Through 12 games, Kentucky is 8-4 and (currently) finds themselves un-ranked in the AP top-25 poll. While the start to the season isn’t exactly what fans or players pictured from the beginning, there are positives to take away from the performance thus far. Mainly the statistics. At the moment, Kentucky ranks favorably in most advanced statistics compared to the rest of D-1. To give a clearer indication of where Kentucky currently stands, I searched Kenpom.com’s advanced database to see just where the Cats fall.
If some of the above terms don’t make sense, fret not, this link briefly (and simply) explains the above metrics.
As you can see, Kentucky, at least statistically speaking, is well off in most categories as compared to the rest of nation. Ranking 20th in Adjusted Offense and 12th in Adjusted Defense. The efficient offense has been accomplished by excellent shooting percentages and a low turnover rate. However, there’s room for improvement in offensive rebounding. Defensively, the shooting percentages are good as well, but like its offensive counterpart, defensive rebounding shows room for improvement. Turnover percentage is up from recent seasons, but it’s still low due to Calipari’s defensive philosophy.
The most obvious and necessary place for improvement is free throw shooting. After yesterday’s 11-23 performance, Kentucky’s season free throw percentage fell to 63.3% which ranks them 301st nationally. This is Kentucky’s worst free throw shooting team since Eddie Sutton’s 1986-87 Wildcats which shot an abysmal 62.7% from the charity stripe (the 1998-99 squad shot 63.9%). In terms of John Calipari’s history, this is his worst free throw shooting team since the 2008 Memphis squad which finished as National Runner-Up to Kansas.
Overall, there are many areas where the Cats are excelling this season. Shooting percentages are good on both sides and the ball is being cared for (mostly) on the offensive end. However, rebounding and free throw shooting need to improve quickly.