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Numbers favor Kentucky by 6 points

NIck Richards (Vicky Graff Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer

On Wednesday night, the 2017-18 Cats joined a short list of six other Kentucky basketball teams that have lost four games in a row when they fell by 10 points at Auburn to the league leading Tigers.

The Cats fought the good fight for 33 minutes, and led by 4 points, 57-53, at the under 8 media timeout with 7:52 remaining. The Cats and Tigers traded baskets to a 59-55 Kentucky lead, and when the Cats had a chance to extend their lead, a 3 point attempt by Hamidou Diallo from the left corner touched every inch of the rim before spinning out and away from the basket.

Auburn scored the next 5 points to move back on top, 60-59, and Auburn extended the lead to 5 points, 66-61 at the under 4 media timeout. Over the final four minutes, Auburn outscored the Cats 10-5 for the final 10 point margin, 76-66.

The Cats return to Rupp Arena for perhaps the most important home game of the 2017-18 basketball season. Given the current four game losing streak, the Cats are desperate to win and stop the streak now because a loss to Alabama on Saturday afternoon, would make this only the third UK team in the last 89 seasons to lose at least five in a row.

The Cats hold a 110-37 overall record over Alabama in a series that goes back to 1923. In games played in Lexington, the Cats hold a 56-10 advantage, and for games played in Kentucky, but not on the Kentucky campus, the Cats are 5-0. During the Calipari Era, the Cats hold a 12-2 advantage, including 5-0 at Rupp.

Alabama currently tied with Missouri and Florida for third in the SEC with a 8-5 conference record, and overall Alabama sports a 17-9 record. Alabama’s most impressive win of the season was over #13 Auburn by 5 in Tuscaloosa, and the Crimson Tide’s most difficult loss was to #95 Minnesota by 5 on a neutral court. Alabama’s 17-9, 8-5 record has produced an ANE of 0.164 ppp (#44) by playing a schedule with a strength of 0.090 ppp (#21).

The Cats’ 17-9, 6-7 record has produced an ANE of 0.171 ppp (#41) by playing a schedule with a strength of 0.106 ppp (#7). The ANE analysis gives the edge to Kentucky by 6 points, 75-69, in a game played at a pace of 74 possessions. Pomeroy has the Kentucky favored by 4, 72-68 with a pace of 70 possessions. Vegas opened today with Kentucky a 3 1/2 point favorite.

Use the following link to see how other UK fans handicap this game at 247Sports, The Cats Pause message board:

You can participate in the score prediction contest at 247Sports at the following link:

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  1. Analysis:

    UK scored its 81 points on 71 possessions (1.141 ppp) for the game, and ALABAMA scored its 71 points on 69 possessions (1.029 ppp).

    Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 44-27, and the Cats controlled the offensive glass 20-9. Kentucky used its 20 second chance possessions to score 20 second chance points, and ALABAMA used its 9 second chance possessions to score 11 second chance points. ALABAMA had an offensive efficiency of 0.870 ppp on its 69 first chance possessions and 1.222 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.859 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 20 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 52.6% of its misses as offensive rebounds while ALABAMA was able to convert 27.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

    UK made 21-28 (75.0%) from the free throw line in this game. ALABAMA made 13-21 [61.9%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-64 overall [43.8%] and 4-11 from long range [36.4%]. For Alabama, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 20-31 [64.5%] and from long range, ALABAMA hit 6-24 [25.0%].

    The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 5.5 possessions. The Cats forced 13 ALABAMA turnovers, one for every 5.3 possessions.

    Next Game On Schedule: Wednesday night at Arkansas for the 28th game of the season and the 15th SEC game of 2018

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