the answer is 1.7 – If they shot 75% from the freethrow line rather than 68%, they’d average just 1.7 more points per game.

    Mr. Nichols, what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent post were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  17. Yngvie Malmsteen.
    9:50 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve imagined what would happen if they improved to 75% at the line and it would mean less than 2 points more per game. Mind boggling.

  18. 15, one of the main points here is that KSR has told us that the SEC has engaged in some conspiracy to keep BP out and there’s no way he’ll coach in the SEC so it’s no use for Mitch to talk to him anyway. That is obviously not true.

  19. Trollies
    9:57 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    18 – you mean ksr has an agenda? No way. Matt is as unbiased as they come. Haha. He is nothing more than a puppet for daddy mitch.

  20. RaleighCat
    10:01 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    I’ve been thinking about the FT issue and believe that’s the biggest difference right now between this year’s team and last year’s team (aside from the point guard-void).

    Last year’s frosh made their free throws. Davis, MKG, Teague. Plus Lamb was automatic. TJ really improved as the year went on and Miller was almost as good as Lamb.

    This year’s bigs need to improve. Poythress is OK but Noel & WKS are hurting us on the stripe.

    Just my two pennies.

  21. 15, also, don’t forget how many times we were told Mitch was going to “swing for the fence”. That is apparently not true either. Stoops is the closest person to that who apparently is a serious candidate, IMHO. Granted, WHOEVER gets the job may turn out to be a home run, but the “swing for the fence” phrase denotes a big name who everyone knows who is a proven commodity on the big-time D-1 level, not a head coach of a 2nd (3rd?) tier program.

  22. RealCatsFan
    10:05 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Meh – let’s talk football on a thread devoted to football. Won’t matter anyway, because Barney will whiff again.

    Back on topic, I think the addition of Harrow back into the lineup will hopefully bring some quickness and athleticism to our perimeter defense. A lot of our defensive woes center on Kyle and Julius getting beat by quicker opponents. We will still have that issue with Kyle, but Ryan should be an upgrade defensively over Julius, and pushing Archie over into the 2G spot should help too.

  23. Cardz
    10:06 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Remember when Duke made it rain on UK and were throwing up the 3goggles all over them? Yeah that was awesome

  24. RaleighCat
    10:07 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Quick check of stats last year at this time and we hit 102-149 FT’s for 68.4%.

    Seems like it was higher. For the season, last year’s team shot 72.3% from the line.

  25. BNClay
    10:40 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Yea pretty dumb statement on free throw percentage. Even if you consider that some the missed free throws were front end of one-and-ones it still wouldn’t mean even a 2 point increase in ppg.

    My biggest issue with the ft% is that Noel is dreadful. I could live with 70% as a team if no one around 50%. With out looking it up I would think Noel was <50% for the season. Probably gonna get the hack-a-shaq statagy used on him a few times this year.

  26. Dee Snutz
    11:00 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    FYI: Daniel Orton had 24 points and 12 rebounds in Sunday’s D-League game: (Liggins had 8 pts, 4 rebounds, 7 assists)

  27. Dee Snutz
    11:02 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Liggins had a triple double in the previous D-League game for Tulsa: Tulsa Opens Season with 83-76 Win

    TULSA, Okla., November 23, 2012 – The Tulsa 66ers opened the season with an 83-76 win over the Texas Legends on Friday night at the SpiritBank Event Center behind a triple-double from DeAndre Liggins.

    Currently on an NBA D-League assignment by the Oklahoma City Thunder, Liggins led his new squad with a triple-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Fellow OKC assignment Daniel Orton scored 10 points and grabbed 11 boards.

  28. reality again
    11:04 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    #21 Sticking with the baseball analogies… how can Barnhart “swing for the fence” when the pitcher isn’t throwing him strikes? MB can swing for the fences all he wants, but he knows, and we should know he can’t land a big name. So at the end of the day, who gives a crap if he’s swinging for a homer or slappin’ at it like Ichiro Suzuki trying to hit a single and stretch it into a double. LOL When the heck will some people see reality? If Auburn/UT/Ark/California offer a coach $2.5 million and UK comes along and offers the same guy $4 million, we’re still gonna be at the bottom of the list.

  29. SleepieAce
    11:06 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    In the interest of accuracy, it was ESPN’s Chad Ford who reported that the SEC would not allow Petrino to return. KSR just repeated it.

  30. twnky
    11:08 am November 27, 2012 Permalink

    @3 umm this is Kentucky, we are a basketball state and always will be. A handful of people care about football, but the entire state LOVES basketball. Not to mention that half of us couldn’t care less who the next football coach will be. Its baskeatball season and has been since October 12th, you sir are the one in need of a reality check.