Sidelines with John Clay

Kentucky basketball’s offensive numbers continue to drop

Kentucky freshman forward Kevin Knox (5) drove to the basket while contested by a Florida defender during UK’s 66-64 loss to the Gators in Rupp Arena on Saturday Jan. 20, 2018 in Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky freshman forward Kevin Knox (5) drove to the basket while contested by a Florida defender during UK’s 66-64 loss to the Gators in Rupp Arena on Saturday Jan. 20, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Lexington Herald-Leader

After back-to-back losses to South Carolina and Florida, Kentucky is likely to slip out of the AP Top 25 as its computer ratings continue to drop.

The Cats are now 33rd in Ken Pomeroy’s overall efficiency rankings. UK is 59th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 28th in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Here is how that No. 59 ranking on offense compares to previous Calipari teams:

▪ 2009-10: 22

▪ 2010-11: 8

▪ 2011-12: 2

▪ 2012-13: 38

▪ 2013-14: 14

▪ 2014-15: 6

▪ 2015-16: 5

▪ 2016-17: 12

▪ 2017-18: 59

Kentucky is 23rd in the Sagarin Ratings.

The Cats are now 4-3 in the SEC. Here’s how that compares to Cal’s previous seven teams after seven conference games:

▪ 2009-10: 6-1

▪ 2010-11: 4-3

▪ 2011-12: 7-0

▪ 2012-13: 5-2

▪ 2013-14: 5-2

▪ 2014-15: 7-0

▪ 2015-16: 5-2

▪ 2016-17: 7-0

▪ 2017-18: 4-3

To the links:

▪ Here are my three takeaways from the Cats’ two-point loss to the Gators. John Calipari was working hard after the game to put a positive spin on UK’s first home loss to an unranked team in 58 games.

▪ Calipari says there’s no need for fans to hit the panic button, reports Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. Calipari attributed many of Saturday’s shortcomings to “freshman mistakes” that are correctable. UK turned it over 16 times.

▪ Kentucky missed 18 straight jumpers at one stretch, reports Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. UK shot 40 percent, its third-worst shooting percentage in its 19 games this season. The Cats are struggling behind the three-point line.

▪ After Zion Williamson’s surprise commitment to Duke, Kentucky has few recruiting options, reports Roberts. “The only other prospect in the class that Calipari has shown any interest in over the past few weeks is 7-footer Moses Brown, who played in front of UK’s coaches at the Hoophall Classic in Massachusetts a few days ago and hosted Calipari for an in-home visit in the fall.”

▪ Florida scrapped its way to an upset win, writes Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun. “The game came down to one last defensive stand, after senior forward Keith Stone missed the front end of a one-and-one with 19.9 seconds left. And the Gators delivered. First, grad transfer Egor Koulechov blocked a drive by Kentucky freshman guard Quade Green with 6.6 seconds left. Then, off an in-bounds play, Florida guard Jalen Hudson blocked a P.J. Washington drive, to the ire of the crowd of more than 24,000 that felt there should have been a foul call.”

▪ The game ball should go to Chris Chiozza, writes Fletcher Page of the Courier-Journal. “Give it to Chiozza, the diminutive point guard who is the heart and soul of the Gators team. He seemed to influence every possession while on the floor, scoring, assisting and providing a steady hand and mentality in a back-and-forth contest. And he did all that while struggling with cramps in the second half, according to Florida coach Mike White.”

▪ It was a rare Florida win at Rupp, writes Chris Harry of Florida Athletics. The win snapped a 30-game SEC home court winning streak for UK and was just the fourth win by the Gators in Rupp since 2006.

▪ Calipari’s positive spin won’t calm concerns, writes Eric Crawford of WDRB. “Second, and of perhaps greater concern, Kentucky lost to a team that didn’t play all that well. Florida shot just 33 percent from the field and went just 6 of 30 from three-point range, yet the Gators walked out of Rupp with a story to tell after surviving 66-64 to take joint control of the Southeastern Conference race with Auburn, at least for the time being.”

▪ Kyle Tucker of SEC Country also weighs in on Calipari’s contention that everything is fine and dandy with the Cats. “To be fair, the 18th-ranked — not for long — Wildcats did do some really good and potentially encouraging things against the Gators. Namely, Kentucky (14-5, 4-3 in SEC) held Florida (14-5, 6-1 in SEC) well below its season scoring average (82 ppg) and 3-point percentage (.397).”

Kentucky’s field goal shooting game-by-game

Date

Opponent

FG

FGA

Pct

11/10/17

UtahValley

26

66

0.394

11/12/17

Vermont

26

56

0.464

11/14/17

vsKansas

23

55

0.418

11/17/17

ETSU

33

58

0.569

11/20/17

Troy

26

59

0.441

11/22/17

IPFW

33

55

0.600

11/26/17

UIC

42

63

0.667

12/2/17

Harvard

26

56

0.464

12/9/17

vsMonmouth

31

58

0.534

12/16/17

Virginia Tech

33

68

0.485

12/23/17

vsUCLA

29

68

0.426

12/29/17

Louisville

30

62

0.484

12/31/17

Georgia

17

54

0.315

1/3/18

@LSU

31

61

0.508

1/6/18

@Tennessee

24

52

0.462

1/9/18

Texas A&M

24

43

0.558

1/13/18

@Vanderbilt

23

43

0.535

1/16/18

@S Carolina

22

49

0.449

1/20/18

Florida

26

65

0.400

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