Kentucky Wildcats (19-3) vs Mississippi State Bulldogs (16-6)
NCAA Basketball: Saturday, February 9, 2019, at 1:00 PM, Humphrey Coliseum
Line- Spread: Kentucky -4 Over/Under: 143.5
FREE ESPN NCAA Basketball Picks Kentucky Wildcats vs Mississippi State Bulldogs
An SEC matchup in Starkvegas! Starkville is typically referred to as one of the worst towns in the SEC, but they have a good squad down there this season. The Kentucky Wildcats absolutely rolled over the Mississippi State Bulldogs in their game at Rupp Arena. The Bulldogs will try to use their homecourt advantage in order to upset the streaking Wildcats.
What is it going to take to stop these Kentucky Wildcats? They have now won nine games in a row. Three of those games came against teams that were at least ranked at the time of the game. Kentucky has been fortunate that whenever one player has had a bad game, another player has stepped up. The latest edition of this came against the South Carolina Gamecocks. Ashton Hagans had 6 turnovers in the first half and played very sloppy to start. However, freshman EJ Montgomery stepped up and finished with 11PTS and 13REB, in only 20 minutes. Those were both season highs. The performance was topped off with a three-pointer to finish out the double-double.
These Wildcats are becoming a special team right before everyone’s eyes. Keldon Johnson is still the leading scorer on the season, but PJ Washington has been averaging over 20PPG over the last five games. Keldon Johnson is now shooting 40.8% from three and PJ Washington is shooting 41.3% from three. The team has been rebounding better as a unit and their efficiency numbers are up. As a team, they average 79PPG on 47.82% from the field, 35.53% from three, and they pull down 39.23RPG. Those are ranked 40th, 30th, 99th, and 27th overall in the nation.
Ken Pomeroy has the Wildcats rated very high. They are 8th overall, with the 18th best offense and 8th best defense in the nation. The thing that has impressed everyone has been the development of the Wildcats’ defense. Kentucky gave up 66 points to Transylvania in the preseason. They have now held SIX of their last NINE opponents to 55 points or less, with three of those teams scoring less than 50 points. They are holding their last five opponents to just 54.4PPG. During those games, they have averaged 75PPG. The question is, will they be able to handle the crowd on the road? Another important question is, will we get a memorable moment like the John Wall, Boogie Cousins game?
Mississippi State has struggled since losing to Kentucky. They took down Auburn but they lost to Alabama immediately after that. Their latest game was a loss to LSU in Starkville. That game happened on Wednesday. Quinndary Weatherspoon is still the leading scorer for the Bulldogs. Weatherspoon is averaging 18PPG and pulling down 5.5RPG. A nice compliment down low is Aric Holman, a Kentucky native, who averages 11PPG, 7.2RPG, and 2BPG. However, the Wildcats held Holman to 0 points in Lexington and only 2 rebounds.
As a team, the Bulldogs are averaging good numbers. They average 79PPG, on 47.46% from the field,37.02 from three, and pull down 36.5RPG. Those averages are good enough for 42nd, 37th, 48th, and 101st in the nation respectively. KenPom’s ratings have the Mississippi State Bulldogs rated 25th overall. Their offense is rated 20th and defense rated 66th. Their defense has really hurt them in a lot of games lately and they will need to improve to pull off an upset.
Cover the Spread 365 Betting Trends
#5 Kentucky Wildcats
ATS Last Five (5-0)
Over/Under Away (4-4)
Mississippi State Bulldogs
ATS Last Ten (4-6)
Over/Under Home (10-6)
ESPN SCORES NCAA Basketball Picks Mississippi State Bulldogs vs Kentucky Wildcats
The Kentucky Wildcats ran over the Bulldogs in Rupp Arena last time the teams met. The defensive dominance that Kentucky has put down on other teams has been amazing. However, the Bulldogs can get hot from three, and if Kentucky slips into old habits they could light up the Wildcats from deep. The home crowd will try their best for a white-out and try to impose their will on the young Kentucky Wildcats. In the end, Kentucky overpowers Mississippi State with their defense and put on points with their improved offense. Cats cover!