By RICHARD CHEEKS
The On Again-Off Again Cats were in the On Again mode on Saturday when Florida entered Rupp Arena. Can anyone really know which brand of Cat will make an appearance at Rupp Arena on Tuesday night when the Georgia Bulldogs come to town?
Georgia brings a 13-8, 6-4 record into this SEC showdown with the Cats, who sport a record of 17-6, 7-3 in the SEC. Georgia completed their non-conference schedule 7-4, with losses to #69 Chattanooga by 2 in OT, at #30 Seton Hall by 7, to #39 Kansas State by 2, and at #29 Baylor by 10. Georgia’s most impressive non-conference win came at the expense of #52 Clemson by 23.
Halfway through the SEC season, the Bulldogs and Cats have each played Florida, Missouri (Georgia twice), Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU, and Auburn. Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Auburn, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas. The Cats finished 4-3 against that array of opponents while the Bulldogs managed a 5-3 record against those common SEC opponents. The Cats also faced Alabama and Mississippi State, winning both while the Bulldogs faced Texas A&M and South Carolina, splitting those games.
GEORGIA has played its first 21 games at an average tempo of about 70 possessions per game, scoring 70.5 ppg (1.007 ppp) and allowing an average 67.7 ppg (0.962 ppp). GEORGIA has turned the ball over on 19.4% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 16.3% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, GEORGIA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 30.1%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 70.6%. The Georgia schedule has a strength of schedule of 0.6281.
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 to 71 possessions per game, producing 78.2 ppg (1.115 ppp) and allowing 68.0 ppg (0.964 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 17.5% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 18.7% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats’ rebounding rates have been 38.8% and 69.6% on the offensive and defensive ends. The Cats have a strength of schedule of 0.6598.
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Kentucky by 14 points, 78-64 in a game played at a pace of 70 possessions for the Cats and 70 possessions for Georgia. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky’s favor by 10 points, 73-63 at a pace of 67 possessions. Vegas opened Monday evening with the Cats favored by 11 ½ points.
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