EXPLANATION OF DATA AND
Kentucky Returns to Rupp For
Kentucky returned to the friendly Rupp Arena floor tonight for one last tune up before travelling to Louisville for a pair of games, against Indiana and then Louisville. Kentucky handled Morehead State 71 - 40, p osting the highest individual game power rating of this season. However, Kentucky's spectacular defense was not match on the offensive end, which saw Kentucky posting its poorest offensive performance. Prior to tonight, the poorest offensive performance had been the loss to North Carolina. Therefore, Kentucky's offense is in a two game slide.
Based on last season's NCAA RPI Strength of Schedule and season performance, I predicted a 12 point Kentucky margin, 73 - 61. The game performance was weaker than expected on offense; however, Kentucky's defensive efficiency was a season low 0.482 points per possession.
2004 0.524 ppp Winthrop 65 44
As you see, the 0.482 ppp tonight is the lowest [best] defensive efficiency since 2000 against Alaska Anchorage [0.472 ppp]. However, only the 1996 team posted a significantly better performance, also against Morehead State [0.317 ppp].
During the Morehead State game, Kentucky had a total of 90 possessions, eighteen of which resulted from offensive rebounds. The average offensive efficiency for the first chance possessions for the game was 0.694 points per possession [ppp] while the average efficiency for the 18 second chance possessions was 1.167 ppp. Morehead State was also more efficient on second chance possessions [0.583 ppp] than first chance possessions [0.465 ppp].
In recent years, Kentucky has owned Indiana. However, IU fans will not get a measure of revenge on Saturday against Kentucky. I predict Kentucky will win 71 - 60.
Let's compare the teams
Win-Loss Record 5-1 2-3
Based on each team's early performance only, and no adjustment for strengthof schedule, I would make the following prediction:
UK 71 Indiana 60
However, this analysis ignores the differences in competition over the first 5 and 6 games. Is this difference significant? If it is, how will the difference impact the game's outcome?
I watched last week's UNC @ Indiana game, and was not impressed by either team. For the game, UNC had an offensive efficiency of 0.787 ppp and a defensive effectiveness of 0.670 ppp. In my opinion, Indiana's anemic point production speaks more about Indiana's offensive woes than it says about UNC's defensive prowess. However, what about UNC's poor offensive performance against Indiana. Indiana had six more possessions than UNC due to offensive rebounding margin. This could expose a weakness in the UNC team that the statistical comparisons obscure. Indiana gave UNC a better game, start to finish, than Kentucky did.
Based on each team's early performance and strength of schedule, I make the following prediction:
Kentucky 65 Indiana 62
Kentucky could taste defeat again Saturday against an Indiana team that is hungry for a W against Kentucky. For Kentucky to win, it must out ugly Indiana, because I do not foresee either team shooting a high percentage, and Kentucky's rebounding may be the difference.
Copyright 2004 Richard Cheeks