Editor’s Note: Richard Cheeks’ analysis does not factor into play an injury like the one Jarred Vanderbilt has with his pregame statistical analysis.
By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer
Despite ending the regular season with a loss at Florida last Saturday, the Cats earned the #4 Seed in this weekend’s SEC Tournament when Missouri stopped Arkansas on Saturday evening. But for a loss to Georgia in the second round of the SEC Tournament, Missouri could have been the Cats’ first post season opponent. But, it would not be so.
Since last Saturday, the Cats have lost, at least temporarily, the services of Jarred Vanderbilt due to an ankle injury sustained in Practice on Tuesday. The UK statement on Jarred Vanderbilt’s condition is he is day-to-day, but most do not expect him to see action Friday. This is a serious loss for the Cats as they begin their “second season.” Despite the rust, his high motor coupled with his game developing with his experience lifted the quality of the Cats’ play. A direct comparison of the team’s ANE for the 17 games prior to his return (0.171 ppp) to the team’s ANE for the 14 games since his return (0.195 ppp), it is clear that his impact on this team has been significant and measurable.
In Georgia’s game on Thursday against Missouri, the Bulldogs from Athens, Georgia avenged a 12 point loss at Missouri by beating the Tigers by 12 points in the SEC Tournament’s second round game. The Dawgs advanced to the second round after an impressive 16 point win over Vanderbilt in the first round of the tournament. Therefore, a red hot Georgia team will be playing its 3rd game in less than 48 hours when it takes the floor on Friday afternoon to face a well-rested, albeit a Vanderbilt-less, group of Kentucky Wildcats.
The Cats faced the Dawgs in their first SEC game of the 2018 season, getting a very difficult 5 point win at Rupp. Georgia finished the regular season with a 16-14, 7-11 record, including losing 3 of their last 4 games, and 6 of their last 9. However, in the post season they advanced to the SEC Quarterfinals with a 2 game winning streak playing very solid basketball in the process.
Georgia’s 18-14 record has produced an ANE of 0.126 ppp (#65) by playing a schedule with a strength of 0.1030 ppp (#15). The Cats’ 21-10 record has produced an ANE of 0.188 ppp (#29) by playing a schedule with a strength of 0.1095 ppp (#10). The ANE analysis gives the edge to Kentucky by 5 points, 73-68, in a game played at a pace of 70 possessions. Pomeroy has Kentucky favored by 5, 70-65 with a pace of 65 possessions.
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