College Basketball Blue-Blood Programs Battle Again
Saturday afternoon we have a epic battle of College Basketball Royalty, Blue-Blood programs, if you will. Kentucky's 22-9 record against Kansas accounts for the bulk of the 14-game difference that exists between the two college basketball programs with the most all-time victories. The Jayhawks' recent success in the series has helped to close the gap. The Wildcats lead college basketball with 2,278 victories, while Kansas is second with 2,264.
The ninth-ranked Wildcats attempt to end their recent woes against Kansas when they host the 10th-ranked Jayhawks as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Jayhawks have won 13 consecutive regular-season games against AP top-10 opponents. The last such setback was the 32-point loss to Kentucky in 2014.
Since crushing the Jayhawks 72-40 at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis in 2014, Kentucky has dropped three straight to Kansas. Every single one of the games have been decided by no more than six points, including a 65-61 loss in Chicago early last season. Jayhawks coach Bill Self is the only Kansas coach to own a winning record against the Wildcats. He is 6-3. Kentucky enters this contest on a five-game winning streak. They are coming off consecutive wins versus ranked opponents. They have beaten No. 15 Auburn and No. 22 Mississippi State. The Jayhawks avenged an earlier loss to 25th-ranked Iowa State on Monday. They have struggled away from home so far this season. They have fallen to 1-3 in true road games following last Saturday's 65-64 defeat at West Virginia.
This, That, and a Dart Throw
The Kansas Jayhawks are 16-3 overall this season. Traditionally Bill Self's teams get better as the season wears on as they build towards March Madness. That may be a scary thing for the rest of the nation this season. Dedric Lawson ranks second in the conference in scoring at 19.5 points per game. He is eighth in the country in rebounding, which is a Big 12-best 10.9 rpg. Lawson posted his second straight double-double Monday with 29 points and 15 rebounds. That gives him 13 for the season, which is tied for second in Division I. Lagerald Vick is seventh in the league in scoring at 15.0 ppg, leads the Big 12 in 3-point field-goal percentage at 47.1%, and has knocked down at least two triples in every conference game. Guard Marcus Garrett (7.7 points) has emerged as a key third offensive contributor over the last three contests. He has averaging 17 points, by providing at least 15 in each outing. He never scored more than 13 in any of his first 54 career games.
The Kentucky Wildcats are 15-3 on the season. After a slow start, John Calipari has this team looking at a national title run if they continue to improve. Forward P.J. Washington is averaging 12.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks per game. He enjoyed his first 20-point game in over a month with 21 against the Bulldogs. He also tied a season high with four blocks. Guard Tyler Herro, who averages 13.7 ppg, shot only 2-of-7 inside the arc Tuesday. He did convert all three of his 3-point tries and each of his five free-throw attempts to finish with 18 points. That helped to send the Wildcats to 10-0 when he scores at least 15. Ashton Hagans managed only two steals against the Bulldogs. That put an end to a seven-game streak with at least three pocket picks. That is the longest streak for a freshman in a major conference since Chris Paul in 2003-04. He did tally a season-high nine assists.
PREDICTION: Kentucky 72, Kansas 69
SEC/Big 12 Challenge Betting Odds & Trends
|Kansas is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games|
|Kansas is 16-3 SU in its last 19 games|
|The total has gone OVER in 16 of Kansas's last 23 games|
|Kansas is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games on the road|
|Kansas is 18-7 SU in its last 25 games on the road|
|Kansas is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games on the road|
|The total has gone UNDER in 16 of Kansas's last 24 games on the road|
|Kansas is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Kentucky|
|Kansas is 6-3 SU in its last 9 games when playing Kentucky|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kansas's last 6 games when playing Kentucky|
|Kansas is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Kentucky|
|The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Kansas's last 5 games when playing on the road against Kentucky|
|Kentucky is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games|
|Kentucky is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games|
|Kentucky is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games at home|
|Kentucky is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kentucky's last 7 games at home|
|Kentucky is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Kansas|
|Kentucky is 3-6 SU in its last 9 games when playing Kansas|
|The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kentucky's last 6 games when playing Kansas|
|Kentucky is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Kansas|
|The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Kentucky's last 5 games when playing at home against Kansas|
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