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Can UK stop recent slide against Alabama Saturday?

Jeff Houchin Photo

By RICHARD CHEEKS

The Kentucky Wildcats worked against the LSU Tigers to establish a 16 point halftime lead, and in less than 2 minutes into the second half, the Cats extended the lead to a comfortable 21 points. However, the Cats relaxed, and within another 2 minutes, LSU had scored 10 straight to pull back to within 11 points at the under 16 media timeout. The Tigers managed to narrow their deficit to 10 points, 53-43 with 14:22 remaining, and then the Cats expanded their lead to 25 points over the next 6 minutes, at which time it seemed as though the Cats has decided to put the worst team in the SEC away by a comfortable margin.

However, that would not be the case, as the Cats allowed LSU to outscore then 31-14 over the final 7 ½ minutes and final 15 possessions of the game. Following the game, Coach Calipari was not a happy coach, and would have taken his team directly to the practice facility for a marathon self-examination if the NCAA limits on practice time did not prevent it. So, that grueling practice session had to wait for Wednesday. That left practice on Thursday for Coach Calipari to get the badly needed attention of his players before packing for their Friday travels to Tuscaloosa where they will face Alabama on Saturday afternoon.

A season that started with such high hopes, sustained by game performance through mid-January, that identified this team as one of the best in the country this season, and a legitimate favorite to win the championship in April. However, that all began to unravel for this team 9 games ago when it traveled to Vanderbilt following three consecutive 20+ SEC wins to start the conference season.

Today, UK’s postseason stock value continues to fall, and SEC opponents now smell Cat blood in the water, and believe they will be able to get one of those rare signature wins over a UK basketball team. Alabama is clearly in that category, especially following their win on Tuesday night at South Carolina.

ALABAMA enters the game with a 14-9; 7-4 record. The Crimson Tide have lost twice to SEC opponents at home, to #6 Florida by 13 and to #76 Auburn by 5. ALABAMA’s most impressive win this season has been at #27 South Carolina this past Tuesday by 4 points in 4 overtimes.

ALABAMA enters this game with an ANE of 0.115 points per possession against a strength of schedule of 0.0544 ppp (#54). The Cats enter this game with an ANE of 0.287 ppp against a strength of schedule of 0.0808 ppp (#28).

The ANE analysis indicates a Kentucky win by 8 points, 76-68 at apace of 72 possessions. This would produce game efficiencies of 1.056 ppp and 0.944 ppp. Pomeroy sees this game in Kentucky’s favor by 7 points 77-70 at a pace of 71 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/25_Predictions.png

You can participate in the score prediction contest at 247Sports at the following link:
http://kentucky.247sports.com/Board/296/Contents/Alabama-Prediction-Thread-51171424

1 comment

  1. TheProfessor

    Analysis:
    UK scored its 67 points on 70 possessions (0.957 ppp) for the game, and ALABAMA scored its 58 points on 71 possessions (0.817 ppp).
    Kentucky won the battle of the boards 41-38, and the Cats won the battle of the offensive glass 12-9. Kentucky used its 12 second chance possessions to score 9 second chance points, and ALABAMA used its 9 second chance possessions to score 10 second chance points. ALABAMA had an offensive efficiency of 0.676 ppp on its 71 first chance possessions and 1.111 ppp for its 9 second chance possessions. UK had 0.829 ppp on its 70 first chance possessions and 0.750 ppp on its 12 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 29.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while ALABAMA was able to convert 23.7% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
    UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 10-18 [55.6%]. ALABAMA made 9-26 [34.6%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 27-62 overall [43.5%] and 3-15 from long range [20.0%]. For ALABAMA , their field goal shooting from inside the arc was 20-37 [54.1%] and from long range, ALABAMA hit 3-14 [21.4%].
    The Cats committed 12 turnovers, one for every 5.8 possessions. The Cats forced 16 ALABAMA turnovers, one for every 4.4 possessions.
    Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday evening, February 14, 2017 at 700 pm at Rupp against Tennessee in the 26th regular season game and 13th SEC of the 2016-17 season.

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