(7-1, 3-1 ATS)
(6-2, 3-3 ATS)
Two of the most storied programs in the history of college basketball meet up at legendary Rupp Arena on Saturday afternoon, as the Indiana Hoosiers take on the Kentucky Wildcats.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Hoosiers have fallen upon hard times of late, but it appears, with seven wins in seven tries at home this year, that things are at least starting to turn around. There hasn’t exactly been much in the way of scheduling so far, as the only legitimate game has been against a solid Boston College club on the road, but that was also the first and only loss of the season to date. Christian Watford is leading the charge back in the right direction for IU this year. He is the team’s leading scorer at 17.8 points per game this year, and he is also the top man on the glass with 5.9 rebounds per game. Verdell Jones III has done a nice job as well at 14.2 points per game, but his 38 turnovers is just too many, especially just eight games into the campaign. Head Coach Tom Crean and his staff have done a tremendous job making sure that they are preaching defense. This unit has allowed just 59.9 points per game on the season and would love to keep the Cats in the 60s in this one.
The Wildcats might never get to see Enes Kanter suit up for them, but they are certainly still playing relatively good ball early on, stuffing up nearly every competitor to come their way. The only terrible defeat was a 17 point loss to the improving Connecticut Huskies, and the only sin there was really in the margin of victory, not so much the fact that UConn beat them. Kentucky has played fantastic ball at home thus far, though this is only the third game at Rupp Arena all season long. Stopping Terrence Jones is a handful for any team and is virtually impossible for any one man to do. He is averaging 20.0 points and 10.5 boards per game, and he is one of the top men for assists (2.0 per game), steals (11 in total), and blocks (17 in total) on his team as well. Brandon Knight is doing his part as well, scoring 17.4 points per game, while Doron Lamb is just behind at 12.4 points per game. Depth is a big problem for Head Coach John Calipari, as Kanter was really expected to be a big time part of this lineup. The starting five averages all but about eight points per game for this team.
Crean is a tremendous head coach, and though he knows that his men are overmatched, he also knows that he has an ace in the hole. His bench is deeper than that of Kentucky, and if he can drive the ball to the inside and get the Cats into some foul difficulties, the Hoosiers will have a chance. They won’t win it, but this game could be significantly closer than the NCAA basketball betting lines suggest.
College Basketball Free Pick: Indiana Hoosiers