By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer
My how time flies when we are having fun. The 2019-20 basketball season is now 1/3 finished, and finally the level of competition is rising to the level that this program expects. The Cats next opponent, Ohio State is currently the strongest team (highest ANE) in the land, and after the Christmas break, the Cats will face rival Louisville. The Cards have shared time in the #1 spot early this season. Ironically, the Cats also once held the #1 spot after beating the Preseason #1 Michigan State in the season opener.
So, these Cats should be right at home today when the Cats play Ohio State in Las Vegas. The Cats held the #1 position for about a week before the Cats’ rating plummeted with the home loss to Evansville. However, the development of this team cannot be described as an upward trend despite the stumble against Evansville. The development of this team has been dismal and the Cats’ level of performance has been very low in 6 of the 8 games with bookend losses to Evansville and Utah.
At present, the Cats’ adjusted net efficiency has leveled off at 0.177 ppp after the Cats’ loss to Utah this past Wednesday. The Cats’ ANE ranks #34 nationally.
The Cats are at the midpoint of the two game Las Vegas Junket, and with the loss to Utah in their first game in Las Vegas on this Junket, the Cats should recognize that they are facing the reality of a two game losing streak with Louisville laying in wait for their shot at the Cats 3 days after Christmas. .
#1 Ohio State brings a 10-1 record into the game. Ohio State’s most impressive wins are over #37 Villanova by 15 and over #26 Penn State by 32. Ohio State’s only loss occurred the past Sunday at #53 Minnesota by 13. Ohio State has played this season at an average tempo of 67.6 possessions per game at an ANE 0.351 ppp with a schedule strength of -0.060 ppp.
The #27 Cats bring a 8-2 record into this game with an ANE of 0.177 ppp against a schedule strength of -0.063 ppp.
Based on this data for these teams, an ANE analysis indicates this game will have a tempo of 69 possessions with the Cats falling 12 points short, 63-75.