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Pick your numbers, but UK-Tennessee game could go either way

Nick Richards (Vicky Graff Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer

March has arrived, and the top three spots in the SEC Tournament in two weeks will be occupied by LSU, Tennessee and Kentucky. The final 3 games will determine the final order for these teams as they each enter this stretch drive with identical 13-2 conference records. There are four SEC teams sitting with 9-6 records, and even if one of the top 3 finish with 3 consecutive losses and one of these 9-6 teams win out, there is no way to unseat one of the top 3 from one of the top three seeds.

Since Kentucky and Tennessee each lost to LSU in their only meeting of the season, LSU holds the tie breaker over each of the other two. Therefore, for either Kentucky or Tennessee to overcome LSU’s tie breaker advantage, LSU must lose 1 more game than either Kentucky or Tennessee over the last 3 games on the schedule. For these reasons, tomorrow’s rematch between Kentucky and Tennessee will probably deliver the #3 seed to the loser. While the winner of tomorrow’s game will have a theoretical chance to still capture the #1 seed, that would require LSU to drop one of its 3 remaining games while tomorrow’s winner does not lose again prior to the tournament.

Therefore, the stakes are very high for Kentucky and Tennessee with they meet in Knoxville for their second game of the season. In their first game, played at Rupp Arena two weeks ago, Kentucky controlled the game and sent the Volunteers back to Knoxville with smarting from a 17 point loss. Since that game, Tennessee has been 2-1, losing at LSU and Kentucky has been 3-0, while losing the services of Reid Travis to a knee sprain.

Tennessee’s most recent game was a 2 point, 73-71, win at Mississippi while Kentucky’s most recent game was the weakest single game for the Cats at least since November, as the Cats squeaked out a 4 point win at Rupp over a hapless Arkansas team after trailing by 15 points early in the second half.

#71 TENNESSEE brings a 25-3, 13-2 SEC record into this game against the Cats. The Volunteers schedule has a SOS value of 0.0741 ppp (#52). The TENNESSEE ANE for the season stands at 0.288 ppp and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.225 ppp.

The Cats’ schedule has a SOS value of 0.0909 ppp (#33). The Cats’ ANE for the season stands at 0..296 ppp, their season ANE since game 7 has been 0.349 ppp, and their ANE over the last 5 games is 0.290 ppp.

The ANE analysis based on Kentucky’s ANE since game 7 indicates a Kentucky margin of 1 point, 74-73, in a game played at a pace of 69 possessions. As a matter of record, the traditional ANE analysis indicates a 3 1/2 point Tennessee advantage and a “last 5” analysis indicates a UK advantage of 1 point. Pomeroy has this game as a 2 point Tennessee win, 73-71, at a pace of 66 possessions. Vegas has opened with the Vols favored by 2 ½ points.

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. Obviously, TN watched the Arkansas game and saw how a pressuring defense bothered us. Nick and EJ will both be fouled out with 10 minutes to go and we will be playing 3 guards, possibly 4 when PJ gets his 4th. Tyler and Keldon are not dialed in and Ashton is having a hard time on both ends. LSU pulled out a tough win at Bama. Looks like we are playing for 3rd place for the season. We will need to win the SEC tournament just to get a 2 seed in the big dance. Obviously yelling at everyone isn’t working for Cal, maybe he will resort to coaching the second half.

  2. What an azzwhooping. What do all of you Rah Rahs have to say now?

    1. They are still my team. Gotta take the good with the bad. You were never on the band wagon anyway Catman. It ain’t over yet. I’ll remember the above post too. It is bad enough too watch the Cats get blistered only to have to listen to your BS. Go pull for the Vols in the SEC tourney hoss. We don’t need you.

  3. Analysis:

    UK scored its 52 points on 66 possessions (0.788 ppp) for the game, and TENNESSEE scored its 71 points on 66 possessions (1.076 ppp).

    Kentucky won the battle of the boards 39-36, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive boards with a rebounding edge 9-8. Kentucky won the second chance point battle 13-11. TENNESSEE had an offensive efficiency of 0.909 ppp on its 66 first chance possessions and 1.375 ppp for its 8 second chance possessions. UK had 0.591 ppp on its 66 first chance possessions and 1.444 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 24.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while TENNESSEE was able to convert 21.1% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

    UK made 19-29 (65.5%) from the free throw line in this game. TENNESSEE made 9-14 [64.3%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 14-44 overall [31.8%] and 5-19 from long range [26.3%]. For TENNESSEE, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 19-40 [47.5%] and from long range, TENNESSEE hit 8-22 [36.4%].

    The Cats committed 17 turnovers, one for every 3.9 possessions. The Cats forced 5 TENNESSEE turnovers, one for every 13.2 possessions.

    Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening at Mississippi for the thirtieth regular season game and the 17th game of the 2019 SEC season.

  4. When your shots not falling and give Tenn credit for there defense you not gonna win games like that. Just got to suck it up and move on and it’s my best bet if the cats and Vols meet again in the SEC tournament they will give our money’s worth as it will go down to the wire .

  5. If we don’t get a healthy Travis back soon, this season’s aspirations will go up in smoke fast.

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