Check out the stat pack for tomorrow night's match up between the Gators and the Wildcats. Here are some of your basic, everyday stats to look at when you want to initially see how the teams match up:
UF: 82.3 Opp: 59.9
UK: 73.7 Opp: 65.0
UF: .540 Opp: .396
UK: .481 Opp: .388
UF: 7.7 (44.0%) Opp: 5.0 (29.1%)
UK: 6.9 (36.5%) Opp: 7.4 (31.3%)
UF: 1.3 Opp: 0.7
UK: 1.1 Opp: 0.9
Ken Pomeroy has a few other stats that I thought I'd share, because just looking at the above stats may seem a little dull to some. Below you will see listed offensive efficiency (Points scored/100 possessions), defensive efficiency (Points allowed/100 possessions) and pace (Possessions/40 minutes).
In some cases, these stats can prove the "everyday" stats deceiving -- but in the case of the Gators they have a high OE as well as a better PPG stat, as well as a high DE and a lower opponents PPG stat -- so really, these stats don't open our eyes to any underlying truth in this situation. Still fun to look at, though, and there are a ton more on Pomeroy's site if you're interested. I recommend it strongly.
The Gators just look to have a better team on paper, but paper doesn't prove anything in college basketball -- especially when the game is being played on national television in a hostile environment. They score more points, more efficiently, than Kentucky, and on the same note give up less per game to the opposition. The Gators shoot a higher percentage than Kentucky, overall and from beyond the arc, and they rebound the ball much better.
These are, however, numbers from every game for each team. With that in mind they may be a little misleading due to the fact that Kentucky had a much tougher OOC road to where they are now than Florida -- with games against UCLA, Memphis, UNC, Indiana and Louisville. Really, it's tough to compare the two teams on paper unless you do it using in-conference stats only -- something that I don't have the time nor energy to do right now (if anyone knows of a good stats site that breaks down overall and conference stats, let me know).
Kentucky's projected starting lineup of Perry, Morris, Crawford, Bradley and Jasper combine for an average of 56.4 p/g and 22.6 r/g. 6-11 Randolph Morris comes in as the Cats leading scorer at 15.6 p/g, and also leads the team in rebounding at 7.3 boards/game. By the looks of that you may say that their big man underneath will be the go-to guy in their offense, which sounds great for the Gators.
Morris isn't the Cats only producing player as of late. G Ramel Bradley has been on fire over the last 3 wins for Kentucky, averaging 22 points in those games, going for more than 20 in each. In the three games he has hit 9 three-pointers, so keeping an eye on Bradley around the perimeter will be essential tomorrow night.
The Cats shoot the 3 pretty well overall, hitting nearly 7/game and shooting close to 37%. The Gators, though, have done well defending against the 3 this year, especially in their last outing when they harrassed Georgia's guard around the perimeter and forced a 4-22 shooting performance from beyond the arc. Gator opponents are only hitting 5/game.
On the offensive side of the ball for the Gators, 3-pointers could be considered one of their many strengths. Lee Humphrey is shooting 68% from 3-point land in SEC play, and is now at 50% on the year. He went 3-3 in the win over Georgia, and will need to hit a couple big shots tomorrow night. If he doesn't, then there is always a chance for Taurean Green and Walter Hodge to get some looks from beyond the arc in the game. In a game in which Humphrey struggled in recently, only scoring 6 points, Hodge came in off the bench and pitched in 12 points. That's what we need if Humphrey happens to go cold.
Looking at the rebound numbers, Florida should be able to win the battle on the glass -- having an advantage in rebound margin of 5.7/game. This should mean that the Gators big men underneath -- Noah and Horford -- should be able to establish themselves on the defensive and (hopefully) offensive glass tomorrow night. If they can avoid giving up second chance points to the Cats, especially big 3 pointers to shift momentum, it really could set the tempo of the game.
Speaking of offensive rebounds, Pomeroy's site has a stat called "offensive rebound percentage," which is defined as this: OR% = OR / (OR + DRopp). On the season Kentucky has not been very good from this standpoint, coming in ranked 180th in the category at 33.3%. Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, Florida ranks 3rd in the nation in opponents OR%. Basically, Kentucky doesn't grab too many offensive boards and Florida doesn't give up too many. This is a positive.
OK, so things are looking positive going into the game for the Gators. They are riding a high of emotion that has put them unbeaten in conference play going into tomorrow night's game, and they are continually doing things that win ball games: being unselfish, rebounding, staying out of foul trouble, getting production from players off the bench, etc. The numbers are in our favor, but the numbers don't play the game.