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Kentucky 78, West Virginia 39: Tempo Free Post-Mortem

March 28, 2015 Columns No Comments

At the 16:33 mark, it was 7-2. It only got worse. Kentucky thoroughly dismantled West Virginia 78-39 in the Sweet 16.

Thursday’s night in Cleveland saw the Wildcats post an efficiency of 122. That was double the Mountaineer efficiency of 61. The win brought Kentucky’s record to 37-0, while West Virginia ends the year 25-10.

The pace of the contest was 64 possessions, a moderate tempo as full-court pressing was not an issue the final twenty minutes as Kentucky was enjoying a huge double-digit lead.

The Wildcats dominated all Four Factors. They limited West Virginia to 25.9 percent eFG shooting. The Mountaineers shot 24 percent from two-point range, 28 percent from three and even struggled at the line, shooting just 58 percent. Kentucky shot a hot 52 percent eFG percentage, placing five players in double figures. West Virginia’s turnover rate was 20.3 percent (Kentucky was a solid 15.6), not alarmingly high. This was simply a case of being defended to the highest degree with no easy shots and attempts tightly contested and/or blocked, as the Wildcats rejected 7 attempts on the evening.

Entering the game, Kentucky enjoyed a +28 efficiency margin in SEC play. John Calipari’s club was 115 on the offensive end, yielding just 87 on defense. West Virginia was -2 in Big 12 play. Bob Huggins’ group was 11-7, but showed a 99 on offense against the 101 for defense. In this Sweet 16 contest Kentucky showed a resounding 61 efficiency margin – domination with a capital D.

Freshman Trey Lyles led Kentucky with 14 points and a 21 efficiency. Juwan Staten was West Virginia’s lone double figure scorer with 14 points. Staten’s efficiency was 7, a 5 of 13 shooting night brought that number down. The Mountaineers were led by Jonathan Holton with a 12 efficiency. Holton scored five points but did add a game high 11 boards.

Daxter Miles Jr., who predicted Kentucky’s record would not stay unblemished, in 19 minutes shot 0 for 3, scored zero points and had a -4 efficiency. Not a good night in the forecasting and numbers department for the freshman.

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