EXPLANATION OF DATA AND
Kentucky Loses To North Carolina
Kentucky entered the Dean Dome today for a clash of the two winningest college basketball programs. While the teams entered todays games with very similar offensive efficiencies, and while Kentucky had established clearly superior defensive effectiveness, North Carolina's much stronger early season schedule was the difference.
Kentucky's young team looked like a deer caught in the headlights during the first two TV Game segments, falling behind 24 - 8. However, over the next 32 minutes, Kentucky's youngsters competed evenly with a much more experienced UNC team, outscoring UNC 70 - 67. Over the course of the second half, Kentucky challenged North Carolina's grip on the game on several occasions pulling within 6 points. However, UNC answered the charge each and every time. Here are the relevant data for the game and the first 8 minutes v. final 32 minutes.
Whether Coach Smith's strategy of early season cupcakes will be beneficial for this team remains an open question. Kentucky gained toughness in this game after the lame beginning. Perhaps one or two quality opponents prior to UNC could have been enough additional toughness to have avoided the pitiful start today. Perhaps not. The judgment about the scheduling strategy requires more time.
Based on this season's NCAA RPI Strength of Schedule and season performance, I predicted a 19 point North Carolina margin, 85 - 66. The game performance on defense was as expected, and Kentucky's offense was about 10% stronger than predicted. The defense forced 19 UNC turnovers, but Kentucky surrendered 7 bonus possessions to UNC via the Offensive Rebounding Differential.
During the North Carolina game, Kentucky had a total of 93 possessions, eight of which resulted from offensive rebounds. The average offensive efficiency for the first chance possessions for the game was 0.812 points per possession [ppp] while the average efficiency for the 8 second chance possessions was 1.125 ppp. Kentucky had higher efficiency on second chance possessions than first chance possessions in every game this season, except one. However, for the fourth game in a row, Kentucky's opponent, was less efficient on second chance possessions than first chance possessions.
UNC 92 UK 71
ACTUAL BOX SCORE
Copyright 2004 Richard Cheeks