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Where Kentucky Ranks in D-1

As it currently stands, Kentucky is 5-3 and un-ranked in the AP top-25 poll, both firsts for the John Calipari era.  So far the ‘Cats have under performed the lofty expectations laid out for them in the preseason, but that’s certainly nothing to be worried about right now because of the team’s overall youth and inexperience.  The three losses were certainly eye openers for everyone involved, but they did teach us something about where the team currently stands in its development.  While wins and losses tell a pretty decent tale, they don’t tell the entire story.  So in order to give a bit more clarity on where Kentucky currently stands in the pecking order of college basketball, I researched exactly where the Wildcats rank nationally in key offensive/defensive statistics. The table below contains the advanced data from

For further elaboration on terms that may be confusing to you, click on this link to read a very short explanation of these stats.

Offensively, Kentucky is doing very well this season, despite what happened in the Baylor and Notre Dame games.  Kentucky’s offensive rating is high due in large part to efficient shooting from both inside and outside the perimeter (ranking top-43 in both).  The ‘Cats are also doing an excellent job of not turning the ball over and are keeping their shots from being blocked as well.  However, the offensive rebounding leaves something to be desired as we rank 147th nationally.  Overall, the offense isn’t were the problem lies with this team at the current time.


The defense is performing well, but not at an elite level.  Currently, Kentucky ranks 27th nationally in Adjusted Defense, allowing 89.9 points per 100 possessions.  This is largely due to the lack of turnovers being forced and the high amount of offensive rebounds being allowed.  Effective Field Goal defense is decent at this point, but opponents are shooting 33.3% from beyond the arc which places Kentucky 169th nationally for the time being.  Also, as would be expected with players like Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein, the ‘Cats are 9th in block percentage.  One category that hopefully will improve as the season progresses is “free throw defense”; Kentucky’s opponents are shooting a spectacular 73.6% from the charity stripe, ranking the ‘Cats 299th nationally.  This is absolutely infuriating as there’s virtually nothing that can be done about it.


Given the circumstances, Kentucky is playing moderately well for a team that is incredibly young and inexperienced.   It’s been said to the point of nauseousness, but it’s worth repeating.  Given the history of John Calipari coached teams, one would expect a jump in certain categories as the season progresses.  It’s impossible to say at what point in the season this improvement will occur, but provided this team is composed mainly of Freshmen, the increase in performance is inevitably coming.




Article written by Jonathan Schuette

13 Comments for Where Kentucky Ranks in D-1

  1. das moo
    8:11 pm December 6, 2012 Permalink

    Our free throw defense is horrible! Where are BCG and Perry when you need them for a blocked free throw?

  2. Big Whoop
    8:23 pm December 6, 2012 Permalink

    If you think this is bad, drop the cupakes and look atthe Big 6 Power Conferences games. Our Efficiency drops from 112 to 93. Our eFG% drops from 55% to 44%. The drop in all the above statistics is very telling. On the surface, it looks like we are competitive, bt when you drop the cupcakes, you can see just how bad this team is right now and how far they have to go. The talent is there, but this team does not play for each other.

  3. The Don
    8:58 pm December 6, 2012 Permalink

    2, you could also drop the Baylor/ND game and just look at the way we played Duke, Maryland, and some cupcakes (probably closer to most team’s scheduling difficulty at this time of year). Point is, our team has had some great games, some terrible games, and a few in between. In a small sample size, non of it is really indicative of much anyway.

  4. Bowel Movement
    9:10 pm December 6, 2012 Permalink

    What, no uofl news in the last five minutes? I’ll add some. Speaking of the Harrison twins, Quinton Snider lit one of them up last week for 30 and 10. Wonder why no mention of that? Plus, he is just a junior.

  5. Isaac in Long Beach
    9:26 pm December 6, 2012 Permalink

    4. We’re they playing 1 on 1? No? So he lit their TEAM up? Oh ok. Nevermind then. Move along.

  6. Isaac in Long Beach
    9:26 pm December 6, 2012 Permalink

    Were not we’re.

  7. Bluemister
    10:17 pm December 6, 2012 Permalink

    Jonathan shutter, the new BTI YOU SUCK

  8. Guck
    10:20 pm December 6, 2012 Permalink

    Twins weren’t guarding Quinton. Kid is good, but Harrisons would lock him up. On another level…

  9. so/so hire maybe
    10:25 pm December 6, 2012 Permalink

    #2 you said it best that this team does not play for each other. I think their youth is showing. That’s ok because Cals teams always get better after the Christmas break. He said he had them for 3 weeks without nothing but basketball. We will see what they really are capable of after this break. Remember Cal last year talking about how much better Teague got during the Christmas break this years team will do the same. Just hope that a sucky SEC doesn’t comeback to bite us in the NCAA seeding. Other then Flordia there isn’t anther good win in conference and every loss will be a bad loss. Seems like the best move for all UK teams would be to leave the SEC.

  10. DT from georgetown
    11:50 pm December 6, 2012 Permalink

    Stats bore me,nothing to see here .Move along.

  11. 7?
    1:57 am December 7, 2012 Permalink

    Who cares where we are Dec. 6. March and April matter here. I don’t think we will be cutting any nets down. We will be a lot better then this though.

  12. Big Whoop
    4:27 am December 7, 2012 Permalink

    3- Point taken. Our numbers against the Terps and the Dookies are better than aganst the Irish and the Bears which is indicative of playing to the level of competition. As we know with Cal’s teams, December doesn’t tell us much about what we will look like in March as #9 points out. I don’t think IU and Duke have much upside while we have a boatload if we get our act together.

  13. Big Whoop
    4:57 am December 7, 2012 Permalink

    Here’s another view:

    Our defense, in particular, is hurting us more than anything