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Key Stat in Road Games

(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Road games are tough no matter the opponent, just ask North Carolina. While Kentucky has struggled early in the team’s three true road games against Indiana, Auburn and Tennessee this season, they have found success late. In the last ten minutes of each game, UK has outscored their hometown opponent by a count of 20 – 10, on average. In every single game the Cats have erased margins of more than eight points and come back to win or, in Indiana’s case, lose by only one.

The most interesting part of this stat is that UK doesn’t have the depth that one would associate with late surges. The top six for Kentucky usually log more minutes per person than the opposing team’s top six. Against Tennessee, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Anthony Davis played 39, 38 and 35 minutes respectively. Those are all higher than the minute leader for the Vols, Cameron Tatum, who played for 34 minutes.

So far, the Cats have shown a more impressive will to win when the game enters crunch time. While the early game struggles are inexplicable, there always ends up being one or two players (MKG usually involved) who put the team on their shoulders and carry them to victory. It’s unclear whether this advantage emerges from the talent gap making itself obvious or there truly is a determination factor involved, but outside of one flukey shot in Bloomington, the Cats have done well for themselves on the road.

The next road test will come at Georgia in about a week. The Bulldogs got spanked by Alabama in Athens to start their conference slate, so hopefully Kentucky can mirror that success and put the home team away early. I’m tired of all these close games.

Article written by Matthew Hays

9 Comments for Key Stat in Road Games

  1. GoCats2
    11:25 am January 16, 2012 Permalink

    I would love to have a road game where we come out and blow someone out by 20 or 25. Maybe Georgia or LSU.

  2. Cordial Cherry Syrup
    11:58 am January 16, 2012 Permalink

    my favorite thing about this is how the pic is saved as “Woolridge Sucks”

  3. Jarnell Stokes
    12:16 pm January 16, 2012 Permalink

    That lil boy Terrance couldn’t do that on me!!

  4. IHALL
    12:19 pm January 16, 2012 Permalink

    I been saying this! This is one reason why I think in march UK will cut down the nets in April. I believe MKG can do anything he wants to and if he had to score 40 he could. He will not let UK loose. He makes UK the most dangerous team in America. Things are crazy in March and anything could happen, but i cant see anyone rolling over this wildcat team and it all because there warrior MKG.

  5. Musehobo
    12:33 pm January 16, 2012 Permalink

    This is all on how you spin it. I don’t like to be negative, but to me this is all about motivation and effort. It’s easy to be motivated at home, and hard on the road. The reason why we play well in the final minutes when we’re down, is because our motivation changes. It’s at a point when you have to play to survive. We can’t seem to find that intensity without the immediate threat of loss.

    That being said, this is all because we are so young, and I truly believe that each road game will help teach them how to be resilient. For now Jones, Miller, and Lamb need to step up the intensity to be examples in these road games.

  6. serdi
    12:35 pm January 16, 2012 Permalink

    Difference between the setting in which Bama played Georgia and the setting UK will play Georgia will be totally different. I just don’t know how long it takes for some of you guys that have not been around for years to understand this.
    Alabama played Georgia with an arena that was 1/2 full. Alabama played its game and Georgia played its typical game. When UK goes to Athens, it will be standing room only. Georgia’s players will play 3 notches above the level they played against Alabama and they are capable of but they will do it against UK. It will be up to UK to play with urgency, play to their abilities. If they do, they will win.

  7. NostraDanis
    1:39 pm January 16, 2012 Permalink

    One of the reasons the cats do well at the end of games is because that is when they get everyone back on the floor after working through foul trouble. Road games mean foul trouble, and when you have early foul trouble you have to mix and match your line-up until the final part of the game. During the final few minutes we can play with whoever Cal feels is best for the situation, and the players can play to win – not to avoid the next foul.

  8. Bledsoe's Biceps
    2:22 pm January 16, 2012 Permalink

    Mr Hays have you not learned anything from Jimmy Dykes? At the end of the game you have your best 5 (6 if Ayers is the ref) on the floor and it’s all about getting to your shot spot and guarding your yard. Throw in a rim run or two and you’ll get the win.

  9. Anything but Gatorade
    4:41 pm January 16, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t know where you got your data from on that 20-10 figure for the last 10 minutes of the past two games, but it’s actually a total of UK 39, Opp 18. Kentucky outscored Auburn 21-6 after Davis made a tip-in at the 10:22 mark, and outscored UT 18-12 after Kenny Hall made a layup with 9:47 to play on Saturday.