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Numbers favor Kentucky by 14 points over Mississippi State tonight

Dominique Hawkins (Vicky Graff Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS

After starting the SEC season with three consecutive 20+ point wins, the Cats found themselves in hand to hand combat against the Commodores before throwing them overboard by 6 points in Nashville a week ago. When the Cats returned home to face Auburn on Saturday, the were able to win again by a 20 point margin, but the battle with the Tigers was anything but routine, as the Cats found themselves in a battle throughout much of the second half when Auburn stayed within striking distance at only 4 down, and later 6 down before the Cats’ final push set the final margin at 20.

Tonight, the Cats return to the road at Mississippi State. The conventional view is the SEC road is a difficult place to win. In 2014 and 2016, the home team won 7 of every 10 SEC games, and in 2015 the home team won 53% of all SEC games. Over the prior 3 seasons, the home team has won about 2/3 of all games played, thus the conventional view.

Through the first 2 ½ weeks of SEC competition in the 2017 season, the conventional wisdom is being turned on its head because the visiting team has won 19 of the first 32 SEC games (6 in 10). Should this give the Cats comfort as they enter the Mississippi State dog house or trepidation because despite this unconventional start for the 2017 SEC season, the conventional wisdom will prevail again and that means tougher sledding ahead for all SEC road teams?

MISSISSIPPI STATE enters the game with a 12-4; 3-1 record. The Bulldogs lost games to #72 UCF by 25 at a neutral location, to #91 Lehigh by 14, to East Tennessee State by 2, and to #64 Alabama by 10 all at home. The Bulldogs’ most impressive wins this season has been in their last two games over at #46 Arkansas by 6 and against #59 Texas A&M by 8. MISSISSIPPI STATE enters this game with an ANE of 0.071 points per possession against a strength of schedule of -0.0328 ppp (#275). The Cats enter this game with an ANE of 0.337 ppp against a strength of schedule of 0.0496 ppp (#33).

The ANE analysis indicates a Kentucky win by 14 points, 82-68 at apace of 74 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 1.102 ppp and 0.914 ppp. Pomeroy sees this game in Kentucky’s favor by 14 points, 86-72 at a pace of 73 possessions.

Use the following link to see how other UK fans handicap this game at 247Sports, The Cats Pause message board:
http://bigbluefans4uk.com/2016-17DataandWritings/247_PREDICTIONS/18_Predictions.png

You can participate in the score prediction contest at 247Sports at the following link:
http://kentucky.247sports.com/Board/296/Contents/Mississippi-State-Prediction-Thread-50551064

1 comment

  1. TheProfessor

    Analysis:
    UK scored its 88 points on 79 possessions (1.114 ppp) for the game, and MISSISSIPPI STATE scored its 81 points on 79 possessions (1.025 ppp).
    Kentucky won the battle of the boards 38-32, and Kentucky won the battle of the offensive glass 13-9. Kentucky used its 13 second chance possessions to score 12 second chance points, and MISSISSIPPI STATE used its 9 second chance possessions to score 13 second chance points. MISSISSIPPI STATE had an offensive efficiency of 0.861 ppp on its 79 first chance possessions and 1.444 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.962 ppp on its 79 first chance possessions and 0.923 ppp on its 13 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 36.1% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI STATE was able to convert 26.5% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
    UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 15-24 [62.5%]. MISSISSIPPI STATE made 12-22 [54.5%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 33-65 overall [50.8%] and 7-18 from long range [38.9%]. For MISSISSIPPI STATE , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 27-42 [64.3%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI STATE hit 5-17 [29.4%].
    The Cats committed 16 turnovers, one for every 4.9 possessions. The Cats forced 19 MISSISSIPPI STATE turnovers, one for every 4.2 possessions.
    Next Game On Schedule: Saturday Evening, January 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm at Rupp Arena against South Carolina in the 19th regular season game and 7th SEC game of the 2016-17 season.

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