#4 Kentucky Wildcats (21-4) vs Missouri Tigers (12-12)
NCAA Basketball: Tuesday, February 19, 2019, at 9:00 PM ET, Mizzou Arena
Spread: Kentucky -11.5 Over/Under: 133.5
FREE ESPN NCAA Basketball Pick #4 Kentucky Wildcats vs Missouri Tigers
The Kentucky Wildcats seemed to be on the decline a week ago after losing a home game to an LSU team that is good, but they should have beat. Skip to last Saturday when the Cats dismantled the top team in the country and now no one is sure where the ceiling is for this team. Missouri could not have gotten the Wildcats at a worse time. PJ Washington is going to dominate all game like he has the last eight games.
The Wildcats had their best performance of the season on Saturday. Tennessee had no answer for PJ Washington who had 23 points. They couldn’t get a basket against the suffocating defense for almost seven minutes of the first half. It was one of the most dominating wins over a #1 team in a long time. There are games that impress you and then there are games that leave you speechless, this was one of those speechless games.
The Wildcats continue to be led in scoring by PJ Washington who is now averaging over 21 points a game over the last eight games. In that same time, he is averaging over 8 rebounds a game as well. On the season his three-point average has risen to a team-high 43.4%. Washington will likely be a lottery pick and possible SEC POY when the season is over.
On the season Kentucky is averaging 78.68PPG while shooting 47.8% from the field, 35.35% from three, and they bring in 39RPG. Their averages seem to get better and better every week. Their season averages above are good enough for 43rd, 27th, 103rd, and 25th in the nation. The Kentucky Wildcats have managed to move up to 5th in KenPom’s ratings. They have the 14th most efficient offense and 9th most efficient defense. Their defense can be so elite at times and suffocating that teams will go on huge scoring droughts. That has been their key to success.
The Missouri Tigers have been once again struck by the injury bug for a second straight season. This has ultimately been their downfall. Last season it was Michael Porter Jr, this season it was Mark Smith. Smith has returned to very limited playing time, but at this point in the season, it is too late for the Tigers to get an NCAA Tourney bid. Their last game was a loss to Ole Miss and Tuesday night they will attempt the improbable, upset Kentucky.
Leading the way for the Tigers this season is Jordan Geist. The senior has averaged 14.2PPG, 4.7RPG, and 3.1APG. Down low, Jeremiah Tilmon is averaging 10.9PPG and 5.7RPG. While Tilmon is an effective player, the onslaught of talented bigs from Kentucky is going to be too much for the sophomore. Expect the Tigers to try and beat the Cats with three-point shooting and getting the Cats into foul trouble.
On the season the Tigers are averaging an anemic 67.96PPG, 43.17% from the field, 36.96% from three, and only 35RPG. Those averages rank 229th, 197th, 50th, and 158th nationally. The Tigers are just not going to be able to put up points and probably not going to be able to grab any rebounds against this elite Kentucky team.
Cover the Spread 365 Betting Trends
#4 Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games
Kentucky is 11-1 SU in its last 12 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Kentucky’s last 5 games
Kentucky is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
Missouri is 4-7-2 ATS in its last 13 games
Missouri is 2-6 SU in its last 8 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Missouri’s last 7 games
Missouri is 2-3-2 ATS in its last 7 games at home
FREE ESPN NCAA Basketball Pick Missouri Tigers vs #4 Kentucky Wildcats
The only thing the Kentucky Wildcats have to do to win this game is come to play. There is no way they are going to beat an SEC team on the road without taking them seriously. So far this season the Wildcats have not underestimated opponents, but have had bad performances. I expect Kentucky to come to play in this game and run away with it. I think Missouri might be the fourth SEC team the Wildcats are going to hold under 50 points this season.