Davidson over Kentucky is a trendy upset pick in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament. I think it’s baloney. When I look at the actual matchup, nearly everything leans in UK’s favor, and most in a big way. A highlight three of the biggest:
1. They don’t get to the foul line and Kentucky does
-Davidson ranks 345th in the country (out of 351) in free throws attempted. They only attempt 13.8 free throws per game. Kentucky is 4th in the country in free throws attempted, averaging 24.6 attempts per game. Point being, UK is likely looking at a serious advantage at the foul line. Now, UK can’t blow that opportunity by shooting a poor percentage but if the right guys are getting to the line, UK should gain 8-10 points at the line.
2. What they do well UK does even better
-Davidson’s advantage over most teams is from the perimeter. They make the 10th most threes per game at 10.7 per game and they shoot it at a good rate, making 39.1% of their attempts. But UK’s 3-point defense is even better. They are 5th in the country at defending the three, holding teams to a 29.9% rate for the season. In the SEC Tournament, they held their 3 opponents to 6-23, 8-24, and 10-27. That’s just 32% shooting. I am not saying that Davidson can not hit 8-12 threes against the Cats but they are going to have to take a lot of them to get to that number. Which brings us to #3…….
3. They can’t get offensive rebounds
-If UK can hold Davidson to a lower than normal shooting percentage, all of the rebounds will be the Cats. Even if the Cats didn’t have a huge size advantage over Davidson, it wouldn’t matter because Davidson doesn’t rebound their misses anyway. They are 341st (out of 351) in offensive rebounding, getting just over six a game. They depend on hitting a high percentage of shots.
This game is not actually tough to breakdown. It revolves around two things:
- UK shooting a decently high percentage from the foul line.
- Davidson shooting a lower than normal percentage from the 3-point line.
That’s it. If those two things happen, which have been happening all year in UK’s favor, then the Cats couldn’t have much of an issue tomorrow.