Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How Bad is Kentucky Basketball?

I read the questions that fans and the media are asking about KY basketball. I haven’t watched a game, but when I look at the data the answers become absolutely clear. Thankfully, Pomeroy provides us with what we need. I think BCG must frequent his site and look at the same things that I do.

1. How good is Patrick Patterson? Should the offense run through him?
His numbers so far are better than Randolph Morris’, except for blocks and ability to get to the FT line. Morris was 21.9% of our scoring last year, and one of the best shot-blockers in the country. Patterson isn’t getting the touches that Morris did, and that’s the problem that Coach G keeps harping on. Fans don’t seem to realize this.

2. Why in the world is Ramon Harris starting over Crawford?
Because per-possession Harris doesn’t look for his own shot as much as Crawford, gets more steals than Crawford, is a better rebounder than Crawford, and gets to the FT line more often than Crawford. If you want the offense to primarily run through Patterson, Harris is the guy you want to get more minutes. The downside is his turnover ratio, which is why he gets yanked. Look at the numbers.

Crawford is a ball hog. Coming into the UAB game, Crawford was taking over 38% of shots while he was in the game (it’s now 33.3% of shots). There are 5 guys on the floor, and Patterson should get the majority of shots, not Crawford. 27.1% of KY’s possessions are ended by Crawford, compared to 22.9% for Patterson.

Alex Legion was the same problem, which is why he was benched so famously.

3. Why does Michael Porter play so much?
Because Porter looks to shoot less than anyone on the team. His steal rate is also the best on the team.

4. How bad is Kentucky?
Bad. Our Sagarin is now 149, probably an all-time low. Our rating fell from 63 to 149 once he eliminated his pre-season peg after Sunday. Our RPI has falled from 158 before the Liberty game to 177 today. Making the NCAA tournament appears highly unlikely.

I think the only recent season we can compare this to is Team Turmoil of 2000-2001, where we started 3-5 (but against a much tougher schedule). That team went on to win the SEC tournament and make it to the Sweet 16.

5. Should Kentucky be this bad?
John Clay wrote a column where he argued Kentucky shouldn’t be this bad. A couple days later he interviewed Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News and DeCourcy basically said “Of course they should be this bad.”

Jasper and Meeks are out, so we have only 43.6% of our scoring from last year (not a very good team anyway). Jared Carter sat out last season, wasn’t great before he got hurt, and clearly isn’t up to speed now. We counted on Alex Legion for scoring, and he’s gone too. Morakinyo Williams wasn’t supposed to be very good, and A.J. Stewart plays like a 3-star freshman.

I think Billy Gillispie looks at the data. I can look at the numbers and understand what he is doing, why can’t the fans and the media?

1 comment:

Wes said...

Having watched many of the games this season, this is the worst UK team I have never seen.