The Cats will be on the road Tuesday night to take on Mississippi State.
This will be the 104th all-time meeting between the two squads, with Kentucky holding an 86-14 advantage. Mississippi State last defeated Kentucky in February of 2009, but there have been a few close games since. Most notably, the Demarcus Cousins “Call Me” game and the 2010 SEC Championship.
Ben Howland’s squad enters the game at 12-4 and on a three game winning streak, as well as winning six of their last seven. The Bulldogs have suffered some embarrassing losses, including a 25-point loss to Central Florida, a 14-point loss at home to Lehigh, a home loss to East Tennessee State, and a home loss to Alabama.
However, the Bulldogs have bounced back and won their last three conference games with a 27-point beatdown on the road at LSU, a six-point victory at Arkansas, and a 67-59 victory at home over Texas A&M.
The Bulldogs are led by 6’4 sophomore guard Quinndary Weatherspoon. Weatherspoon enters the game averaging almost 18 points per game and has been lethal from behind the arc this season to the tune of 47 percent from behind the three-point line.
The Bulldogs will need Weatherspoon and freshman guard Lamar Peters (43.1 percent from three) to be hot from outside to stay in this game.
Outside of him, expect to see a heavy dose of 6’10 forward Aric Holman. Holman, who graduated from Owensboro High School in 2015, averages just over 10 points per game for the Bulldogs and is their leading rebounder at 6.8 rebounds per game. Holman will also look to make an impact on the defensive end by blocking shots, as he leads the Bulldogs and is third in the SEC with 2.3 blocks per game.
Interestingly enough, the Bulldogs have another Owensboro native on their roster in freshman guard Eli Wright, though he plays pretty sparingly for Howland’s squad.
This game will probably be closer than expected due to the road environment and the recent hot streak Mississippi State has been on, but the Wildcats should be able to pull away in the end for a mostly comfortable victory.
Here is everything you’ll need to watch and follow the game:
When: Jan. 17, 2017
Game Time: 7 pm EST
Location: Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi
Live Online Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: UK Radio Network with Tom Leach and Mike Pratt
Live stats: UK Athletics
Odds: UK opened as a 14-point favorite. KenPom projected UK to be a 14.5-point favorite.
KenPom Prediction: KenPom projects UK to win 86-72 and gives the Cats a 91-percent chance of winning this game.