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Numbers favor Auburn by one point

PJ Washington (Vicky Graff Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer

On Tuesday night, the Cats level of play returned to the impressive levels of performance they had demonstrated in late December when the Cats beat a strong UNC team, and left the YUM center with an impressive win over Louisville. Any SEC road win by 20 points is noteworthy. However, to be fair, this Georgia group is one of the weaker teams in the SEC this season. On Saturday, the Cats venture to Auburn, Alabama to face the #10 Auburn Tigers.

Before getting into today’s matchup, let’s put the Georgia win into some context. The 20 points is the largest road margin of the year, and the 4th largest game margin of the year. The 20 point margin is the largest game margin since the Cats beat Utah by 27 at Rupp on December 15, a month ago. The game ANE was an impressive 0.465 points per possession, the second highest single game ANE of the season, second only to the 0.567 ppp posted at the YUM Center against the Cards.

The Cats will need another effort on par with their Louisville and Georgia road wins on Saturday when Coach Calipari leads his Cats into Auburn to face his old nemesis Bruce Pearl and the Auburn Tigers.

Auburn enters this game with a 13-3 (12-3 against D-1 opponents) record. Auburn opened their season like gang busters, rolling out to a 5-1 record against D-1 opponents and an average ANE after six games of an impressive 0.369 ppp. Auburn’s only loss in this opening sequence of games was a 6-point loss to #1 Duke on a neutral court. However, their last 9 games have been much less impressive, with a record of 7-2 and an average ANE over these 9 games of only 0.185 ppp.

The losses during the most recent nine games have been by 7 points at #21 NC State, and by 15 points at #36 Mississippi. The Tigers are undefeated in nine home games this season. Auburn’s most impressive wins thus far this season have been over #44 Arizona by 16 points on a neutral court. The Tigers’ schedule has a SOS value of 0.0538 (#32). The Tigers’ ANE for the season stands at 0.258 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.240 ppp.

The Cats’ schedule has a SOS value of 0.0216 ppp (#96). The Cats’ ANE for the season stands at 0.211 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.296 ppp.

The ANE (Last 5 game basis) analysis indicates an Auburn margin of 1 point, 72-71, in a game played at a pace of 71 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates a 9-point Auburn advantage (76-67). Pomeroy has this game as 4 points in Auburn’s favor, 74-70, at a pace of 68 possessions.

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:

1 comment

  1. Analysis:

    UK scored its 82 points on 67 possessions (1.224 ppp) for the game, and AUBURN scored its 80 points on 69 possessions (1.1.59 ppp).

    Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 33-26, and Kentucky won the battle on the offensive glass 9-7. Kentucky won the second chance point battle 9-2. AUBURN had an offensive efficiency of 1.130 ppp on its 69 first chance possessions and 0.286 ppp for its 7 second chance possessions. UK had 1.090 ppp on its 67 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 32.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while AUBURN was able to convert 22.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

    UK hit well from the free throw line in this game, making 24-33 (72.7%]. AUBURN made 15-20 [75.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 26-48 overall [54.2%] and 6-15 from long range [40.0%]. For Auburn, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 13-26 [50.0%] and from long range, AUBURN hit 13-30 [43.3%].

    The Cats committed 13 turnovers, one for every 5.2 possessions. The Cats forced 11 AUBURN turnovers, one for every 6.3 possessions.

    Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening at Rupp for the eighteenth regular season game, and sixth game of the 2019 SEC season against Mississippi State.

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