Kentucky Basketball vs. LSU Tigers
- Time: 7 pm EST on January 4th, 2022.
- Location: Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- TV Channel: ESPN will have tonight’s TV coverage.
- Announcers: Karl Ravech and Jay Bilas will call the action.
- Stream: WatchESPN, the ESPN app, or use a free trial of fuboTV.
- Replay: SEC Network (check local listings) and WatchESPN.
- Listen: UK Sports Network with Tom Leach and Mike Pratt calling the fun.
- Satellite Radio: Sirius 85 | XM 192 | SXM App 963
- Rosters: UK I LSU
- Stats to Know: UK I LSU
- Teamsheets: UK | LSU
- Odds: LSU is favored by 2.5 points, according to DraftKings. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gives the Cats a 39.3% chance of coming away with the victory, while KenPom gives them a 43% of winning.
- Predictions: Barttorvik projects an 71-67 win for the home team. KenPom has the Cats losing 71-69. TeamRankings is going with a 73-70 win for LSU.
on ESPN tonight pic.twitter.com/wVvqjDML2k— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 4, 2022
Top-25 matchup on the road pic.twitter.com/jMiT3jGsFX— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 4, 2022
As the page turns to 2022, the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team is seemingly starting to fire on all cylinders.
After demolishing Missouri 83-56 and High Point 92-48, UK will now travel to Baton Rouge for what is sure to be one of their biggest tests of the season.
Kentucky and the LSU Tigers will tip-off at 7:00 pm ET on Tuesday inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The game can be viewed on ESPN or available with Tom Leach and Mike Pratt on the radio on WLAP.
Head coach Will Wade sneakily (imagine that) has his LSU team playing really well so far this year, despite dropping their first conference game to Auburn.
The Tigers are 12-1, ranked 16th in the nation, and are undefeated on their home floor.
We all remember what happened when John Calipari took his team on the road to South Bend just a few short weeks ago. I think most would be surprised to see UK lay another stinker like they did against Notre Dame, as there appears to be too much progress to come out and play that flat again.
That’s not saying UK can’t lose this game, though.
LSU has some serious talent, and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center is not an easy place to walk out of victorious.
ESPN’s matchup predictor likes the Tigers in this one. As of Sunday morning it was giving LSU a 60.7 chance at beating Kentucky.
It’s also worth noting that after starting the season 12-0 then dropping the first conference game of the season to Auburn — LSU will be especially desperate to avoid an 0-2 start in SEC play.
Then there’s the obvious extra juice that playing Kentucky will undoubtedly bring.
Duplicating another 90+ point performance will be a tall order for the Cats considering LSU has yet to surrender more than 70 points to an opponent.
As a matter of fact, the Tigers are the top-rated defense in America, according to KenPom’s metrics.
I knew that LSU was winning games, but to be honest, I had no idea how tremendous they’ve been defensively in the non-conference. Even with a modest schedule to this point, holding teams to 55.3 points per game on average is extremely impressive.
Something will have to give, because Kentucky has now worked their way up into KenPom’s top 10 for offensive efficiency, spearheaded by the recent brilliance of Kellan Grady. The grad transfer poured in seven made threes on Friday against High Point on only 10 attempts.
Having hit 23 of his last 31 three-pointers, Grady is dialed-in and finally found his rhythm as his volume has went up and is now shooting without hesitation. Watching him run the floor and then use his laser quick release to knock down deep jump shots has been one of the most enjoyable things so far this season.
With the success that Grady has seen, you can count on good defenses like LSU putting in more on purpose schemes to slow Grady and Kentucky’s perimeter offense down.
From a defensive perspective, UK will have their hands full with sophomore forward Tari Eason who’s been torching opponents for nearly 16 points a game while just averaging 22 minutes on the floor.
The transfer from Cincinnati has already managed to more than double his 7.3 scoring average from a year ago. At 6-foot-8, he does most of his damage in the paint while also snatching around seven boards per game.
This could be a big matchup for either Keion Brooks or Jacob Toppin. Assuming the plan is to keep Oscar Tshiebwe out of foul trouble — John Calipari will need some defensive positive contributions from other guys in the front-court.
If the Cats come out and continue to build on their positive momentum by winning in Baton Rouge you can start to dream about what this team’s ultimate ceiling truly is.
But again — winning on the road in college basketball is difficult — especially when you’re Kentucky.