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Numbers project a five point win for Mississippi over Kentucky


Does anyone else get the feeling that this team is in a tailspin? It sure feels that way despite what have been strong overall team numbers for the entire year. Saturday’s game against LSU is emblematic of this paradox of the 2012-13 season. Consider that if before this game, you knew the following facts, what type of victory would you have foreseen in this game.

  1. Kentucky 52% and LSU shoots under 40%
  2. Kentucky wins the rebounding, 39-26,
  3. Kentucky gets 46% of its missed shots as offensive rebounds, while LSU gets under 30% of their misses.

Yet, the game hinged at the end on whether an official noticed that Nerlens Noel had not quite gotten off the floor before another official handed to ball to the UK inbounds players to restart action, and LSU had a shot for a tie at the end that failed to fall. What is going on, pretty soon dogs will start sleeping with cats for all I can tell.

For those who felt the 27-point margin that I offered prior to the LSU game was too high, you were right. This morning, as I updated my databases, I discovered an error in the LSU game spreadsheet. I don’t know how this error occurred, but the reason is irrelevant, because it did happen. For the record, the NGE game margin should have been 18 points, not 27 points. Nevertheless, the game performance by the Cats against LSU failed to measure up to their average performance levels for the season, especially on defense.

Mississippi is next up for the Cats in Oxford. This edition of the Ole Miss Mens Basketball team will be long remembered in their state as the team that rewrote large sections of their record book. MISSISSIPPI brings a 17-2 record into this game, and the Mississippi has won 9 games in a row, including a 6-0 start in the SEC. MISSISSIPPI’s most impressive win have been by 15 over #56 Missouri at home where the Rebels are perfect this season in eleven games. Their two loses came at #43 Middle Tennessee by 1 point in early December, and to #85 Indiana State by 2 in OT at a neutral location just before Christmas. If there is a knock on the Mississippi record to date, it is that their non-conference schedule was extremely weak, ranked as the 328th weakest out of 347 D1 teams (0.3266), and now that SEC play is 1/3 through the season, the Mississippi strength of schedule has risen, but only to 0.4400 (#250th).

MISSISSIPPI has averaged about 73 to 74 possessions per game, producing 80.3 ppg (1.09 ppp) and allowing 63.9 ppg (0.87 ppp). However, as noted above, their strength of schedule inflate the raw efficiency values. MISSISSIPPI has turned the ball over on 16.1% of its possessions while forcing turnovers on 23.2% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, MISSISSIPPI has secured an offensive rebounding rate of 35.9% about 3% above the 33% NCAA average, and a defensive rebounding rate of 68.7%, about 2% above the NCAA average.

In contrast, the Cats have averaged about 70 possessions per game, producing 75.8 ppg (1.08 ppp) and allowing 62.0 ppg (0.89 ppp) against a schedule strength of 0..5489 (104th). The Cats have committed turnovers on 18.7% of its possessions and forced turnovers on 19.5% of opponent possessions. On the Boards, the Cats’ rebounding rates have been 35.0% and 70.0% on the offensive and defensive ends.

Based on this distribution, the analysis tips in favor of Mississippi by 5 points, 68-73 in a game played at a pace of 72 possessions for the Cats and 72 possessions for MISSISSIPPI. Pomeroy figures the Game in Mississippi’s favor by 4 points, 71-75 at a pace of 75 possessions. As discussed previously, this game will depend on which identity shows up in MISSISSIPPI on Tuesday night. If it is the personality that sustained high hopes over the first half of this season, I would expect a Kentucky win by 4 or more. However, if the timid personality shows up for this one, the Cats will experience a loss in the mid teens.


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  1. UK 24 7

    I sure hope I’m wrong but everything points to an embarrasing loss tonight. Ole Miss will be playing out of their minds because it’s UK. Calipari will have to show his hand in the first half just to stay close and have nothing for the second. Sound familiar?

    1. larryvaught

      Could be a brutal game for UK against older, physical team with a great scorer. Cats better bring Big Boy pants to this game

      1. LindaS

        and they better not have them in a knot.

