By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer
Kentucky and Kansas have accumulated the most college basketball wins than any other programs, and they face off yet again in the 2019 SEC-Big 12 challenge at Rupp Arena on Saturday. The Wire Service polls currently have them ranked #8 and #9 respectively.
In the race for most NCAA wins by a program, the Cats currently hold an uncomfortably thin 12 game advantage over the Jayhawks, and curiously, the series record between UK and Kansas is a 13 game advantage in favor of the Cats, 22-9.
During the Calipari Era, the Cats and Jayhawks have each won 3 times in their 6 games with Coach Calipari holding the advantage in the first 3 games and Coach Self getting the better end of the bargain in the last 3 games. Kentucky has prevailed in 3 of the 4 games played on a neutral court, and Kansas has prevailed in the two games played at either the Phog or Rupp.
If this were baseball, Saturday’s game would be akin to the 7th game of the World Series.
This season has been a tail of two teams for Kentucky and Kansas. As we all can recount all too well, the Cats’ start was dismal but since the 7th game, their adjusted net efficiency haa been on a steady, and virtually uninterrupted climb to the present season long ANE of about 0.253 ppp. Kansas on the other hand started the season very strong, with an ANE of about 0.3 ppp throught their first 7 games. Since then, the Jayhawks have been on a steady, uninterrupted slide to the current ANE of about 0.241 ppp.
In short, over the last 2 weeks, the Cats have been outperforming their average while the Jayhawks have been underperforming theirs.
Each team enters this game with 3 losses. The Kentucky losses have been to #1 Duke, #45 Seton Hall, and at #52 Alabama. Kansas has taken it on the chin at #63 Arizona State, at #11 Iowa State, and at #97 West Virginia. Kentucky claims impressive victories against #7 UNC, at #15 Louisville, at #10 Auburn, and against #31 Mississippi State. Kansas has impressive wins over #3 Michigan State, #5 Tennessee, #11 Iowa State, and #25 TCU.
The Jayhawks’ schedule has a SOS value of 0.1206 ppp (#1). The Kansas ANE for the season stands at 0.241 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.217 ppp.
The Cats’ schedule has a SOS value of 0.0489 ppp (#42). The Cats’ ANE for the season stands at 0.253 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.321 ppp.
The ANE (Last 5 game basis) analysis indicates a Kentucky margin of 12 points, 77-65, in a game played at a pace of 72 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates a 6-point Kentucky advantage (77-71). Pomeroy has this game as 4 points in Kentucky’s favor, 73-69, at a pace of 69 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: