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After rocky ride, number still favor UK by 13 points over Florida

Tyler Herro (Vicky Graff Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer

It only seems like yesterday that the 2018-19 Kentucky Wildcats traveled to the Bahamas in August to give the Big Blue Nation a sneak peak at this year’s basketball team. Yet, on Saturday the 2018-19 regular season will close when the Cats face the Florida Gators at Rupp.

The journey from the Bahamas to now has been a rocky ride.

After an impressive showing in August, these Cats got off to a very tough start to the season in November with back to back lackadaisical exhibition games, a complete meltdown against Duke, followed by five additional games in which the Cats played very poorly. Then, starting with the 7th game of the season through the 22nd game of the season, this team steadily improved, and by the end of January, was playing as well or better than anyone in the nation. The last 8 games (23rd through 30th) have been marked by a steady slide from the peak achieved after the Cats manhandled South Carolina on February 5.

The big question for this team, as it prepares to shift gears and move into the post season, is whether its post season will be brief due to the slippage since February 5, or whether this team can find that magic that enabled it to win 10 consecutive games and post an average ANE of 0.43 points per possession for an amazing 7 game run from game 16 through game 22 and propel itself to #9 on the first Monday of April.
Including this final game against Florida, the Cats have a possible maximum 10 more games to play. The Cats could play as few as 3 games.

If the team plays as it has been playing, it will play fewer games in the post season and this season will end short of the Big Blue Nation’s expectations. If the team can capture the magic of January again, the post season could easily extend the full 10 games with a legitimate chance to win the Championship in April.

#32 Florida enters Rupp today needing a win over Kentucky and at least 1 win the SEC tournament next week to solidify their claim to a spot in the NCAA tournament because their 17-13; 9-8 in the SEC record is marginal, at best. In addition, the Gators have lost their last two games at the McConnell center to #120 Georgia by 6 and to #17 LSU by 1 in OT. The Gators schedule has a SOS value of 0.1057 ppp (#21). The FLORIDA ANE for the season stands at 0.191 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.182 ppp.

The Cats’ schedule has a SOS value of 0.1050 ppp (#23). The Cats’ ANE for the season stands at 0.292 ppp, their season ANE since game 7 has been 0.335 ppp, and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.245 ppp.
The ANE analysis based on Kentucky’s ANE since game 7 indicates a Kentucky margin of 13 point, 73-60, in a game played at a pace of 64 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates a 10 1/2 point Kentucky advantage and a “last 5” analysis indicates a UK advantage of 8 point. Pomeroy has this game as a 10 point Kentucky win, 68-58 at a pace of 62 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. I would take any sort of win for the Cats at this point. They are like a yo yo. Time has come for them too play like a UK tournament ready team and pound the reptiles before a packed house. Beat this arrogant bunch from Gainesville Cats and show them you are still big time Kentucky! If Reid is able, play him!

    1. I agree Pup, but something is up with Reid that nobody is talking about.

  2. Vanderbilt revisited?

  3. Analysis:

    UK scored its 66 points on 60 possessions (1.100 ppp) for the game, and FLORIDA scored its 57 points on 60 possessions (0.950 ppp).

    Kentucky won the battle of the boards 39-25, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive boards with a rebounding edge 11-5. Kentucky won the second chance point battle 11-7. FLORIDA had an offensive efficiency of 0.833 ppp on its 60 first chance possessions and 1.400 ppp for its 5 second chance possessions. UK had 0.917 ppp on its 60 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 11 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 35.5% of its misses as offensive rebounds while FLORIDA was able to convert 15.2% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

    UK made 26-32 (81.3%) from the free throw line in this game. FLORIDA made 6-11 [54.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 19-46 overall [41.3%] and 2-7 from long range [28.6%]. For FLORIDA, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 21-36 [58.3%] and from long range, FLORIDA hit 3-18 [16.7%].

    The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 5.4 possessions. The Cats forced 6 FLORIDA turnovers, one for every 10.0 possessions.

    Next Game On Schedule: Friday evening in Nashville in the SEC Tournament’s Quarterfinal Round against the winner of a SEC Tournament second round game yet to be determined.

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