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  • UCLA Bruins - December 20, 2014 - 3:30 PM EST - United Center, Chicago - CBS

Stats and trends near the halfway point

Current stats

With Kentucky’s nonconference schedule in the rearview mirror and the Southeastern Conference schedule looming, UK’s regular season is nearing its halfway point. What better time to take a look at pertinent statistical trends as the Cats continue to learn and grow as a team?

Toward that end, John Calipari revealed here at CoachCal.com on Thursday that he and strength and conditioning coach Rock Oliver have been monitoring the team’s rate of physical exertion over the last few weeks. The data retrieved has been used to teach the Cats about the improvement needed in conditioning, toughness, effort and exertion. The real-life, tangible results of UK’s efforts are readily apparent in many of the statistical evaluations contained in this post.

Team trends

Shooting stars – Through UK’s first five games the team made 30-of-65 3-point attempts (46.1 percent). In their next six games the Cats connected on just 32-of-109 shots from long distance (29.4 percent). Finally, over the last two games, UK made 20-of-47 attempts from beyond the arc (42.6 percent).

More 3-point attempts – After averaging 13.2 3-point shots per game through the first six games of the year, UK is averaging 20.3 shots over the last seven games.

Improving rebounding – In the Wildcats’ first six contests they grabbed 53 offensive rebounds in 171 chances (31.0 percent). In the last seven games the Cats have nabbed 102 offensive boards in 240 opportunities for a 42.5 percent offensive rebounding rate.

More scoring opportunities – After averaging 54.2 shots per game in UK’s first six games, the Wildcats are averaging 63.4 shots per game in the last seven contests.

Higher scoring average – Since averaging a combined 52.5 points per game against Notre Dame and Baylor, the Wildcats are putting up an average of 83.2 points per game in the last six games.

Kentucky’s shooting percentage has gone up since the Notre Dame and Baylor losses thanks to high-percentage shots like this one from Nerlens Noel. (photo by Chris Reynolds)

More accurate shooting – Since making only 40-of-118 overall shots against Notre Dame and Baylor (33.9 percent), the Cats have been true on 183-of-373 shots from the field in the six games since (49.1 percent).

More free-throw attempts – The Wildcats took an average of 22.1 free throws in their first eight games. That number has risen slightly to 24.4 charity-stripe tries in the last five games.

Up and down from the line – Kentucky has made 70.0-plus percent of its free throws only three times all year, but the team has accomplished that feat twice in the last three games (77.8 percent versus Marshall, 75.0 percent versus Eastern Michigan).

Increasing theft – In the last seven games, UK is averaging 9.1 steals per contest after averaging only 6.3 thefts per game through the first six games.

Improved defense – Through the Cats’ first eight games they held only one opponent to less than 36.0 percent field-goal shooting, but in the last five games they have limited four opponents to less than 36.0 percent.

Disrupting the opposition’s offense – UK’s opposition averaged 13.2 assists per game through its first six games. Over the last seven games the Wildcats have held opponents to only 8.3 dimes per contest.

Increasingly defensive on the glass – The Wildcats, through their first six games, allowed the opposition to grab 36.7 percent of available offensive rebounds (81 of 221). In the last seven games, UK has stepped up its defensive rebounding effort, allowing teams to snag only 26.5 percent of their misses (69 of 260).

Blocked shots down – Kentucky’s averaged 8.0 blocks per game in the first 10 games of the year but only 6.0 blocks the last three games.

Individual trends

Nerlens Noel – Noel averaged 9.1 shots per game in UK’s first seven games, making 32-of-64 shots (50.0 percent). In the last six games he’s taking an average of 5.5 shots per game and has made 22 of 32 from the field (68.8 percent) … Through the first six games of the year Noel grabbed 8.3 rebounds per game. In the last seven games he’s averaging 10.1 boards per contest … UK’s big man in the middle averaged 2.9 blocks per game in UK’s first seven games. In the last six games he’s swatting an average of 4.3 shots per game … Noel has had at least two steals in every game except two and is averaging 2.6 thefts per contest … Through UK’s first five games Noel averaged 3.0 assists per game. In the last eight games he’s handing out an average of .9 dimes per contest.

Archie Goodwin – In UK’s first four games of the year Goodwin recorded 13 assists (3.3 per game) and 14 turnovers (3.5). In the last nine games he has 37 assists (4.1 per game) and 27 turnovers (3.0 per game) … Goodwin connected on at least 50.0 percent of his shots in three of UK’s first seven games, but he has made more than half his shots in five of the last six games … Through the first six games of the year Goodwin had four steals (.7 per game). In the last seven games he’s averaging 1.4 pilfers per game … In the first five games of the year Goodwin made 5-of-7 shots from distance (71.4 percent). In the last eight games he’s connected on only 5-of-18 shots from 3-point range (27.8 percent) … In UK’s first six games Goodwin made 25-of-55 2-point shots (45.5 percent). In the last seven games he has connected on 32-of-63 attempts inside the arc (50.8 percent) … In the last three games Goodwin has made 15-of-17 free throws (88.2 percent). The first 10 games of the year he made only 47-of-72 shots (65.3 percent).

