Bad shooters + worse shots = a 5-10 start for Kentucky Basketball.
As much as we love advanced analytics, at times they make us want to forget this season even exists. The shooting woes for the Wildcats this year have been well-documented and it’s culminating into one of the worst stretches of UK hoops across program history. But Kentucky’s inability to score the ball consistently is even worse than you might have thought.
According to a pair of graphics posted to Twitter by @5th_Factor, Kentucky’s shooters are taking some of the worst shots in college basketball despite already grading out as one of the worst shooting teams in the country. Keep in mind, the ‘Cats rank 314th in all of Divison I with a 29.2 percent 3-point shooting clip.
WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT BELOW!!!
Who Takes Good Shots And Who Has Good Shooters? (updated bc there were no charted games yesterday)
I'm working on an opponent-adjusted version of this too… pic.twitter.com/TwGWXCs9ky
— Fifth Factor Plots (@5th_Factor) February 2, 2021
According to the chart, Kentucky is a team full of bad shooters taking bad shots. The figures are based on a player’s shooting ability combined with their shot selection. The numbers were calculated through /ncaahoopR, which is a database that scrapes play-by-play data and returns it to the user in a tidy format. Essentially, this graphic says what the Big Blue Nation has already been told over and over again: “Kentucky has shooters, not makers.”
Top-ranked teams such as Gonzaga, Baylor, and Michigan are, unsurprisingly, labeled as having good shooters who take good shots. Some of Kentucky’s rivals, such as Tennessee and Louisville, rank as having good shooters but ones who take bad shots. The Duke Blue Devils are literally smack dab in the middle of the chart.
Looking at the shooting zones, it would appear that Kentucky does have success from one area of the floor: the right-side corner.
That little area of green specs is the spot on the court where Kentucky apparently takes its best shot attempts. When stepping back and analyzing this season, the numbers make sense. The Wildcats have consistently attempted long-2s and contested jumpers all year which has been combined with a lack of strength and finishing ability when attacking the rim.
There’s still nine games left to try and turn the ship around.