Well, folks, the votes are all in (sort of).
The Kentucky Wildcats will finish the regular basketball season with an 8-17 record. Postseason is iffy at best depending on if there’s even an SEC Tournament and if Kentucky is capable of winning it.
So says the KenPom report, a nationally-respected sports statistics analysis firm.
KenPom says the Cats are now rated 56th nationally and will win only three of their last 10 games. But their prediction might be a bit shaky because they say the Cats will lose five of those games by only one point and three others by four points or less. All five of Kentucky’s upcoming opponents are currently ranked higher by KenPom, highlighted by No. 10 Texas.
Looks like Cat fans are in for a lot of nail-biting finishes, if KenPom is correct.
Here’s how the rest of the season will go, according to KenPom:
- Saturday, Jan. 30, Texas at home (lose 69-65)
- Tuesday, Feb. 2 at Missouri (lose 68-64)
- Saturday, Feb. 6, Tennessee at home (lose 62-60)
- Tuesday, Feb. 9 at Arkansas (lose 70-69)
- Saturday, Feb. 13 Auburn at home (win 71-69)
- Wednesday, Feb. 17 at Vanderbilt (win 71-65)
- Saturday, Feb. 20 at Tennessee (lose 64-58)
- Tuesday, Feb. 23 Texas A&M at home (win 64-56)
- Saturday, Feb, 23 Florida at home (lose 69-68)
- Tuesday, March 2 at Mississippi (lose 62-61)
Kentucky’s offense has been less than desired all season, breaking 80 only twice (and one of those games was against Morehead, so...).
If KenPom is right, UK is going to be challenging at the end of all the rest of their games. To me, that means they have a chance to go 10-0 the rest of the way, ending up 15-10 and playing in the postseason, and those chances go up if Terrence Clarke eventually returns.
We can dream, can’t we?
KenPom is great on their team and individual player stats. They have dozens of statistical categories for the team and each player.
One of the categories is how each player rates in overall effectiveness.
Guess what — Dontaie Allen leads the team with 61.0 percent overall effectives.
The rest of the team’s effectiveness: (Keion Brooks 54.8, Olivier Saar 54.0, Jacob Toppin 51.0, Isaiah Jackson 48.0, Davion Mintz 47.7, Terrence Clarke 46.8, Lance Ware 45.0, Devin Askew 39.0, Brandon Boston Jr. 38.8.
Cam’Ron Fletcher has not logged enough minutes to consider.
(Ken Mink is a former Herald-Leader sports writer. He served more than 50 years as a journalist and has written 26 books. He grew up in Vicco, near Hazard)