Kentucky's Advances Past C-USA Foe Cincinnati For The Right To Take On Utah
In The NCAA Sweet Sixteen

This evening, the Kentucky Wildcats showed the world that they are men among men, looked the fierce Cincinnatie defense and bravado in the eye, won the battle in the paint, and took away a hard fought 69 - 60 victory to advance to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.  They will next take on  #6 Seed Utah, an  upset winner earlier today over Oklahoma.

For the third season in a row, Kentucky's NCAA quest encountered a C-USA opponent that the Cats figure they should beat.  This time, Kentucky finished the job with great defense in the second half in which they held the Bearcats to 25 points on 49 second half possessions.  On their own behalf, the Cats scored 36 points on 38 possessions in the second half.  

Cincinnati won the rebounding war tonight, 37 - 36, and 16 - 9 on the offensive boards.  The 9 offensive rebounding margin coupled with the 5 turnover net advantage provided Cincinnati 14 extra shots at the basket.  However, neither team was able to convert the second chance opportunities to significant points, with Cincinnati winning the second chance point battle 7 - 5.  However, the twelve extra scoring opportunities were not enough to overcome Kentucky's superior shooting and defense.

For the game, Kentucky had a total of 72 possessions, 7 of which were second chance opportunities.  Kentucky's offensive efficiency for the game was an outstanding 0.958 ppp, well above both their season average and the 0.846 ppp I predicted for this game.  Defensively, Kentucky held the Bearcats to an anemic 0.723 ppp for the game, and onlyh about 0.5 in the second half.  The game performance is better than Kentucky's average defensive efficiency and substantially better than the 0.834 ppp I predicted for this game.

My pre-game analysis indicated a 70 - 69 Kentucky win.

This game was everything it was hyped to be over the last 2 days.  Next, Kentucky will take on Utah in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.



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Copyright 2004 Richard Cheeks
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