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Big Blue vs. Burnt Orange: Comparing Texas' and Kentucky's Victories Over North Carolina

This is just a quickie this morning before I get to work on the Long Beach St. 49ers pre-game.

John Gasaway at Basketball Prospectus put up this article after the Longhorn's victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels this past weekend.  Last night, I watched the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Michigan St. Spartans, and came away even more impressed with the men in burnt orange than I was with their victory over the Tar Heels.

Follow me after the jump for more.

I just want to compare the Four Factors to winning for three games -- the Kentucky Wildcats versus the Tar Heels, Texas versus the Tar Heels, and last night's Texas versus Michigan State:





Looking at these three games, does anything jump out at you?  How about the difference in offensive rebound percent?  Texas dominated UNC so thoroughly on the glass that words fail me.  Kentucky, in their game versus the 'Heels, did not fare as well, actually losing the OR% battle.  Michigan State had it much closer the OR% battle with the 'Horns, but the Spartans lost mostly because Texas' defense forced them into only a 50% eFG% while shooting 62% themselves.

But another thing the Longhorns are doing that is even more important -- they are holding teams to an eFG%, on average, of 36.9%, #1 in all of Division 1.  Where's Kentucky on that list?  #53.

Another thing that you might notice is turnovers.  Texas has a 17.2% turnover percentage.  That's where UK needs to be, instead of the 23.5% that they currently own.

Now, I know Texas is a more experienced team and, at this point in the season, they should be better than Kentucky, so no big deal there.  But lest we think that we are on the road to an NCAA championship with our strong play against the Drexel Dragons the other afternoon, let this be a sobering reminder -- Kentucky still has a lot of improving to do. 

I do think the 'Cats can get there, and UK is also a very strong offensive rebounding team -- in fact, even stronger than Texas so far, and #1 in the nation in OR%.  But UK has yet to dominate the glass against a quality opponent, and solve the turnover problem.  Keep in mind that Texas plays even faster than UK, so the turnover comparison does not suffer from pace issues.  UK needs to ramp up the defense, too.