As we near tipoff between the two winningest teams in all of College Basketball, I wanted to get a sense of what we could expect strictly from a numbers and production standpoint.
Here is where each team sits when it comes to the most important statistical categories:
I used the website Team Rankings.com to get the next set of data, which is more in-depth and used quite a bit for bettors and those using predictive analysis.
So, what do the above numbers mean you ask? Well, it says that in the last 10 games, we are essentially the same team. This bodes well for Kentucky considering about 7-8 games ago Big Blue Nation was hoping to just not get blown out today.
It also shows us that we are the better first half team and they are the better second half team. What may worry you about the non-conference games ranking is that Kansas is #4 in the Nation at beating non-conference opponents. What you do not see though, is that the non-conference SOS was tougher for UK than KU.
One of the season long struggles UK has had is in its offensive efficiency game. This is pretty clear when looking at the season numbers. However, looking at the last three you will see the significant jump UK has made. It is a bit deceiving though, I doubt we are going to see the same Kansas that has lost two of it's last three games.
The scariest part is the Away vs. Home comparison. Kansas has a dominant edge in their performance in Lawrence vs. our performance away from Rupp. However, it would likely be the exact opposite were the Jayhawks coming to Lexington.
In my opinion, this is where the game is going to won or lost for Kentucky. It is no coincidence that John Calipari preaches defense and rebounding, because this is where games are won and lost. You can see that on the season, the 'Cats have been quite better than KU, and in the last three it is not even close. Even the home vs. away is nearly even. Meaning we perform as well away from Rupp (Defensively) as Kansas does at home.
If the 'Cats are to overcome the 5.5 point underdog tag and give Bill Self just his 10th loss in Lawrence, they are going to have to have a great game on the boards and playing defense. This means we need the following to happen, IMO.
- Tyler Ulis to be Tyler Ulis
- Jamal Murray to not have a poor shooting night
- Isaiah Briscoe to be himself on the boards and D, his offensive production is moot.
- Alex Poythress has to get 8-10 boards and a few blocks
- Skal Labissiere has to get 5+ rebounds
- Marcus Lee must NOT foul out and get 8-10 rebounds and 2-3 blocks
- Derek Willis has to be the Derek Willis of the last 3-4 games. He can score 20, but if he does not get 8-10 rebounds it will be moot.
Looking over the Kentucky-Kansas series history tonight, I was shocked by how many blowouts it has featured...— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) January 30, 2016
In 28 matchups, UK has won games by 29, 30, 37, 27 & 32 points. Kansas owns the infamous 55-point win & a 27-point blowout.— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) January 30, 2016