By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer
On Wednesday night, the Cats we had expected to see from the beginning finally made an appearance at Rupp Arena and when all the dust settled on the game against Monmouth, the Cats overwhelmed the Hawks by 46 points, 90-44. This level of performance was a very welcome sight. For the first time this season, the Cats turned in a full 40 minutes of domination.
However, November’s schedule is completed, and on Saturday the Cats make their first appearance for their five game December schedule. UNC Greensboro enters the game at Rupp as the #52 ranked ANE team. This is quite a step up in the quality of competition from #328 Monmouth, #302 VMI, and #280 North Dakota.
Greensboro brings a 7-1 record into Rupp Arena on Saturday. The Spartans’ only loss occurred in their second game of the year at #55 LSU by 6 points. However, Greensboro next toughest opponent has been against #115 Louisiana Tech on a neutral court, and Greensboro won that game by 7. Two of the Greensboro wins have come at the expense of non-D1 opponents Johnson & Wales and Greensboro.
The Greensboro body of work against D1 opponents has produced an ANE of 0.143 points per possession. The 46 point win on Wednesday night raised UK’s ANE from the 0.085 ppp it had entering the Monmouth game to 0.147 ppp entering the Greensboro game on Saturday. That surge, propelled by the Monmouth blowout, gives UK slimmest statistical edge over the Spartans if they were playing at a neutral location.
The Rupp home court advantage elevates the edge for the Cats to 4-point favorite, 79-75, in a game played at a pace of 72 possessions. Pomeroy projects a 11 point Kentucky win over Greensboro, 81-70, at a pace of about 70 possessions. The primary focus on this game against UNC Greensboro is whether the final margin is 15 or more, or a dreaded loss.
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