- Game Time: 7 pm EST on February 12, 2019
- Location: Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY
- TV Channel: ESPN
- Announcers: Karl Ravech, Dick Vitale and sideline reporter Laura Rutledge will call the action.
- Live Online Stream: You can watch it online using WatchESPN, the WatchESPN app and fuboTV. You can listen to an online radio stream via UK Athletics.
- Replay: Check local listings on the SEC Network and WatchESPN. Here is a condensed replay of Saturday’s win over Mississippi State.
- Radio: Tom Leach and Mike Pratt will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM and 98.1 FM in Lexington or online at UKAthletics.com.
- Rosters: UK | LSU
- Odds: Kentucky opened as a surprisingly big favorite, as Vegas views them as a nine-point favorite over an LSU team that’s ranked 17th in NET. KenPom projected the Wildcats to be an 8.5-point favorite. As good as Kentucky has been during its 10-game winning streak, that’s a dangerous spread if you think the Cats will cover. Go here for more betting trends and analysis.
- Predictions: UK has a 87.1% chance to win, according to ESPN’s matchup predictor. KenPom gives the Wildcats a 79% chance to win and projects a 78-69 win for the home team. Go here for our own staff predictions.
- Live Stats
- Gameday Digital Guide
Looking forward to this moment tonight. It's GAME DAY!!! pic.twitter.com/4qg7iG4O9C— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 12, 2019
Kentucky is back in Rupp Arena on a 10-game winning streak with a chance to make a major statement this week.
By winning the next two home games, it will open a clear path to a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But those two foes are not going to make it easy.
Tuesday night, LSU will travel to Lexington with 9-1 conference record and a legitimate contender for the SEC title. At 19-4 overall, second-year head coach Will Wade has positioned his team to be a dangerous team heading into the spring.
Led by sophomore guard Tremont Waters, the Tigers will be coming off one of their best wins of the year by beating Auburn on Saturday. Their record speaks for itself, but it’s definitely fair to say that LSU has hardly any quality wins so far.
With losses in the non-conference to Houston and Oklahoma State, the Tigers need a resume win like beating a top-five team on their home floor.
It would normally be easy to look ahead to Saturday’s clash with No. 1 Tennessee, but LSU is still a major test for the Cats that they should be focused on.
Buckle up, Big Blue Nation, the atmosphere is going to be great in Rupp Arena on Tuesday night.
Keys to the Game
40 full minutes
A second half lull could have translated to a terrible loss in Starkville. Fortunately for Kentucky, they were able to settle down just enough to secure a four-point win on the road.
With an opponent like LSU, there will be much less room for the lackluster play that the Cats showed down the stretch at Mississippi State, as an 18-point lead was cut to just one. The home crowd at Rupp Arena should help thwart any similar runs on Tuesday night but it will still be important for Uk to execute for a full 40 minutes.
The Tigers’ last three games have been decided by five points or less, including an overtime victory at Mississippi State. I would be really surprised if LSU folds at any point during this game or lets it get too far away from them.
Kentucky had scored more points than their opponents in the second half in five-straight games before traveling to Starkville. Winning the final 20 minutes might be what it takes to knock off LSU.
Get back in the free-throw groove
This year’s Kentucky team has been the best free-throw shooting club in the John Calipari era, as they’ve been hitting around 75% of their charity shots for most of the season.
But that changed in a big way Saturday, as the Cats hit just 10/17 attempts. That many missed free throws help keep Mississippi State alive throughout the second half when Kentucky could have put them away.
The Cats can’t let this bad game turn into a slump, as hitting at that lower rate could kill their chances of beating LSU and Tennessee.
Control the fouls
With Kentucky’s depth, foul trouble has really been a non-issue this season. But Saturday, PJ Washington fouled out, and Reid Travis was limited with four fouls. Naz Reid and Kavell Bigby-Williams are both nearly 7-feet tall and will challenge UK’s frontcourt in the paint.
Washington continues to prove that when he is locked in there are not many better players in the country. His eight straight points to start the game on Saturday were important to establish a rhythm on the road. Avoiding early foul trouble will help set the tone and prevent possibly playing from behind.
Of course, if there is any frontcourt foul trouble, the Cats will rely on Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery to step in and contribute. While Nick Richards continues to struggle, EJ Montgomery has snagged 20 rebounds in the last two games.
Get Nick going
Going with the above, Nick Richards hasn’t done much lately after it appeared he was finally breaking through. After his 14-point outing at Vanderbilt, Richards has scored just six points on 3/5 shooting while pulling in five rebounds and blocking one shot.
That has to improve for Kentucky to hold off the frontcourts of LSU and Tennessee. You could argue this is the biggest week of Richards’ career, as he could be the x-factor against two teams who can light up a scoreboard in the paint alone.
Players to watch:
Tremont Waters: 15.6 points and 5.9 assists per game
Sophomore guard Tremont Waters is a really special player who can be difficult to contain when he is hot. At over 15 points a game he ranks 8th in the SEC in scoring. Waters hit four 3 pointers in Saturday’s win against Auburn and will surely be firing up some shots on Tuesday. It will be a real treat to watch Ashton Hagans with this assignment.
Naz Reid: 14 points and 6 rebounds per game
If you haven’t watched Naz Reid play I think you will be intrigued by what you see on Tuesday night. His size and power are an entertaining combination. The big guy is putting up some numbers as of late including 29 points in LSU’s overtime win at Mississippi State. Reid is still unpolished but can be a load to deal with. The Cats front court will have to rise to the challenge like they have done so well during this ten game winning streak.
Skylar Mays: 13 points per game
The junior guard is shooting 33% from three while averaging 5 attempts per game. Mays will be coming off a huge game Saturday against Auburn where he scored 20 points. With a lot of attention being paid to Water the Cats will have to stay focused on Mays because he is a capable scorer.
Ja’vonte Smart: 10.9 points per game
Kentucky isn’t the only team with talented freshman guards, Smart is 6’4 and having a really good first year of college. He came to Baton Rouge as a top 35 recruit and has been a nice compliment to Waters and Reid. The Tigers have a really good nucleus of players and Smart is just another example of a solid scorer.