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Numbers favor Kentucky by 15 over LSU

EJ Montgomery (Vicky Graff Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer

The first 23 games are in the books, and the Cats have overcome an embarrassing start, defined by its 34- point humiliation at the hands of Duke, an inexplicable overtime loss to Seton Hall at MSG, and a 2-point loss in the SEC opener at Alabama to amass a 20-3, 9-1 record.

The Cats are positioned to lay claim to the 2019 SEC regular season championship, and the two games this week against 9-1 LSU and 10-0 Tennessee are necessary wins to achieve that important goal. Two wins will place these Cats at 11-1 in the SEC and in first place in the SEC standings heading into the final 1/3 of the SEC schedule.

One game at a time is the appropriate mantra for the team, and in that vein, next up is LSU, and the entire focus of this team must be on this encounter with the Bayou Bengals at Rupp tonight. LSU brings a 19-4, 9-1 record into Rupp Arena. The Tigers completed the non-conference portion of their schedule 10-3 with losses to #29 Florida State by 3 in OT, to #92 Oklahoma State by 13, both on neutral courts, and at #17 Houston by 6. In addition, LSU most impressive non-conference victories have been over #45 Saint Mary’s by 4 on a neutral court, and home wins over #63 Furman by 18 and over #77 Memphis by 9.

In the SEC, the Tigers have rolled through the first 10 games with a 9-1 record. The loss occurred in Baton Rouge at the hands of #59 Arkansas by 1, and the Tigers claim five SEC road wins over Arkansas in OT, Mississippi, Missouri in OT, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State in OT.

One impression that a review of the LSU record leaves is the 9 games decided by one or two possessions, and the four games that required additional time to find a winner. In those games, LSU has won 6, and lost 3. LSU has demonstrated an ability to find how to win the contested ball games.

The Tigers schedule has a SOS value of 0.0701 ppp (#38). The LSU ANE for the season stands at 0.206 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.228 ppp.

The Cats’ schedule has a SOS value of 0.0747 ppp (#34). The Cats’ ANE for the season stands at 0.293 ppp, their season ANE since game 7 has been 0.364 ppp, and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.426 ppp.
The ANE analysis based on Kentucky’s ANE since game 7 indicates a Kentucky margin of 15 points, 83-68, in a game played at a pace of 72 possessions.

As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates a 10-point Kentucky advantage (81-71), and a “last 5” analysis indicates a UK win by 18 points, 85-67. Pomeroy has this game as a 8 point Kentucky win, 77-69, 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:


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  1. The ball was still in the cylinder…look at the replay overhead. The difference in this game was Hagans could not guard Waters and nobody played Hagans to score…it was 4 on 5. Washington got lazy in the first 10 minutes of the second half, didn’t rebound and picked up fouls. He has to play focused the whole game. Regardless of the missed call, LSU played harder in the second half and that turned the tide of the game.

  2. Analysis:

    UK scored its 71 points on 65 possessions (1.092 ppp) for the game, and LSU scored its 73 points on 66 possessions (1.106 ppp).

    Kentucky won the battle of the boards 39-32, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive boards with a rebounding edge 15-9. Kentucky won the second chance point battle 17-12. LSU had an offensive efficiency of 0.924 ppp on its 66 first chance possessions and 1.333 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.831 ppp on its 65 first chance possessions and 1.133 ppp on its 17 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 39.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while LSU was able to convert 27.3% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

    UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 16-23 (69.6%]. LSU made 19-22 [86.4%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 25-60 overall [41.7%] and 5-19 from long range [26.3%]. For LSU, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 18-35 [51.4%] and from long range, LSU hit 6-21 [28.6%].

    The Cats committed 9 turnovers, one for every 7.2 possessions. The Cats forced 8 LSU turnovers, one for every 8.2 possessions.

    Next Game On Schedule: Saturday evening against Tennessee at Rupp for the twenty fifth regular season game and the 12th game of the 2019 SEC season.

  3. Our terrible 3 pt D in first half also helped cost us at the end. Will Wade would be on my short list for Cal replacement at that point in time. He had his team better prepared than Cal did.

  4. Last night’s games were very confusing.

    Officials can’t review a clearly missed offensive goal tending call that determined the outcome of a game in the last 1 second, but officials can review a missed block-charge call that determines the outcome of the game in the last 20 seconds. I must be stupid, but either both are reviewable or neither is reviewable because both were calls made (not made) by officials in real time in bang-bang plays.

    UK’s game should have gone to OT. Whether UK wins in OT or not is arguable, but they would have had a chance. That illegal tip in eliminated any chance, and was robbery IMO.

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