These two teams have played seven times in the last decade, which means the head coaches should know each other well. Despite being on the road, the Wildcats are three-point favorites in this game, with the over/under set at 157.5 points.
While Kentucky is just 2-3 in true road games this season, the Cats have been sharp lately, winning five of their last six games. A loss to Auburn is the only time Kentucky has come up short during that stretch. The Wildcats are sitting at 16-4 overall and 6-2 in the SEC.
Meanwhile, Kansas enters this week’s heavyweight matchup on a five-game winning streak. The Jayhawks are 17-2 overall, with just one loss in Big 12 play. Kansas avenged that loss to Texas Tech earlier this week with a thrilling double-overtime win at home.
The Core Four
The Jayhawks might not have the deepest team in the country, but they have four players who have excelled, especially lately. Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun are leading the way in the backcourt, scoring 21.3 and 15.3 points per game, respectively. However, point guard play can be lacking at times, with Dajuan Harris still trying to get up to speed and Remy Martin fading fast after a promising start.
Meanwhile, forwards David McCormack and Jalen Wilson have come on strong over the last handful of games. McCormack is still a little inconsistent but is a double-double candidate in every game.
Wilson had a sluggish start to the season but has averaged 16 points and 9.3 rebounds per game over his last four games.
It’s looking likely that Kentucky won’t be at full strength for Saturday’s game with TyTy Washington missing the win over Mississippi State this week with an ankle injury. Jacob Toppin and Daimion Collins both missed practice time this week.
Without Toppin and/or Collins, the Cats could have a thin frontcourt. The good news is that Oscar Tshiebwe averages a double-double with 16.3 points and 15.7 points per game, although Keion Brooks has been a little more inconsistent lately.
In the backcourt, Sahvir Wheeler will be key if Washington cannot play, as the Georgia transfer leads the Wildcats with 6.9 assists per game and has averaged 16.3 points per game in his last four games.
Kentucky also has a sharpshooter in Kellan Grady, who makes 43.2 percent of his three-point shots. At the same time, Davion Mintz can step into a larger role if needed despite averaging a modest 8.6 points per game on the season.
Don’t Mess with Kansas
Seeing Kansas as a home underdog is a great reason to bet on the Jayhawks. Granted, Kansas doesn’t have much depth and can’t afford one of its core four players to have a bad game.
However, things will even out if the Wildcats are without Washington and any other key players, giving Kansas enough of an edge to eke out a win at home.
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