By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer
For the second week in a row, the Cats will be one of the teams featured on ESPN’s College Game Day. Last week, the Game Day Crew gathered at Rupp Arena when the Cats hosted the Gators. Tomorrow, the Game Day Crew will be in Morgantown, West Virginia when Kentucky visits for the Big12-SEC challenge.
Kentucky has played West Virginia 20 times, winning 15 and losing 5 times. Since 1971, these teams have played 5 times, with the Cats winning 4. The only modern loss to the Mountaineers was in the 2010 NCAA Regional Final (Elite 8) in Calipari’s first year at Kentucky. These teams have played twice in Morgantown. In 1941, the Cats fell to the Mountaineers by 12 and in 1971, the Cats got out of town with a 106-100 win.
#9 West Virginia brings a 16-4, 5-3 record into this game. After losing their season opener to #32 Texas A&M by 23 on a neutral court, the Mountaineers won their next 15 games, as they climbed into the top 10 ANE teams in the nation, and running off an early start 4-0 conference record. During this 15 game winning streak, West Virginia beat five top 50 teams, #4 Virginia by 7, #36 Missouri by 4, #33 Kansas State by 8, #18 Oklahoma by 13, and #42 Baylor by 3 points. Then, West Virginia hit on hard times losing 3 of their last 4 games. In this four game sequence, the Mountaineers lost at #10 Texas Tech, at home to #7 Kansas, and at #23 TCU. West Virginia’s only win in the last four games was over #41 Texas by 35 in Morgantown last Saturday.
West Virginia has played with an ANE of 0.265 ppp (#9) after having played a schedule strength of 0.059 ppp (#33).
The Cats are ranked #40 with an ANE of 0.173 ppp after having played a schedule with a schedule strength of 0.072 ppp (#18). The ANE analysis has the Mountaineers favored by 11 points, 79-68 in a game played at a pace of 77 possessions. Pomeroy has the Mountaineers favored by 8, 79-71 with a pace of 73 possessions.
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