Kentucky Wildcats (20-5) at LSU Tigers (18-7)
- Game Time: 9:00 pm EST on Tuesday, February 18th.
- Location: Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- TV Channel: Today’s game can be viewed on ESPN.
- Announcers: Karl Ravech, Jay Bilas and Marty Smith will call the action.
- Radio: Tom Leach and Mike Pratt will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM, 98.1 FM in Lexington, and on the UK Sports Network.
- Online radio: TuneIn broadcast or UKAthletics.com.
- Online Stream: The game can be streamed online at WatchESPN.
- Replay: WatchESPN and the SEC Network (check local listings).
- Odds: ESPN BPI gives LSU a 64.2% chance of victory. KenPom gives LSU a 58% chance of beating the Cats.
- Rosters: UK | LSU
- Live Stats
- Prediction: KenPom projects a 78-76 win for LSU. TeamRankings is going with a 77-75 win for the Tigers, while numberFire went with a 74-73 win for the home team.
The Kentucky Wildcats held on to defeat the Ole Miss Rebels at home on Saturday as both LSU and Auburn lost on the road.
The Wildcats now lead the SEC standings by one game over both of those teams. Up next, they will travel down to Baton Rouge to try and add to that lead on Tuesday.
LSU has lost three of their last four games, as a matter of fact. They have fallen to Vanderbilt, Auburn, and most recently, Alabama. However, all of their losses in SEC play have been on the road. They have been perfect at home against conference opponents and will look to stay that way on Tuesday.
The Tigers have a very balanced attack offensively with five players averaging double figures. Senior Skylar Mays leads the way with 16.2 points per game to go with his two steals. He’s scored 23+ points in three straight games and has two 30-point outings this season, but the Cats did hold him to 11 points on 3/13 shooting when the two faced off last season.
LSU has a lot of athleticism, which helps them very well across the board. Darius Days (7.5), Trendon Watford (7.1), and Emmitt Williams (7) all grab at least seven boards per game and score in double figures. You may remember Trendon Watford’s brother, Christian, from what is apparently the most iconic moment in Indiana history.
The Tigers do not shoot the ball great from deep at just 31.4% as a team, but Mays is hitting 37.4%, and they’ve still put up an average of 86 points per game in their last four outings. Javonte Smart is also starting to heat up, as he’s hit nine of his last 16 triples and has averaged 15.8 points over his last five games.
After winning the SEC regular-season title last season, the Tigers were in the driver’s seat again this year going into the month of February. Now, they are just looking to stay in the hunt with a win over the Cats, a similar scenario that played out last season. Kentucky was in good position to win the SEC, but the Tigers came into Rupp and pulled off a shocking win thanks to controversial non-goaltending call, and that ultimately helped the Tigers win the regular-season crown.
If Kentucky wins Tuesday, that will put LSU two games behind the Wildcats, who will also hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with only five more games afterward, so this is essentially a must-win game for the Tigers’ hopes of a second-straight regular-season trophy.
The Wildcats seem to be cementing an identity, but not necessarily an ideal one heading into March. Yes, Immanuel Quickley is hitting big shots and putting up lots of points (14.9 per game). And Nick Richards has been as consistent as the day is long with 14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Tyrese Maxey is starting to come into his own and has scored nearly 17 points per game over the last six.
However, Ashton Hagans really seems to be regressing. In Saturday’s win over Ole Miss, he only had six points and three assists to go with his four turnovers. He also fouled out with a minute left in the game and the Wildcats clinging to a one point lead. That is certainly not the time for your point guard to show himself to the door.
LSU does not boast a lot of size, so this could be another big game for Nick Richards. But the strength of the Tigers is in their guard play, and Ashton Hagans very well may be the difference in the game. Will he bounce back and lead his team to victory? Or will he continue his regression and stumble as his team falls on the road?