Ryan Harrow – In Harrow’s first five games of the year he made only 6-of-23 overall shots (26.1 percent). He’s connected on 27-of-53 shot attempts (50.9 percent) over the last four … In his first five games Harrow averaged 2.8 points per game. That average has ballooned to 16.8 points over the last four games … In Harrow’s first six games he made 1-of-11 3-point shots (9.1 percent). In the last three games he has made 6-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc (60.0 percent) … In his first three games of the year Harrow had four assists and two turnovers. Over the last six games he has 27 assists (4.5 per game) and seven turnovers (1.2 per game) … UK’s point guard has grabbed an average of 3.7 rebounds in the last three games after recording only 1.5 rebounds per game in his first six contests … In his first five games Harrow had three steals (.6 per game), in the last four games he has 11 thefts (2.8 per game) … Through his first six games Harrow took only five free throws, making one (20.0 percent), in the last three games he has made 7-of-11 from the charity stripe (63.6 percent).

Willie Cauley-Stein – In Kentucky’s first six games Cauley-Stein averaged 3.8 rebounds. In the last seven games he’s pulling down an average of 7.7 boards per contest, recording his first two career double-doubles … In the Wildcats’ first seven games Cauley-Stein had two steals (.3 per game). Over the last six games he has 11 steals  (1.8 per game) … After handing out only six assists against 11 turnovers in UK’s first nine games, Cauley-Stein has eight assists and only four turnovers in the last four games … Cauley-Stein had nine blocks in UK’s first six games (1.5 per game), but he has 18 swats in the last seven contests (2.6 per game).

Alex Poythress – Since grabbing zero offensive rebounds in back-to-back games versus LIU-Brooklyn and Notre Dame, Poythress has averaged 2.6 offensive boards in the last seven games … Poythress took double-digit shots in five of UK’s first seven games (9.1 per game), but he has not reached double-figure attempts in the last six contests, averaging 7.0 shots per game in that time … In the first five games of the year Poythress averaged 18.4 points per game. In the last eight games he is averaging 11.3 points per contest … He has zero steals in the last six games … The Clarksville, Tenn., native averaged 7.4 rebounds in UK’s first five games, 5.6 boards in Kentucky’s last eight contests … Poythress took two 3-point shots through the first six games of the year (making one), but he has taken 13 treys in the last seven games, making six (46.2 percent).

Kyle Wiltjer – Wiltjer averaged 10.3 points per game through UK’s first eight games. He’s averaging 14.8 over the last five contests … In UK’s first three games Wiltjer made 12-of-19 attempts from beyond the arc (63.2 percent). He went through a slump over the next six games, connecting on only 5-of-30 shots (16.7 percent), but he’s regained his form in the last four games by making 16-of-27 3-pointers (59.3 percent) … In the first eight games of the year the Oregon native made 28-of-70 overall shots (40.0 percent). In the last five he has made 27-of-51 shots (52.9 percent) … Wiltjer has made 22-of-45 2-point shots on the year (48.9 percent) … Through the Wildcats’ first nine games Wiltjer recorded seven offensive rebounds (.8 per game). In the last four games he’s grabbed nine offensive boards (2.3 per game).

Julius Mays – Versus LIU-Brooklyn, Notre Dame, Samford and Eastern Michigan, Mays made 12-of-24 3-point shots (50.0 percent). In UK’s other nine games he has connected on just 8-of-41 attempts from distance (19.5 percent) … In UK’s first six games Mays averaged 1.8 rebounds per game. In the last seven games he has averaged 3.9 boards per contest … Mays has dished out 20 assists (3.3 per game) to only five turnovers (.8 per game) in the last six games … On the season Mays has an outstanding 3.1 assist/turnover ratio (46 assists/15 turnovers) … Mays has scored in double figures in six games this year, averaging 13.0 points in those games. In the other seven games he averaged 5.7 points per contest … Against EMU, Mays missed only his second free throw of the season … For the season Mays has made 24-of-26 shots from the stripe (92.3 percent).

Jarrod Polson – In only 11 minutes of action the Jessamine County native grabbed a season-high four rebounds against Eastern Michigan … On the year, Polson has dished 15 assists to only seven turnovers, a 2.1 assist/turnover ratio.