Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Did Kentucky get their signature win?

I was going to entitle this post are AP voters really this stupid, but the answer to that is too obvious. Kentucky got a much needed win tonight on the road against #16th ranked Ole Miss. Kentucky's best win on the year before tonight was a neutral site win against fellow bubble team Maryland. Kentucky has 6 losses already but more importantly they haven't beaten anyone. They don't have any bad losses, but they only have 2 remaining games against ranked teams because the SEC sucks this year. Kentucky is probably too talented and too well coached to not win enough games to make the tourney, but stranger things have happened. Kentucky is probably on the outside of the bubble right now so they needed this win, but is this really a signature win that anyone should care about?

This leads me back to those AP writers. How on earth did they vote that Ole Miss team to be #16? They certainly didn't look like a good team watching them tonight. Even if they had passed the eyeball test you still have to look at the numbers. Here are a few:

Ole Miss only played one major conference team in preseason- a home win against Rutgers.

Despite playing all preseason cupcakes Ole Miss lost 2 games to Middle Tennessee, and Indiana State.

Ole Miss plays up tempo and is 5th in the nation in scoring at 80.3 per game, but somehow is only 144th in assists at 13.3/game. They also only shoot 44.3% on FG.

Ole Miss has one quality win on the year at home against Missouri. They were 6-0 prior to tonight in conference, but that included 2 wins vs 11-8 Tenn, 2 wins vs 8-11 teams Auburn and Vanderbilt (in OT), and their 2nd best win against Arkansas who is 12-7 and NIT bound.


  1. Ole Miss probably isn't top 20, but they seem to be a fairly decent team. They are top 30 in the Kenpom rankings, even after yesterday's loss. They don't have any signature wins, but those losses aren't really so bad either. Middle Tennessee (#45 in kenpom, #33 RPI) is the class of the Sun Belt and Indiana State (#67 kenpom, #39 RPI) is the clear number 3 team in the MVC (and had a huge win at Wichita State last night). They also have two legitimate big-time scorers in Henderson & Halloway. Since they don't play Florida at home, this will probably be their only home loss in the otherwise awful SEC.

    That said, the main thing going on here is that Kenucky has underacheived. They are loaded with talent, obviously, and Calipari is a great coach so they'll probably get better as the season goes on. They are a top 20 team, in my opinion. But they will probably have to beat Florida at home, or get to the SEC final, to be assured of a tournament birth. Definitely not a team I'd want to play in the postseason, though.

  2. This is one where I disagree with Ken Pom too, along with the AP writers. This team's ranking is based on 2 things: They have a win vs Missouri who was #10 at the time, and they only have 3 losses.

    1st, I also believe Missouri to be a fraud. By fraud I don't mean they are a bad team, as they are certainly a tourney team. I just don't think they are quite as good as their ranking- currently #17. They got the snat beat out of them by Florida and Louisville, but at least they have some decent wins over IL, and VCU. Here's the thing though, when Ole Miss played Missouri, it was without Missouri's leading scorer and 2nd leading rebounder-Laurence Bowers who hurt his knee. He was hurt in the final minutes against Alabama and Ole Miss was the first team to play them after the injury. Bowers is a very good player and was averaging 17pts, 7boards, shooting 58%FG and 52% 3ptFG(although on only 25 attempts). His loss certainly threw Missouri, although I didn't watch this game. Missouri scores 75.6/game, but only scored 49 in this game. This win should not carry normal weight.

    Ole Miss has done a good job beating the teams on their schedule with only 3 losses. Again this is a fraud. Ole Miss according to Ken Pom has the 210th ranked strength of schedule, and 328th non-conference SOS. Other than the Missouri win I already exposed, their best win is Arkansas that Ken Pom has at #81. If you never play anyone good, it makes it hard to judge how good a team is. In that case I have to apply the eyeball test, and from watching them last night my peepers tell me they are not very good. In my humble opinion this team belongs down in the range of IL around 50-60, not in the top 30.

    As far as Kentucky goes I agree. This is a young team that is hard to figure out. If they continue to get better I could see them running the table in the SEC tourney to earn a 4-6 seed and making a deep tourney run. I could also see them continuing to struggle with consistency and missing the tourney altogether. If I had to bet on one of those, my guess is the former, but they probably end up somewhere in between.