TENNESSEE VOLUNTERS (8-6)
at KENTUCKY WILDCATS (10-5)
Rupp Arena Ė Lexington, KY
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Kentucky -11.5, Total: 135
Looking to turn their season around, preseason SEC favorite Kentucky will host Tennessee on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats are coming off an embarrassing 12-point loss to Texas A&M in which they were favored by 15 points. They still feature a high-powered offense (77.4 PPG) and enter this game as big favorites against a Volunteers squad that is 0-2 SU in the SEC and hasn't won and covered the same game since Dec. 13, going 3-3 SU (1-3-1 ATS) since. Can Kentucky cover the huge spread against its SEC foe? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts have a collective 24-18 ATS (57%) mark in the past six days, boosting them to 53% ATS (224-202-8) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who sits at 58% ATS (51-37) for the season, while StatFox Dave is at 54.3% ATS (82-69-3) on the year. Dave is also 5-1-1 ATS (83%) since Nov. 24 when he mentions the word "hammer" in his analysis, including 3-1 ATS when he uses the term "Hammertime" for a favorite covering a large spread. StatFox Scott is 51.1% ATS for the season, after going 8-4 ATS since Monday, and StatFox Brian is 4-3 ATS in the past three days.
Junior SG Jordan McRae (13.3 PPG) paces the Volunteer attack, but needs to work on his shooting, making just 32.8% of his threes despite launching 4.6 from beyond the arc per game. Heís been sizzling hot lately though, with three consecutive 20-point efforts, a span in which he has made 26-of-49 FG (53%) and 9-of-25 threes (36%). Six-foot-8 PF Jarnell Stokes (11.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG) is Tennesseeís primary post threat and isnít that tall but makes up for it with his 270-pound build. Heís coming off a weak six-point effort in the teamís loss to Alabama, and made just 2-of-9 shots in last year's 25-point loss in Lexington. Junior PG Trae Golden (11.1 PPG, 4.1 APG) runs the offense and like McRae has struggled as a shooter, hitting a pithy 24.3% three-pointers. He's currently 3-for-21 from downtown in his past nine games. The other guy to watch out for is 6-foot-9 F Kenny Hall (6.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG), who will be key matching up against the Wildcats low-post threats.
John Calipariís Wildcats have the potential to win this game on the boards, where they average 39.0 RPG and outrebound teams by +4.3 RPG. Six-foot-10 freshman phenom Nerlens Noel (10.8 PPG, 9.3 RPG) leads that effort and also records an incredible 3.7 BPG, good for 4th in the nation. Heís coming off an impressive 15-point, 11-rebound, seven-block, six-assist and four-steal effort in the teamís loss to the Aggies. Noel and fellow freshman Willie Cauley-Stein (7.6 RPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.1 BPG) form an impressive frontcourt alongside Kyle Wiltjer (10.5 PPG), who starts alongside Noel and adds an outside shot. Freshman SG Archie Goodwin (15.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.6 APG) paces the Kentucky offense, scoring in double-figures in 13 of his 15 games this season. He is joined on the wing by fellow first-year player, F Alex Poythress (13.4 PPG) who makes 63.2% FG and 41.2% threes. Guards Ryan Harrow (10.1 PPG, 3.4 APG) and Julius Mays (8.5 PPG, 3.3 APG) share some of the ball-handling duties for this Kentucky squad with five double-digit scorers.