By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer
On Tuesday, the Cats face Vanderbilt in Nashville in a rematch of the game these teams played at Rupp on January 12 that saw the Cats scratch their way to an unimpressive 9-point win, 56-47. Since that time, the Cats won back to back road games at #105 Georgia by 20, and a tough 2-point win at #13 Auburn. The Cats then won impressively at Rupp over #28 Mississippi State by 21 and over #17 Kansas by 8.
Now the Cats return to the road for their first rematch of the season. Vanderbilt, since their loss at Rupp, has lost all four of their games, three SEC games all in Nashville against # 108 South Carolina by 3, #28 Mississippi State by 16, and #5 Tennessee by 5 in OT before losing at #23 Oklahoma by 31 points in the SEC-Big 12 challenge last Saturday.
Vanderbilt’s fortunes have been declining since the beginning of the year. After finishing the bulk of their non-conference schedule 8-4, the Commodores are winless in 2019, losing all 6 of their SEC games and their only additional non-conference game to stand at 9-10.
In contrast, the Cats have won their last 6 games, and 9 of their last 10 games since their disappointing loss to Seton Hall at MSG on December 8. In addition, as this winning streak continues to extend, the quality of the Cats’ play is steadily improving. In these last four games since the initial encounter with Vanderbilt, the Cats’ game ANE values have been 0.436 ppp, 0.377 ppp, 0.417 ppp, and 0.299 ppp, with a four game average 0.382 ppp.
The Commodores’ schedule has a SOS value of 0.0412 ppp (#56). The Vanderbilt ANE for the season stands at 0.065 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.005 ppp.
The Cats’ schedule has a SOS value of 0.0550 ppp (#39). The Cats’ ANE for the season stands at 0.258 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.354 ppp.
The ANE (Last 5 game basis) analysis indicates a Kentucky margin of 21 points, 79-58, in a game played at a pace of 72 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates a 9-point Kentucky advantage (74-65). Pomeroy has this game as 9 points in Kentucky’s favor, 73-69, 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: