Photo by UK Athletics
Kentucky is headed to SEC play on Tuesday, to face the Tigers of LSU. With an SEC win already under their belt, I felt like it would be a good time to pause and take a look at where Kentucky stands nationally and amongst the conference.
Kentucky is averaging 83.92 PPG, which is ranked 1st in the SEC and 12th in the country. After last season, it’s been great to see some offense and I think that’s something all UK fans can agree upon.
Through 13 games, Kentucky is giving up 60.46 points on defense. This ranks 6th in the SEC and 36th in the country. Kentucky has a very solid defense. On top of the fact that Kentucky is a really good shot-blocking team, our guards do a really good job of staying in front of the opposing team and forcing turnovers.
Kentucky is +23.46 in scoring margin. This ranks 1st in the SEC and 3rd in the NCAA. This is an absolutely dominating statistic, and possibly the most important in winning games.
The Cats are shooting 74.1% from the free throw line. Calipari teams have historically struggled from the free throw line, but throughout college basketball isn’t substantially poor. UK ranks 3rd in the SEC and 76th in the country.
Kentucky is shooting 49.7% from the field, which ranks 1st in the conference and 12th in the country. Again, it’s great seeing the Cats score. With Sahvir Wheeler’s ability to get In the lane and find the open player, he tends to connect for an open basket more than not.
Kentucky is holding their opponents to 38.0% from the field, this ranks 4th in the conference and 22nd in the nation. This Kentucky team is very sound defensively. It is made up of mature players that communicate on defense. It seems Kentucky has forced more poor shots due to a late shot clock than any other UK team of recent years.
Kentucky shoots 33.6% from behind the three point line up to this point. This ranks 4th in the SEC and 188th in the country. Calipari says it all the time: We have shooters, we need MAKERS. A line I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night shouting because I’ve heard it so much. With the shooting streak that Kellan Grady has recently been on, I look for this statistic to rise by the end of the season.
Opponents are shooting 27.2% against UK from beyond the arc. Kentucky ranks 2nd in the SEC and 15th in the country in three point defense. Having a team full of good guards that consistently take pride in their defense is something Cal continues to harp on.
Kentucky is averaging an incredible 44.85 rebounds per game. Kentucky ranks first in the country, and I think we can thank Oscar Tshiebwe for that.
Kentucky is only allowing 28.0 rebounds a game, which also leads the country. Oscar Tshiebwe is bringing down 5.69 offensive rebounds a game, which leads the country as well. It’s no coincidence that Kentucky is winning that stat with Tshiebwe on the court.
Kentucky is at a +16.92 rebounding margin. Thus, another rebounding statistic that Kentucky leads.
Kentucky is averaging 5.3 blocks a game. They rank 5th in the SEC and 35th in the country. Kentucky is a very long and athletic team. Calipari’s best teams have had shot blockers and this team certainly fits that profile.
Kentucky is averaging an astounding 17.62 assists per game. This ranks 2nd in the conference and 14th in the country. It is no secret Cal needed to bring in a point guard that could get the ball in the best players hands, and Georgia transfer Sahvir Wheeler has done just that. Wheeler alone is averaging 7.77 assists per game, which ranks 2nd in the country and 1st in the SEC.
Kentucky is averaging 7.0 steals a game, which ranks 12th in the conference and 170th in the country. It is no secret that this team is not taking many chances on defense. They are very sound, and do not give up much ground by jumping many passing lanes. Not a horrible stat when you look at everything else they’re doing defensively.
Kentucky is +0.77 in turnover margin, and that ranks 10th in the SEC and 166th in the country. This team turns the ball over a lot, there is no sugarcoating that. Despite the turnover issues, Kentucky is still finding ways to throttle teams. With the amount of assists Kentucky gets, this is excusable.
Kentucky is +1.47 in assist-to-turnover ratio. This ranks 2nd in the SEC and 26th in the country. Yeah, the Cats turn the ball over but can consistently share the ball. Team basketball is winning basketball.
Kentucky is grabbing 15.0 offensive rebounds a game and 29.85 defensive rebounds a game. Kentucky ranks 1st in the conference and 3rd in the country offensively and 1st in the conference, 12th in the country defensively.
Kentucky is averaging 6.46 3 pointers made a game. This ranks 13th in the conference and 266th across all levels of college basketball. This number is strikingly low, but with Kellan Grady finding his touch and shooting 50% from beyond the arc, this number will only increase.
There is no doubt that Kentucky is statistically one of the hottest teams in the country right now. With league play starting, the Wildcats will look to stay hot.
This team is fun, folks.