By RICHARD CHEEKS
For the third time this season, the Cats man handled the Alabama Crimson Tide, and for the third time this season, Alabama had no answer for Alex Poythress. The SEC Tournament 26 point win over Alabama is the largest UK win margin over the Tide since 1992 when the Cats beat the Tide by 26 in Birmingham in the SEC Tournament.
With the win, the Cats advance to the SEC Tournament’s Semifinal round where they will take on the winner of the fourth quarterfinal game of the tournament between Georgia and South Carolina.
Georgia came back from an 11 point deficit to beat South Carolina by 1 point and advance to meet the Cats in the Semifinals. On February 9, the Cats beat down the Dawgs by 34 points, 82-48 at Rupp Arena in their only meeting of this season. No one should expect a repeat of that huge beat down.
GEORGIA has played its 30 games at an average tempo of about 71 possessions per game, scoring 75.1 ppg (1.058 ppp) and allowing an average 72.6 ppg (1.025 ppp). GEORGIA has turned the ball over on 17.8% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 18.6% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, GEORGIA has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 29.9%, and a defensive rebounding rate of 66.6%. The GEORGIA schedule has a strength of schedule of 0.6718 (#44).
In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 69 to 70 possessions per game, producing 79.2 ppg (1.144 ppp) and allowing 67.6 ppg (0.970 ppp). The Cats have committed turnovers on 16.2% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 17.7% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats’ rebounding rates have been 37.9% and 68.9% on the offensive and defensive ends. The Cats have a strength of schedule of 0.6815 (#36).
Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of the Cats with a theoretical margin of 11 points, 79-68 in a game played at a pace of 70 possessions for the Cats and 70 possessions for GEORGIA.