By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer
For the 50th time, the Kentucky Wildcats have won the SEC regular season championship, and this time they secured the title with a 3 game lead over the nearest competitor with two games remaining on the schedule, an impressive accomplishment for any team, any season in any major conference. The Cats will celebrate Senior Night on Tuesday when Tennessee comes into Rupp for the final home game of the 2019-20 season, and next Saturday the Cats will close the season at Florida.
Then the post season begins with the annual SEC Tournament in Nashville and the Cats will be the #1 seed, playing on Friday at noon against the winner of Thursday afternoons game between the SEC’s 8th and 9th place finishers.
The Cats will be facing Tennessee for the second time this season, having beaten the Volunteers on February 8 by 13 points, 77-64. That win was the second win in the Cats’ current 8 game winning streak. The Volunteers on the other hand have split their 6 games since sustaining the home loss to the Cats.
TENNESSEE brings its 16-13, 8-8 record into the Tuesday night’s encounter with the Cats. TENNESSEE’s average ANE over the last six games since they faced the Cats in Knoxville has been 0.16 ppp. In contrast, the Cats’ average ANE since the TENNESSEE win in Knoxville has been 0.23 ppp.
Kentucky its SEC Championship and a record of 24-5, 14-2 and an eight game winning streak into this game. This winning streak includes the following sequence of wins over:
• #49 Mississippi State by 8 (0.22 ppp Game ANE),
• #58 Tennessee by 13 (0.41 ppp Game ANE),
• #166 Vanderbilt by 14 (0.28 ppp Game ANE),
• #95 Mississippi by 5 (0.12 ppp Game ANE),
• #36 LSU by 3 (0.29 ppp Game ANE),
• #34 Florida by 6 (0.23 ppp Game ANE),
• #154 Texas A&M by 9 (0.25 ppp Game ANE), and
• #35 Auburn by 7 (0.23 ppp Game ANE)
Over the course of this winning streak, the Cats have posted an average ANE of 0.25 ppp. TENNESSEE’s season ANE of 0.149 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.099 ppp and an average tempo of 66.5 possessions per game. Kentucky’s season ANE of 0.211 ppp against a schedule strength of 0.081 ppp at an average tempo of 68.8. The ANE analysis based on these season profiles points to an 8 point Kentucky win, 72-64 in a game played with 68 possessions.