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Numbers favor Texas A&M by 6 over Cats

Kentucky’s defense will have to stop Texas A&M tonight. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer

On Tuesday night, the Cats dropped their second home game of the season, this time to Tennessee by 2 points, 61-59. The Cats held a lead late in the game, but a pair of turnovers in the last three possessions of the game allowed Tennessee to move back into the lead and secure their second win of the season over the Cats. This is the first time since 2006 for the Volunteers to win a game in Rupp over the Cats, and the first time since 1999 that the Volunteers swept a two game season series over a Kentucky team.

The loss Tuesday was the second time this season that the Cats have dropped back to back games. No Coach Calipari UK team has lost three in a row, and since Adoph Rupp arrived in Lexington prior to the 1930 season 89 years ago, only 14 UK teams have lost 3 or more in a row. This team is treading on dangerous ground and will be walking on very thin ice when it takes on the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday night in Reed Arena at College Station.

The Cats hold an all-time 9-3 record over the Aggies. The Cats are 2-1 (all games in Lexington) in games played prior to Texas A&M joining the SEC for the 2013 season, and 7-2 over the Aggies since this matchup because an annual event in 2013.

In the most recent 5 ½ seasons of regular competition, these teams have played four time in College Station, four times in Lexington, and once in Nashville in the 2016 SEC Tournament. The SEC Tournament game, and three of the four games in College Station required five overtime periods to determine a winner. In addition, the most recent game between these teams, about a month ago in Lexington, required an official to swallow his whistle with under 4 seconds remaining to allow the Cats to hang on and escape in Rupp with a fragile 1 point win, 74-73.

Texas A&M started the season like gang busters, beating #9 West Virginia by 23 points on a neutral court. The Aggies won their first 7, beating Oklahoma State by 17, Penn State by 11, and USC by 16 in the process. Then the Aggies began to fall on hard times with injuries and disciplinary issues that made key players unavailable.

Their trend took a precipitous decline as a result and dispite an 11-1 non-conference record (only loss at #21 Arizona by 3 points on December 5, 2017, Texas A&M opened SEC play with five straight defeats, including their 1 point loss at Rupp. However, in recent weeks, the Aggies have been getting their players back, and have reversed their declining trend recently. After their 0-5 SEC start, the Aggies have won 5 of their last 6 SEC games including a road win on Wednesday night at Auburn, the SEC pace setters at the moment.

For all the talk about UK’s “great upside” which is rooted primarily in the wishful thinking, or as so many fans have been saying since Wednesday, Hope, it is Texas A&M that has the large upside as it prepares to make it stretch run toward March.

Since the Cats and Aggies met at Rupp on January 9, each team has played 8 games. Texas A&M has won 6 times, losing at Tennessee by 13 four days after losing in Rupp, and losing at Kansas by 11. The Cats have won 4 and lost 4 times since hanging on to beat Texas A&M by 1 at Rupp. While the Aggies give every indication that they have recovered from their early season personnel losses and are trending upward, Kentucky appears to be struggling to find its heart and soul. Following the West Virginia game, it still seemed possible that this team would actually turn the corner necessary for a strong finish, but this team’s play in the three games since West Virginia shout a different message. Now the Cats need a road win at Texas A&M to avoid the dubious achievement of being only the 15th UK team of the last 89 years to lose 3 in a row in the same season.

Texas A&M’s 16-8, 5-6 record has produced an ANE of 0.200 ppp (#22) by playing a schedule with a strength of 0.100 ppp (#6). The Cats’ 17-7, 6-5 record has produced an ANE of 0.177 ppp (#33) by playing a schedule with a strength of 0.094 ppp (#10).

The ANE analysis gives the edge to Texas A&M by 6 points, 75-69, in a game played at a pace of 74 possessions. Pomeroy has the Texas A&M favored by 4, 71-67 with a pace of 68 possessions. Vegas opened today with Texas A&M a 4 1/2 point favorite.

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

http://bigbluefans4uk.com/2017-18DataandWritings/247_PREDICTIONS/25_Predictions.png

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

https://kentucky.247sports.com/Board/296/Contents/Texas-AM-Prediction-Thread-114761750

13 comments

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  1. One, of the many, sad things about the play of this team is that they have managed to astonish most of the national pundits that fell for the star ratings like we all did. I am watching some of the other games on TV today and the way some of these guys are Balling for their teams with their attitudes, skills, passion, and energy, and I am sure many would like to be wearing the big blue on their backs. Then you do a quick visual replay of the body language of Knox, Diallo, and PJ either just standing around or running around totally out of control on the floor. I am not sure Chris Mullen could do anything with this team.

    1. I’m trying to decide if I want to watch tonight’s game.
      Something keeps telling me that Bonanza reruns would be more entertaining.

  2. Well don’t watch them all you guys gonna do whine and dine regardless. Even know it hasn’t been pretty but I’m sure the hel not l gonna give up until the last buzzer ends the season. It’s not like the cats has suffer a season like this before and following them since the late 60s. Just suck it up and cheer them on regardless it’s not end of the world un less the Lord said so. Gess!! Go Cats!

  3. If you think tonight is going to be bad wait until Auburn gets a hold of us. That is going to be a real laugher. They were saying today how hard they play and that they always have a chip on their shoulder. This UK team has no idea what that means. They are a real embarrassment to the historical standards of UK BB.

  4. I’ve seen worst uk teams than this. Maybe by your standards. I’m not worrying about Auburn Bruce Pearl is a sleazy coach it’s a shame that he’s got a bad reputation of cheating because he can coach I will give him credit for that.

  5. Tennessee, Texas A&M and Auburn is the 2018 SEC version of murderous row, and UK is in the middle of it tonight

  6. You guys live too much egative mind. Not Faithful cat fans in my book Ca has a good track record of turning a team around at the last of season. Will this happened with this team time will tell . You guys give up too easy shame on you..

    1. Enjoy the game.
      I’ll be watching Shrek with the grandkids.

  7. It looks to me like this team has just quit. They think they are going to the NCAA Tournament just because they came to UK. They do not understand you have to earn it. There is probably not 3-4 players on this team that understand what it means to earn something. They certainly don’t understand team play or giving full effort.

    1. Is it over?
      How much did A&M win by?

      1. As many as they wanted

    2. I fear you are right OldFan about players just assuming they are in NCAA. Of course, many UK fans believe the same

  8. Analysis:

    UK scored its 74 points on 74 possessions (1.000 ppp) for the game, and TEXAS A&M scored its 85 points on 73 possessions (1.164 ppp).

    Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 43-40, and Kentucky controlled the offensive glass 13-12. Kentucky used its 13 second chance possessions to score 11 second chance points, and TEXAS A&M used its 12 second chance possessions to score 13 second chance points. TEXAS A&M had an offensive efficiency of 0.986 ppp on its 73 first chance possessions and 1.083 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 851 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 0.846 ppp on its 13 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 31.7% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TEXAS A&M was able to convert 28.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

    UK made 8-17 (47.1%) from the free throw line in this game. TEXAS A&M made 14-23 [60.9%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 30-66 overall [45.5%] and 6-15 from long range [40.0%]. For Texas A&M, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 22-43 [51.2%] and from long range, TEXAS A&M hit 9-23 [39.1%].

    The Cats committed 12 turnovers, one for every 6.2 possessions. The Cats forced 9 TEXAS A&M turnovers, one for every 8.1 possessions.

    Next Game On Schedule: Wednesday evening at Auburn at 9:00 pm for the 26th game of the season and the 13th SEC game of 2018

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