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Kentucky Overcomes Agressive Arkansas Rebounding and Kentucky Turnovers To Escape With a 1 Point Win

Kentucky continued its road march through the SEC regular season and maintained their unbeaten record by the slimest of margins today, leaving Fayetteville, Arkansas with a 68 - 67 victory.   Arkansas had 76 scoring opportunities [66 shots and 10 free throw possessions].  In contrast, Kentucky managed only 54 scoring opportunities.  The great disparity [21 extra scoring opportunities] occurred because of 6 extra turnovers committed by Kentucky and the 12 extra offensive rebounds earned by the aggressive Hogs.

The story of this game lies in what each team accomplished with its available scoring opportunities.  Arkansas scored a total of 67 points on its 76 scoring opportunities due to Kentucky's great first possession defensive effort.  Kentucky scored 68 points on only 54 scoring opportunities, displaying a very efficient offensive performance, when not commiting a turn over.

Kentucky  lost the battle of the boards to Arkansas today.  Arkansas out rebounded the Cats 34 - 30, and an impressive 19 - 7 on offensive rebounds, which provided Arkansas 12 bonus possessions for the game. 

Kentucky's offensive efficiency for the game was an impressive 0.944 ppp, higher than the 0.822 ppp I predicted.   On defense, Kentucky held Arkansas to 0.770 ppp, almost identical to the 0.817 ppp I predicted. 

Based on this season's NCAA RPI Strength of Schedule and season performance, I predicted a nine point Kentucky margin, 70- 67. 

During the Arkansas game, Kentucky had a total of 72 possessions, seven of which resulted from offensive rebounds.  Kentucky's 7 second chance possessions produced 12 second chance points.  Kentucky's offensive efficiency for second chance possessions was 1.714 ppp, significantly higher than Kentucky's first chance efficiency of 0.848 ppp.  Arkansas had a total of 87 possessions for the game, 19 of which were second chance possessions.  Arkansas' second chance offensive efficiency was 1.053   ppp, which is greater than their first chance efficiency of 0.681 ppp.

Kentucky continues SEC conference play on the road next Saturday at Vanderbilt.

Let's compare the teams as of January 29, 2005

        UK               Vanderbilt

Win-Loss Record         16 - 2             11 - 8
Offensive Efficiency    0.916      0.929 Points per Poss
Defensive Efficiency    0.730     0.826 ppp
Net Game Efficiency   0.186      0.103  ppp
RPI Ranking, 1/10/04   13         76
RPI SOS, 1/10/04       0.5585     0 .5691

Based on each team's early performance with an adjustment for strength of schedule, I would make the following prediction based on data available 1/25/05 at 9 pm.  I will update this prediction from time to time between now and game time as indicated by daily changes in the current Strength of Schedule factor.

             UK  71  LSU   66
                 See details Below

    
Kentucky
VANDERBILT
Points
70
66
FGM
25
24
FGA
43.7%
57
54
44.1%
3PTM
6
8
3PTA
33.7%
19
22
35.9%
FTM
14
11
FTA
65.7%
21
16
69.0%
TO
5.98
14
17
4.59
REB
37
35
Possessions
82
79
PPP
0.863
0.840

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Copyright 2004 Richard Cheeks
All Rights Reserved