SEC record: 0-0
2006-07 record: 21-11
2006-07 RPI: 12
2006-07 Sagarin: 14
Series: Kentucky leads, 28-22
It's difficult to draw many conclusions about the Wildcats to date. Kentucky has played only one major opponent, top ranked North Carolina, and lost by nine at home, and managed to lose to Gardner-Webb as well. Kentucky plays at a national average pace of 68.8 possessions per game, behind IU's 72. UK's overall efficiency numbers are good: 1.06 points per possession offensively and .83 defensively. IU's offensive numbers are better (1.15) but defensive numbers are worse (.93). IU's numbers still are good, but Kentucky's defensive numbers are outstanding, #12 in Division I. Kentucky is a pretty good offensive rebounding team (36 percent of its own misses) but doesn't get to the line very well and turns the ball over on 23.6 percent of its possessions. For all of IU's turnover issues, IU turns the ball over on 20.8 percent of its possessions. Defensively, the Pomeroy numbers show UK's excellence. Kentucky is #2 in effective field goal percentage defensively. While not a great rebounding team, Kentucky forces turnovers on 25 percent of possessions and its opponents do not get to the line often.
Joe Crawford, brother of IU's Jordan Crawford, leads the way for Kentucky. He averages 18 points on 14 shots and shoots 89 percent from the line. Also watch for Ramel Bradley, who averages 14 points on 8 shots, thanks to 46 percent shooting from behind the arc. Freshman Patrick Patterson is UK's leading rebounder and averages 16 points on 10 shots. He is shooting 63 percent from the field. Freshman Alex Legion has left the team and seems likely to transfer.
I think this game will be tougher than many Hoosier fans believe. UK's defense has been outstanding, and while I expect an IU win, I don't think it will be easy.