Another week, another game the Kentucky Wildcats will place their winning streak on the line against a respectable Southeastern Conference opponent.
On Tuesday night, the fifth-ranked Wildcats will play host to the LSU Tigers. As a both are two of the hottest teams in their conference, the winning team’s resume should receive a significant boost as the calendar edges closer to Selection Sunday.
According to OddsShark, Kentucky is a nine-point favorite at Rupp Arena. Considering Tuesday’s game involves a matchup between two top-20 teams, Kentucky seems to be a sizable favorite. While the Tigers started the month of February with a home loss to Arkansas, they’ve rebounded with narrow wins at Mississippi State and at home over Auburn.
At 9-1 over their last 10 games, LSU is that one home loss away from matching Kentucky’s 10-game win streak. However, Kentucky has the much more impressive resume over that stretch. The Wildcats boast wins on the road at Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. Meanwhile, they’ve also protected home court with wins against Kansas, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.
One point of emphasis for Kentucky’s defense will be the SEC’s Player of the Week, Tremont Waters. Waters, standing 5’11, comes into the matchup averaging 15.7 points and 6.1 assists per game. LSU’s standout guard will likely draw the attention of Ashton Hagans as his primary defender.
The Wildcats’ priority on offense will be as it has each time they’ve taken the court this season. With a frontcourt featuring two towering big men and an exceptional wing who can soundly control the paint, Kentucky will need to crash the offensive glass for additional opportunities and own the defensive glass for transition baskets.
In terms of advanced analytics, Kentucky is clearly the superior team at KenPom, who ranks the Wildcats seventh overall, 17th in offensive efficiency and eighth in defensive efficiency.
It’s been quite the rise, as Kentucky was ranked 15th overall following their win ay Georgia. That means they’ve played so good over the past three weeks that it’s brought them up eight spots, the biggest increase of anyone in the top 20 during that span.
But don’t sleep on LSU, who is ranked 21st overall, 16th in offensive efficiency and 52nd in defensive efficiency. Their offense has been slightly better than Kentucky’s, but the difference in defense is where the Cats’ strength is.
LSU could present Kentucky one of their toughest challenges this season, but Kentucky has shown they can win in any situation during their hot stretch of basketball.
As mentioned above, Kentucky is a whopping nine-point favorite. Kentucky had covered in seven-straight games prior to Saturday’s win at Mississippi State, which was a push after the Cats closed as a four-point favorite before winning 71-67.
- Kentucky is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
- Kentucky is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 6 games
- Kentucky is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games when playing LSU
- Kentucky is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing LSU
- The total has gone OVER in 7 of Kentucky’s last 9 games when playing LSU
- Kentucky is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games when playing at home against LSU
- Kentucky is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against LSU
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 5 games when playing at home against LSU
- LSU is 7-2-1 ATS in its last 10 games
- LSU is 12-1 SU in its last 13 games
- The total has gone OVER in 8 of LSU’s last 11 games
- LSU is 5-0-1 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
- LSU is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
- The total has gone OVER in 11 of LSU’s last 13 games on the road
- LSU is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games when playing Kentucky
- LSU is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games when playing Kentucky
- The total has gone OVER in 7 of LSU’s last 9 games when playing Kentucky
- LSU is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games when playing on the road against Kentucky
- LSU is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Kentucky
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of LSU’s last 5 games when playing on the road against Kentucky
LSU’s offense and Kentucky’s defense are two of the better units the country has to offer. Kentucky has proven they can win in shootouts or in grind-it-out wins. Just see their win at Auburn or their win at Florida.
With Rupp Arena on their side, Kentucky should be able to close the deal. Although, there is a certain game this Saturday that could potentially snag the attention of the Wildcats. It likely won’t be pretty, but all this team cares about is adding W’s to their resume.
Final score: Kentucky 76, LSU 74