  2. Larry T Clemons

    Alex needs to be a Man-Child…Nerlen’s length, beats their strength…Archie’s speed, is in need…Wiltjer needs to box out and with 3 or 4 Three’s, we should be fine…Having WCS, could be just in time ! Wildcats by 6….I am excited for this Game !

  3. Karen Sprinkle

    This is a bit off-topic, but I hated to hear the news that Twany Beckham is out indefinitely after having had back surgery today. TB just can’t seem to catch a break.

    1. Larry Pup

      I agree Karen. I wish TB all the best.



  5. LindaS

    Marshall Henderson needs a louavull slugger upside the head. He is a egomaniac and an idiot.

    1. larryvaught

      LindaS, I believe Wiltjer delivered your blow to Henderson tonight

  6. Larry Pup

    UK won a big one. They beat OM going away. If they had hit their ft’s it wouldn’t even have been close. Noel was incredible, and Wiltjer was dead on his game. Go CATS beat Texas A&M. We owe that bunch.

  7. TheProfessor


    UK scored its 87 points in 74 possessions [1.18 ppp] for the game, and MISSISSIPPI scored its 74 points on 74 possessions [1.00 ppp].

    Mississippi won the boards, with a rebounding edge 52-35, and Mississippi won the battle of the offensive glass 26-10. MISSISSIPPI converted its 26 second chance possessions into 29 second chance points while Kentucky converted their 10 second chance possessions to score 13 second chance points. MISSISSIPPI had an offensive efficiency of 0.608 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 1.115 ppp for its 26 second chance possessions. UK had 1.000 ppp on its 74 first chance possessions and 1.300 ppp on its 10 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 27.8% of its misses as offensive rebounds while MISSISSIPPI was able to convert 42.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.

    Kentucky shot poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 23-37 [62.2%]. MISSISSIPPI made 13-20 65.0%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 28-56 overall [50.0%] and 8-23 from long range [34.8%]. For MISSISSIPPI, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a weak 23-69 [33.3%] and from long range, MISSISSIPPI hit 5-16 [31.3%].

    The Cats who committed 9 turnovers, one for every 8.2 possessions. The Cats forced 7 MISSISSIPPI turnovers, one for every 10.6 possessions.

    Prior to the game, the NGE analysis predicted a 5 point Mississippi win, 73-68 at a pace of 72 possessions for UK and 72 possessions for MISSISSIPPI. The final score was 87 (68) to 74 (73) at a pace of 74 possessions for the Cats and 74 possessions for MISSISSIPPI. The UK offensive efficiency for the game was 1.176 ppp (0.944 ppp) and the UK defensive efficiency was 1.000 ppp (1.014 ppp).

    Next Game On Schedule: February 2, 2013 when the Cats stay on the road for the a chance to avenge a Rupp loss to Texas A&M.

    1. larryvaught

      great analysis Professor

  8. TheProfessor

    I thought that right before halftime, Archie Goodwin threw down one, and when he returned to earth, he was as excited as I have seen him. The light came on for Archie on that play, and his play in the second half was spectacular. I thought Poythress came alive in the second half as well, and what can you say about the way Nerlens Noel forces Ole Miss shooters to change their shots from all spots on the floor.

    Best effort by this team this season, and let’s hope this was the awakening moment.

    I think we will find out on Saturday when they get to take a measure of revenge.

  9. Larry T Clemons

    Ryan Harrow’s timely 3, his steady composure and free throw shooting was incredible…!

  10. gpm61

    Giving up a 16 point run was absolutely madding!!! Thank God they pulled it together and stopped it tight there and finished strong. But I was like OHHH NOOOO, here we go again!!!

  11. TheProfessor

    I grade game results based on a comparison to the performance levels indicated by the two teams’ average performance during the season. Last night’s game provided the highest single game grade of the season, 3.35, for what its worth.

    1. Jim Boyers

      I’m happy to hear the grade. You used to give a letter grade after games and I always liked that. You should consider going back to that.

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