Tennessee at Kentucky NCAA Basketball Spread & Game Analysis.

Tennessee at Kentucky NCAA Basketball Spread & Game Analysis

Written by on February 15, 2019

Easily the game of the day in college basketball on Saturday is a prime-time affair from Lexington as No. 5 Kentucky hosts No. 1 Tennessee. A Vols win might be their biggest in regular-season school history, while UK would have almost no shot at the SEC regular-season title with a loss. The Cats should be slight college basketball odds favorites.

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Season Series

First of two scheduled meetings. Last year, the Cats lost both regular-season meetings. At Rupp, it was 61-59. UT’s Lamonte Turner scored 16 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 26 seconds remaining, Admiral Schofield followed with an insurance dunk off a turnover. Tennessee ran down the shot clock in the final minute before Turner fired from long range for the go-ahead basket in a tight game featuring 17 lead changes and 13 ties.

However, Kentucky won the last meeting 77-72 in the SEC Tournament title game. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 29 points to lead UK its fourth straight Southeastern Conference Tournament championship. It’s the 31st title in tournament history for the Wildcats, whose No. 4 seed in the event was the lowest in John Calipari’s nine seasons at the school.

Why Bet on Tennessee?

The Vols are unbeaten on the road this season but this will be by far Tennessee’s toughest road game thus far, as the Vols’ only top-60 road win this season is at Florida.

Tennessee easily rolled past South Carolina on Wednesday night 85-73. South Carolina made a season-high 14 3-point baskets and shot 60.9 percent from beyond the arc, but still trailed by double digits throughout the last 28 1/2 minutes. Having won a school-record 19 games in a row, Tennessee owns the longest active winning streak of any active Division I team and is 11-0 in Southeastern Conference competition for the first time in school history.

Admiral Schofield led the way with a game-high 21-point performance while grabbing a team-high 10 boards for his fourth double-double of the season. The Vols had a balanced offense throughout the game, as every player who played more than three minutes scored and had at least one assist. Tennessee dished out 22 assists (on 34 made baskets) as a team against South Carolina, surpassing 20 assists for the 12th time this season. Entering Wednesday night, the Vols led the nation in assists with an average of 19.9 per game.

National Player of the Year candidate Grant Williams led the team with seven assists to go along with eight points and nine rebounds. His efficiency rating of 23 led all Tennessee players and marked his 18th game this season with an efficiency rating of 20 or better. Williams moved into Tennessee’s top five in career blocks with a total of 143 blocked shots, surpassing Dyron Nix (142).

UT is now 8-1 all-time as the AP’s top-ranked team. It also has won a school-record 15 straight SEC regular-season games. The Vols have shot 50 percent or better 16 times this season and rank second in the country with a .516 field-goal percentage.

Team Stats

Offense
  • Total Score: 85.42
  • Field Goal Percentage: 51.45
  • Three-Point Percentage: 36.79
  • Free Throw Percentage: 76.67
  • Total Rebounds: 38.12

Defense

  • Total Score: 67.54
  • Field Goal Percentage: 39.10
  • Three-Point Percentage: 33.28
  • Free Throw Percentage: 63.15
  • Total Rebounds: 33.71

Why Bet on Kentucky?

Perhaps UK was looking ahead to this game as it was upset at home by a good LSU team on Tuesday, 73-71, to snap UK’s 10-game winning streak. With the game tied after Wildcats guard Keldon Johnson made two free throws with 6 seconds left, Skylar Mays drove the length of the court. His shot missed, but Kavell Bigby-Williams got the offensive rebound and scored to give the Tigers their first win over the Wildcats since 2009. It may have been offensive goaltending, but that’s not reviewable in college basketball. It was the first time the Tigers have won a road game against a ranked Kentucky team since Jan. 28, 1980. LSU outscored Kentucky 41-31 in the second half to overcome a nine-point deficit.

PJ Washington scored 20 points and tied for game-high honors in rebounding with nine. It was his eighth 20-point game of the season and his sixth in his last seven games. He has nine straight games in double figures. Washington is averaging 20.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks over the last seven games. During that stretch, he’s shooting 52.0 percent from the floor and 50.0 from 3-point range. After mulling a decision to turn pro after last season, Washington is enjoying career highs in virtually every statistical category in his return sophomore season.

Tennessee vs Kentucky should be a close one on Saturday Night.

Johnson scored 16 points. With other UK guards battling foul trouble, Tyler Herro played a career-high 39 minutes and totaled 12 points and four assists.

Kentucky won the rebounding 39-32 and points in the paint 34-30. UK is now 18-2 this season when winning/tying the rebounding and 17-3 when prevailing in the paint. In the first half, UK dominated an athletic LSU team on the boards, 23-14, and held the Tigers to a mere three offensive rebounds in 20 opportunities and zero second-chance points. After the break, LSU won the rebounding battle, 18-16, and scored 12 second-chance points on six offensive boards.

UK is 4-2 vs. Associated Press Top 25 foes this season. It also ended Kentucky’s 17-game winning streak at Rupp Arena, including 14 in a row this season.

Team Stats

Offense
  • Total Score: 78.38
  • Field Goal Percentage: 47.54
  • Three-Point Percentage: 35.25
  • Free Throw Percentage: 74.56
  • Total Rebounds: 39.04

Defense

  • Total Score: 65.50
  • Field Goal Percentage: 40.68
  • Three-Point Percentage: 35.28
  • Free Throw Percentage: 69.07
  • Total Rebounds: 29.33

Expert NCAAB Betting Prediction

Kentucky ends the Vols’ record winning streak.
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