After a two-week hiatus, Assist Map Mondays is back! This time we’re taking a look at a big matchup between two storied programs. On Saturday, December 22, the Kentucky Wildcats defeated the UNC Tar Heels in the CBS Sports Classic in Chicago.
Both teams recorded very similar statistics in this game, shooting about the same from the field (43.1% for Kentucky compared to UNC’s 42.9%), from the three-point line (34.6% compared to 38.9%), and from the free throw line (68.2% compared to 68.8%). Each team also committed 18 turnovers. The difference in this game was on the offensive glass and in the assist totals. Both teams are great on the offensive boards, as the Wildcats rank 3rd in the nation in offensive rebound percentage, while the Tar Heels rank 18th. In this game, the Wildcats recorded 12 offensive rebounds compared to UNC’s five. They also recorded 24 assists compared to the 18 from the Tar Heels.
Kentucky’s 24 assists marked a season high, and their 52.4% assist percentage ranks only 169th in the nation. Sophomore big man PJ Washington recorded a season high eight assists, with four going to senior forward Reid Travis and two each to freshman wings Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro. Herro contributed with five assists, distributing three to Keldon Johnson and the other two to PJ Washington. Reid Travis, Ashton Hagans, and Keldon Johnson also had three assists each.
Kentucky has rebounded nicely from their opening blowout loss to Duke and currently ranks as KenPom’s 15th ranked team. The Wildcats have also moved up from #19 to #16 in the latest AP Poll. UNC, on the other hand, has cooled off after a 5-0 start and has only won three of their last six games. However, they have had a very tough schedule in that stretch and defeated Gonzaga while losing to three solid teams. As a result, they currently stand as KenPom’s 7th best team and AP #14. Both teams will look to continue their quality play as they head toward conference season.