Somewhere, probably in an equipment closet in the basement of Memorial Coliseum, there’s a note written on the scrolls of UK basketball fandom stating that all postgame shows must be riddled with questions about three-point shooting and rebounding. This season, things have not been any different as this team has evolved into a potent group from downtown and the game-to-game fear that Kentucky will get exposed on the boards appears to be unnecessary at this point. In fact, if you dive into the numbers, Kentucky’s production in those two statistical categories to this point have some championship correlations.
Eleven games into this season, Cal’s Cats 2.0 are the best three-point shooting team in school history, connecting on 41.6% of their long-distance shots. For now, it eclipses the 39.7% recorded by the 1995-96 team en route to a championship. The Cats are getting their buckets on 20 attempts per game, the third-most of the post-Pitino era and, strangely, only about 1.5 per game more than last year’s team attempted. That team finished with a team three-point percentage of 33%, but was also over 40% at this same point of the season before tired freshmen legs played a part in the percentage dwindling.
What might surprise you, though, is that this Kentucky team is also rebounding the ball as well as some notable great teams too. The Cats are pulling down 41 rebounds per game, which is half a rebound worse than last season’s far bigger squad, and the best (besides last year) since the 1997-98 title team averaged 42 per game. Even more notable, the duo of Josh Harrellson and Terrence Jones are combining for 19 rebounds per game, which makes them the best UK duo since Jim Andrews and Tom Parker (remember them?) combined for 21 in the 1971-72 season. Who would have bet on that prior to the season?
In summary, UK will win the national championship this year.