EXPLANATION OF DATA AND
Kentucky Begins SEC Defense With Hard Fought Win Over USC
Kentucky outscored USC 44 to 34 to overcome a 6 point half time deficit and to defeat a very good USC team 79 - 75. This game is an early season match-up of SEC title contenders. Both teams turned in very impressive offensive performances. However, make no mistake. The elevated offensive output in this game does not reflect an absence of defensive intensity but superior offenisve efforts.
Kentucky's offensive efficiency for the game was 0.988 ppp, significantly higher than the 0.805 ppp I predicted. On defense, Kentucky allowed 0.974 ppp, significantly better than the 0.808 ppp I predicted. Furthermore, the 0.974 ppp by USC is the highest offensive production by a Kentucky opponent this season.
Based on this season's NCAA RPI Strength of Schedule and season performance, I predicted a 1 point Kentucky margin, 67 - 66.
During the USC game, Kentucky had a total of 80 possessions, fourteen of which resulted from offensive rebounds. The average offensive efficiency for the first chance possessions for the game was 0.988 ppp while the average efficiency for the 14 second chance possessions was 0.857 ppp. USC was more efficient on its 9 second chance possessions [1.111 ppp] than its 68 first chance possessions [0.956 ppp].
Kentucky completes its non-conference play next Sunday in Rupp Arena against an undefeated, national championship contender Kansas team.
Let's compare the teams as of January 6, 2005
Win-Loss Record 10 - 1 10 - 0
Based on each team's early performance with an adjustment for strength of schedule, I would make the following prediction: While the analysis produces a dead heat, too close to call, prediction, I believe that Kentucky could benefit from its home court, and reduce the final margin by 2 or 3 points, but at the end of the day, Kansas will leave Lexington with the "W" and Kentucky will sustain its only home court loss of this season.
UK 65 Kansas 74