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Game Glances: Missouri comes to Rupp, and the Cats travel to Texas A&M

The Cats will aim to stay perfect in conference play after scoring a win on the road in Gainesville.

Antonio Reeves Big Blue Drew - A Sea Of Blue

John Calipari and this group of young Kentucky Wildcats continue to answer the bell rising to challenges placed in front of them. After stealing a victory on the road in Gainesville, the Cats are now 1-0 in conference play and have an overall record of 11-2.

Before the ball was tipped inside the O-Dome, most major betting services labeled UK right around a 3.5 point underdog, so walking away with an 87-85 victory was an impressive feat for a team playing in what was definitively the toughest environment they’d seen to this point.

What impressed you the most in Kentucky’s win over Florida?

Finding enough grit without Adou Thiero in the line-up? The late Aaron Bradshaw three-pointer? Committing on nine turnovers? Reed Sheppard’s clutch free throws?

For me personally, it has to just be the versatility in which this team possesses. There is never one element of a game that feels overly concerning when you consider the resolve this squad has shown.

There’s never time to relax in college basketball, especially when you play in the Southeastern Conference.

Kentucky will take on the Missouri Tigers on Tuesday night at 7 pm ET inside Rupp Arena.

The Tigers are struggling this season with an overall record of 8-6 and dropped the first conference game on Saturday, losing to Georgia by seven points on their home floor.

The oddsmakers will love the Cats in this one. Currently, ESPN’s matchup predictor favors UK with an 88% chance of victory.

The Cats will have to execute a game plan to slow down Sean East II. He’s a Louisville native and top-five scorer in the conference who’s pouring in over 17 points per game, which includes an insane 53% conversion rate from behind the 3-point line.

Back on December 9th, East II dropped 21 points in a loss to the Kansas Jayhawks, his efforts helped to keep the overall margin of deficit under 10 points. Slowing down #55 for Missouri should be the ultimate key to victory.

After Tuesday’s game things will get considerably more difficult as Kentucky hits the road for a long trip to College Station to take on Texas A&M, who was actually ranked No. 15 in the preseason AP Top 25 but are now unranked following a 9-5 start.

In a head-scratcher over the weekend, the Aggies lost by 15 points on their home floor against a pretty bad LSU team. A&M led by two points at the break but were obliterated in half number two by a margin of 38-21.

Things get no easier for Buzz Williams’ team because they’ll travel to take on #25 Auburn Tuesday night before their date with Kentucky.

It’ll be interesting to see just how Texas A&M bounces back from a tough loss playing in a hostile environment at Auburn. Regardless, I expect them to be up and ready for a 2:00 pm ET tip-off on Saturday when Coach Cal is roaming the sidelines.

As of now, ESPN’s matchup predictor favors the Aggies with a 66.4% chance of beating Kentucky at home.

Texas A&M is led by junior guard Wade Taylor IV, who’s averaging 18 points, 4.2 assists, three rebounds, and 2.4 steals per outing. He has five games of 21+ points and two of 34+, so he’s fully capable of lighting up the Cats’ struggling defense.

The Aggies’ best big man is senior Henry Coleman III, who began his career at Duke and has spent the past three seasons in College Station. He’s averaging 12.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game.

Even with their slew of talent, it’d be silly to anticipate Kentucky rolling through conference play without losing a game, but it’s also becoming difficult to imagine a scenario where inferior teams figure out a way to beat this group at full strength over the course of a 40-minute game.

Game: Missouri Tigers at Kentucky Wildcats

Location: Rupp Arena

Time: 7:00 ET on Tuesday, January, 9th

TV Channel: ESPN

Live Online Stream: WatchESPN and the ESPN app

Radio: UK Sports Network

Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings)

Odds: ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Wildcats an 88% chance of getting the win.

Early Predictions: EvanMiya has the home team winning 86-73 KenPom projects an 87-73 victory, Kentucky!


Game: Kentucky Wildcats at Texas A&M Aggies

Location: Reed Arena

Time: 2:00 PM ET on Saturday, January 13th

TV Channel: ESPN

Live Online Stream: WatchESPN and the ESPN app

Radio: UK Sports Network

Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings)

Odds: ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Aggies a 66.4% chance of besting Kentucky.

Early Predictions: EvanMiya has the road team winning 78-76. KenPom projects an 80-79 victory, Kentucky!