KENTUCKY WILDCATS (19-6)
at OLE MISS REBELS (16-9)
Tad Smith Coliseum - Oxford, MS
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Kentucky -4.5, Total: 145
Looking to avoid a second consecutive loss, No. 18 Kentucky hits to road to face an Ole Miss team that has dropped two straight and faces back-to-back games against conference powerhouses Kentucky and No. 2 Florida.
The Wildcats had won four in a row before dropping a 69-59 home decision to Gators on Saturday to lower their SEC mark to 6-6 ATS. Kentucky (11-12 ATS overall) is 10-9 ATS as a favorite this season, but just 2-5 ATS on the road. The Rebels are 8-11-2 ATS overall and 1-3-1 ATS (0-5 SU) as an underdog this season, though they have yet to be an underdog at home where they are 4-5-1 ATS. Ole Miss is only 5-6-1 ATS against conference foes this season, but is 2-0-1 ATS in its past three games. That included a push in a three-point loss to Alabama and a cover in the most recent 61-60 defeat at the hands of Georgia. When these two teams met earlier on Feb. 4 in Lexington, Kentucky won 80-64, easily covering the 11-point spread. In that game, the Wildcats shot 51.0% from the field and outrebounded the Rebels 41-26, holding them to 38.5% shooting. Kentucky is now 15-2 SU (10-7 ATS) in the past 17 meetings of this series. Although UK head coach John Calipari is 98-70 ATS (58%) versus good teams (4+ PPG margin) after 15+ games since 1997, Andy Kennedy is 19-4 ATS (83%) versus good offensive teams (77+ PPG) after 15+ games as the head coach of Ole Miss.
Which team will get back in the win column on Tuesday night? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a 59% ATS (215-149-11) mark, including a hefty 61% ATS (183-115-6) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 67% ATS (49-24-2) in Best Bets for the season, 85% ATS (17-3-1) since Jan. 17 and 71% ATS (42-17-1) since Nov. 26. StatFox Dave is 61% ATS (45-29-1) for the season and 67% ATS (28-14) since Dec. 18, while StatFox Zach is 55% ATS (39-32-4) on Best Bets this season, including 57% ATS (33-25-3) since Nov. 22. StatFox Scott is 56% ATS (41-32-2) for the season and 57% ATS (31-23-2) since Dec. 2, while StatFox Gary is 56% ATS (41-32-2) for the season, and 60% ATS (35-23) since Nov. 29.
The Kentucky offense scores 78.0 PPG (38th in Div. I) on 46.8% shooting (56th in nation), but makes just 32.5% threes. The offense also lacks a strong leading passer with only 11.9 APG (246th in Div. I). But the Wildcats make up for it on the glass with 41.4 RPG (7th in nation) and limiting opponents to 66.4 PPG on 39.6% FG (25th in Div. I) and 29.5% threes (17th in nation). Freshman PF Julius Randle (15.7 PPG, 10.0 RPG) leads the team in scoring and rebounding and has put up double-doubles in back-to-back contests (12.5 PPG, 12.5 RPG). However, Randle made a career-low two baskets (2-of-6 FG) in the win over the Rebels two weeks ago. He is joined down low by C Willie Cauley-Stein (7.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG), who recorded game-high totals with 18 points and 11 rebounds in that win against Ole Miss. He added six blocks in that contest as well, and averages a whopping 3.0 BPG (20th in nation). But since that monster effort, Cauley-Stein has just 5.0 PPG and 3.3 RPG in three games. The rest of Kentuckyís top scorers are freshmen perimeter players, paced by James Young (14.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG), who had a big game in Saturday's loss to Florida, going for 19 points (7-of-10 FG) and five boards, which was a big improvement from his paltry 10 points (2-of-8 FG) and three rebounds in 34 minutes versus Ole Miss two weeks ago. Twin brothers Aaron Harrison (13.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.2 APG) and Andrew Harrison (11.3 PPG, 3.5 APG, 3.0 RPG) share the ball-handling duties with Andrew leading the team in assists. The duo combined for 25 points (8-of-14 FG), eight rebounds and seven assists in the Feb. 4 blowout of the Rebels. Andrew Harrison also played quite well in Saturday's defeat, scoring 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting and 8-of-8 free throws.
Ole Miss plays an up-tempo offense that averages 76.2 PPG (58th in Div. I) despite shooting a dreadful 42.4% from the field (276th in Div. I). That low clip is in part due to its aggressive long-range shooting, launching 22.0 shots from distance per game at a 36.7% clip. Defensively, the Rebels yield 71.6 PPG (220th in nation) on 41.3% shooting and 33.8% threes and do a poor job on the glass with only 24.0 RPG (168th in Div. I). They are led by the always-controversial senior SG Marshall Henderson (19.5 PPG), who puts up big numbers no matter what it takes. Heís making 4.5 threes per game on a 37.1% clip, and his 264 attempts ranks third in the nation. In the first meeting against Kentucky this season, he scored a team-high 16 points but made just 6-of-18 shots (4-of-12 threes). Marshall is joined in the backcourt by junior PG Jarvis Summers (16.8 PPG, 3.8 APG), who is the teamís leading assist man and only other double-digit scorer. Starting with a 4-of-13 effort at Kentucky on Feb. 4, Summers has just 11.8 PPG on 33% FG (2-of-12 threes). The other key factors in this one will be two big men, 6-foot-9 forwards Aaron Jones (6.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG) and Sebastian Saiz (5.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG). While they are not big scorers, they are the teamís two top rebounders and combine for 3.2 BPG. To give the Rebels a shot in this one, the duo will need to be more effective than they were in the loss in Lexington when they combined for only nine points and six rebounds.