Game time: 8 pm EST
Where: Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky
TV Channel: The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network. Use this to find what channel that’s on with your TV provider.
Radio: Tom Leach and Mike Pratt will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM and 98.1 FM in Lexington or other network affiliates.
Odds: The Cats are 20 point favorites according to Bovada. KenPom projected Kentucky to be a 20.5-point favorite.
Predictions: ESPN’s Power Index gives the Cats an 87.7% percent chance to win. KenPom projects an 83-63 win and gives the Cats a 97% chance of winning.
Here are some highlights to help pass the time before tonight’s game:
The Wildcats are back in action tonight as Troy comes to Rupp Arena for some Monday night hoops.
The Cats were too slow out of the gate last Friday night against ETSU, but took care of business in the second half to win 78-61, led by Quade Green’s 21 points.
Facing Troy, the Cats should be able to win with relative ease. At this point in the schedule, with five games in a row against non-Power Conference teams, the Cats are will try to learn how to play with each other and discover what works for them on both ends of the floor without really having to worry about what their opponents are doing.
They’ll need to learn how to start games on the right note, a problem that last year’s team never really solved until the end of their regular season. Youth and inexperience can cause rough starts, and it will be hard for this group of highly regarded freshman to get pumped up to play Troy.
Regardless, how they start the game is something to watch for. If they storm out of the gate and put it on the Trojans, that could be a good sign for what we might see in the next five games before they face a bigger challenge against Virginia Tech on December 16.
Of all the Wildcats, it’s Nick Richards who could use a big game the most. Borderline unplayable against Kansas, Richards didn’t really bounce back the way he probably wanted to against ETSU – scoring 2 points and grabbing 3 rebounds in only 11 minutes.
It has been clear so far that Kentucky has been better with sophomore Sacha Killeya-Jones on the floor or with Wenyen Gabriel playing as the versatile stretch 5. Cal will likely start Richards again Monday night in hopes of getting him going. Richards needs to play with high-energy and make plays for himself without demanding the ball in post-up situations. Another stinker from him and he’ll have to keep this season from getting away from him early like it did for Sacha last season.
At 2-2, Troy has lost two very close games against North Dakota (80-83) and at Hawaii (72-67). They are led by junior wing Jordon Varnado, who is averaging 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game throughout the early portion of this season. Aside from a game against Arkansas in December, the Cats are the only major conference team on the Trojan’s out-of-conference schedule.
The Trojans only shoot 34% from three as a team, which might keep them from doing what ETSU did against the Cats, where they shot 31 threes and made enough early to keep it close in the first half. They also lack the height to compete on the inside against Richards, Killeya-Jones, and Gabriel.
As long as the Cats don’t sleep walk through the entire game, it should be a fun one for them. Since the game itself might not be all too captivating, I think the fans will settle for some entertaining highlights.