The Kentucky Wildcats moved up to 12th today in the AP poll from 13th last week. That represents more downward movement by others, namely the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Purdue Boilermakers than upward movement by UK.
The Louisville Cardinals were down a spot to 19 from 18 They were drilled by the Villanova Wildcats on Wednesday but made a miracle comeback and defeated the Marquette Golden Eagles on Saturday.
Saturday was full of memorable games, including the Vanderbilt Commodores versus the Tennessee Volunteers. If you look at the stats, you will see the value of good ballhandling. Tennessee forced the 'Dores into a season high 29.6% turnover % but were buried in every other stat except for a narrow victory in OR%.
Most importantly, though, Tennessee took the ball away from the Commodores almost 17% of their possessions, and that usually translates into easy baskets. This game was no exception, as Vanderbilt watched UT shoot layups frequently, especially in the second half.
This just emphasizes what coaches mean when they admonish their team to, "Value the basketball." One of the reasons Kentucky has so few losses this year has been the fact that they take such good care of the ball. Kentucky has only been over 20% turnovers four times, and never as high as 21%+. Not only that, Kentucky doesn't allow steals -- they are 10th in the nation in fewest steals by an opponent per game, and 4th in the nation in lowest TO%. That makes big runs against the 'Cats hard to come by.
More after the jump.
Here's how the poll conference breakdown looks this week:
You know your conference sucks when mid-major conferences have as many or more teams in the poll than yours does.
In the coach's poll, Kentucky is also up to #12 and Louisville sits at #15, rising from #17. The SEC does no better in that conference breakdown:
Who knows, maybe Georgia, Vandy, Florida or Tennessee will eventually join Kentucky in one of these later in the season. Hope springs eternal.