Sagarin/Dolphin predictions for Kentucky game

It's the moment we've been waiting for: the much-anticipated made-for-television marquee matchup with Kentucky, leader in all-time victories.

Sagarin gives Kansas the higher overall rating and the higher Elo Chess rating, but Kentucky is one notch higher than Kansas in the Pure Points rating, which is supposed to be the best predictor of future games. Kentucky also has the home court advantage, which combine to favor the Wildcats by 4.7 points; the Jayhawks would have only a 34 percent chance of winning the game. Kansas, however, is underrated by 5.0 points, whereas Kentucky is underrated by only 2.1 points, so the margin is diminished by 2.9 points to just 1.8 points. That makes the odds closer to 50-50. On the other hand, Kansas' rating is based mainly on games played with Simien in the line-up. If you figure he is worth about five points more than the combination of his replacements, then we're looking at something like a 7 point deficit for Kansas and a correspondingly poorer chance of escaping Lexington with a W.

One striking statistic is Kentucky's inconsistency factor, which is only 6.8 points, one of the lowest I've seen. The Wildcats have been very consistent; they beat William & Mary by 16 points more than expected and beat Georgia State by 8 points less than expected, and those represent the two extemes in their performance so far this season. Kansas has been less consistent, which is to be expected when you lose your leading scorer and rebounder, though the Jayhawks have been playing much closer to expectation in the games without Simien.

Another striking statistic is the weak schedule ratings given to Kentucky by Sagarin, Massey, and the RPI. The Wildcats have played two marquee opponents on the road (North Carolina and Louisville), a competent conference opponent in South Carolina, a declining Indiana team and Ball State on neutral courts, and then a bunch of cupcakes. Dolphin apparently rewards teams that play tough opponents on the road, because he actually has Kentucky with a higher schedule rating than Kansas.

As one might expect from a highly consistent team, Kentucky's trend is also quite flat. Meanwhile, Kansas is showing a downward trend of fair significance, something that can be attributed to Simien being out. The last four games, Kansas has played from 6.2 points below expectation to just 0.3 points above expectation. The bright spot is that Kansas managed to play up to expectation against a highly-regarded Georgia Tech team without Simien.

Massey's offense and defense ratings have reappeared, and although Kansas has the more potent offense of the two teams, Massey thinks Kentucky's defense is stronger. That comes as no surprise. Other than the 91 points that #1 North Carolina hung on them, Kentucky has held their opponents to low scores. South Carolina managed to get to 75, but the next highest score is Tennessee Tech's 63. Everbody else has been held to under 60 points. Three opponents have been held to under 50 points. Of course, Bill Self preaches defense as well, and the Jayhawks have only been allowing 60.9 points per game, not much more than Kentucky's 58.2 points per game. Expect a low-scoring game.

Dolphin's predicted score is fairly low: Kentucky 70, Kansas 66. He gives Kansas only a 39 percent chance of winning the game, though Kansas is ranked higher in all his various lists except for "Poll". In this case, the home court advantage makes all the difference.

There is one common opponent:

KU beat South Carolina by 4 at home (0 neutral court) UK beat South Carolina by 4 at home (0 neutral court) KU and UK tie on a neutral court, but UK wins by 4 at home

Of course, Kansas had Simien for its contest with South Carolina, but won't for today's game, so if you figure that Simien is worth at least five more points than the sum total of his replacements, then it would favor Kentucky by 9 points.


               ======================== Sagarin =======================
               Rate    SoS    Elo     PP   Perf   Inc.       Trend
               ====   ====   ====   ====   ====   ====   ==============
Kansas         #  5   # 41   #  5   # 12   +5.0   11.5   -1.70 +/- 1.20
Kentucky       #  9   #257   # 13   # 11   +2.1    6.8   -0.06 +/- 0.68 

               ============ Massey ============     === RPI ===     ====
               Rate    SoS    Pow    Off    Def     Rate    SOS     Rec.
               ====   ====   ====   ====   ====     ====   ====     ====
Kansas         #  3   # 36   #      # 23   # 29     #  1   #  2     10-0
Kentucky       # 22   #159   #      # 36   # 12     # 26   #150     10-1

               ======================= Dolphin ======================
               Std.   Med.   Pre.   IRPI   RPI    Pair   Poll   Sched
               ====   ====   ====   ====   ====   ====   ====   =====
Kansas         #  4   #  4   #  7   #  2   #  1   #  2   #  8   0.645
Kentucky       # 12   # 12   # 11   # 18   # 24   # 11   #  5   0.713

Here is Kansas' season:

SITE   OPPONENT                         SCORE    PREDIC    ERROR    PROB.
====   =============================   =======   ======    =====    =====
HOME   # 23 Vermont                     68  61    +7.04    -0.04
HOME   #142 Saint Joseph's              91  51   +19.05   +20.95
HOME   # 78 Nevada                      85  52   +15.34   +17.66
HOME   # 61 Pacific                     81  70   +13.50    -2.50
HOME   # 99 TCU                         93  74   +16.70    +2.30
HOME   #161 Louisiana-Lafayette         96  51   +20.36   +24.64
HOME   # 35 South Carolina              64  60   +10.21    -6.21
HOME   # 46 Wis.-Milwaukee              73  62   +11.66    -0.66
HOME   #  6 Georgia Tech                70  68    +1.73    +0.27
HOME   # 44 Texas A&M                   65  60   +11.19    -6.19
AWAY   # 11 Kentucky                              -4.66             0.343
AWAY   #102 Iowa State                            +8.70             0.775
AWAY   #114 Colorado                              +9.31             0.790
HOME   # 75 Nebraska                             +14.84             0.901
AWAY   # 42 Villanova                             +2.92             0.600
AWAY   #294 Baylor                               +21.62             0.970
HOME   # 14 Texas                                 +5.13             0.672
HOME   #119 Missouri                             +17.69             0.938
AWAY   # 75 Nebraska                              +6.66             0.718
AWAY   #138 Kansas State                         +10.56             0.820
HOME   #114 Colorado                             +17.49             0.936
AWAY   #  8 Texas Tech                            -5.76             0.309
HOME   #102 Iowa State                           +16.88             0.929
AWAY   #  7 Oklahoma                              -6.00             0.301
HOME   #  2 Oklahoma State                        -3.98             0.365
HOME   #138 Kansas State                         +18.74             0.948
AWAY   #119 Missouri                              +9.51             0.795

Latest season projection is still for five cumulative losses. There are four projected losses in individual games, including the road games against Kentucky, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma, but the Pure Points ratings currently favor Oklahoma State in the contest in Allen Field House.

Here is Kentucky's season to date:


SITE   OPPONENT                         SCORE    PREDIC    ERROR    PROB.
====   =============================   =======   ======    =====    =====
HOME   #253 Coppin State                77  46   +26.79    +4.21
NEUT   #109 Ball State                  73  53   +13.89    +6.11
HOME   #243 Georgia State               77  59   +26.04    -8.04
HOME   #214 Tennessee Tech              92  63   +24.20    +4.80
AWAY   #  1 North Carolina              78  91   -11.65    -1.35
HOME   #292 Morehead State              71  40   +30.17    +0.83
NEUT   # 90 Indiana                     73  58   +12.72    +2.28
AWAY   #  9 Louisville                  60  58    -4.85    +6.85
HOME   #278 William & Mary              92  47   +28.88   +16.12
HOME   #319 Campbell                    82  50   +33.95    -1.95
HOME   # 35 South Carolina              79  75   +10.78    -6.78
HOME   # 12 Kansas                                +4.66             0.754
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