Place: Rupp Arena (Lexington, KY)
TV: SEC Network
Line: Kentucky opened as 13.5 point favorites
Advanced Metrics via KenPom: Texas A&M has an 11% chance to win
Results of Note
Kentucky always challenges themselves away from Rupp Arena prior to SEC play, and this year was certainly no exception. They have a really impressive neutral site win over UNC and an almost as impressive road win at Louisville, but the rest of their travels haven’t been as kind. They were crushed in their season-opener against Duke, and they dropped a surprising game against Seton Hall. Shoot, they even dropped their SEC opener at Alabama.
None of this matters, because they are 8-0 at home this season and they have won every home game by double digits. Eat at Arby’s.
Things to Watch
Heaven help us, these guys are balanced.
- Five different players shoot at least 33% from beyond the arc
- Seven different players shoot at least 50% from inside the arc
- Seven different players shoot at least 70% from the free throw line
- Four different players have a top 17 SEC rank in KenPom’s “Offensive Rating” metric
The overall team-wide rankings are about as pleasant
- Kentucky has the 3rd most efficient offense in the SEC
- Kentucky has the 3rd most efficient defense in the SEC
- Kentucky is the 2nd best offensive AND defensive rebounding team in the SEC
Like us, they only have eight guys they trust. Unfortunately, the similarities end there.
So, how can we pull this off?
First, the easy part: If Kentucky plays to their potential, we can’t pull this off. Any path to victory begins with the Wildcats playing beneath their potential. Full stop.
But if they do that, there is a path to victory. For all of their defensive prowess, they are truly abysmal against three-point shooting. How bad, you ask? They are almost as bad at stopping them as we are at shooting them.
- Kentucky 3PT defense (38.4% made; 327th in D1 basketball)
- Texas A&M 3PT offense (28.3% made; 336th in D1 basketball)
It’s probably a function of the bomb-heavy nature of the teams they’ve bludgeoned at home, as one tends to fire away when losing by 20. But still… let me have this one.