By RICHARD CHEEKS
The regular season has come and gone; the Cats finished tied for the SEC regular season championship with Texas A&M, and #8 in the final regular season Pomeroy ratings. On Friday night, the Cats will start their post season in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament against the Alabama Crimson Tide, an 8 point winner over Mississippi in the Tournament’s second round on Thursday evening.
The Cats and the Tide played twice this season, with the Cats winning both games, by 16 in Tuscaloosa and by 25 at Rupp Arena.
ALABAMA has played its 31 games at an average tempo of about 67 possessions per game, scoring 67.1 ppg (0.998 ppp) and allowing an average 67.3 ppg (0.999 ppp). ALABAMA has turned the ball over on 19.7% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 18.3% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, ALABAMA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 28.3%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 65.5%. The ALABAMA schedule has a strength of schedule of 0.6969 (#24).
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 possessions per game, producing 79.0 ppg (1.136 ppp) and allowing 67.9ppg (0.969 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 16.3% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 17.6% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats’ rebounding rates have been 37.8% and 69.0% on the offensive and defensive ends. The Cats have a strength of schedule of 0.6839 (#35).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of the Cats with a theoretical margin of 11 points, 76-65 in a game played at a pace of 68 possessions for the Cats and 69 possessions for ALABAMA. Pomeroy figures the Game in Kentucky’s favor by 8 points, 72-64 at a pace of 64 possessions.
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