Tuesday NCAAB Picks
Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their College Basketball picks and predictions for Tuesday, January 27.
Kentucky at Ole Miss, 7:00PM ET
Undefeated in SEC play and ranked for the first time in nearly 15 months, Kentucky is thriving again.
The No. 24 Wildcats look to maintain their hold on first place in the conference Tuesday when they visit injury-riddled Mississippi - a team they have defeated nine consecutive times.
Led by the scoring tandem of Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson accompanied by a stifling defense, Kentucky (16-4, 5-0) entered the rankings this week for the first time since Oct. 29, 2007. The Wildcats have also won their first five conference games since opening 10-0 in SEC play in 2004-05.
Still, Kentucky coach Billi Gillispie isn't satisfied with those achievements.
"We appreciate any attention we get, but we understand we have a lot of improvement to make," Gillispie said.
Gillispie's team has won 10 of its last 11 overall, with Meeks the biggest reason why. The junior guard - whose 26.1 scoring average leads the SEC and ranks third in the nation - has exceeded 20 points in seven straight games, including a 54-point effort Jan. 13 in a 90-72 victory at then-No. 24 Tennessee.
Meeks accounted for nearly half of the Wildcats' points Saturday at Alabama, scoring 27 in Kentucky's 61-51 victory. Perry Stevenson added 16 points and 12 rebounds and DeAndre Liggins had 11 points off the bench, but the Wildcats turned the ball over 23 times to continue an alarming trend.
Kentucky is averaging 18.4 turnovers per game on the season.
Purdue at Wisconsin, 9:00PM ET
Purdue came into its game against Wisconsin earlier this month hurting from two tough losses, while the Badgers were feeling pretty good about themselves following three wins in a row.
Much has changed since.
Sixteenth-ranked Purdue looks to extend its winning streak to five games on Tuesday night in Madison, while the Badgers try to avoid their first five-game skid in more than a decade.
The Boilermakers (15-4, 4-2 Big Ten) were coming off tight losses to Illinois and Penn State when Wisconsin came to West Lafayette on Jan. 11.
Forward Robbie Hummel and guard Chris Kramer both missed the loss to the Nittany Lions due to injuries, but returned against Wisconsin (12-7, 3-4). The Boilermakers had little problem with the Badgers, winning 65-52 behind 20 points and 10 rebounds from JaJuan Johnson and 16 points from Hummel.
Kramer, meanwhile, helped limit Trevon Hughes - Wisconsin's second-leading scorer (12.2 points per game) - to nine points with five turnovers.
Texas at Baylor, 9:00PM ET
Baylor spent seven consecutive weeks ranked in the Top 25 earlier this season, an impressive feat for a school that had previously spent five weeks in the rankings over the past 60 years.
That's only how long it seems to have been since it beat Texas.
In reality, the No. 11 Longhorns have gone 11 years and 22 meetings without losing to the in-state rival Bears, a streak they'll look to extend Tuesday night in Waco.
Texas (14-4, 3-1 Big 12) has had its way with Baylor for more than a decade, but as the Bears have emerged as a conference contender the past two seasons, they've given the Longhorns much better games. Four of the last five contests between the teams have been decided by five points or fewer.
With All-American point guard D.J. Augustin gone to the NBA, Texas has become more of a defensive team this season. The Longhorns are allowing 61.0 points per game, good for second in the offense-heavy Big 12.
That lock-down defense has been clearly evident in their past two wins, 71-49 at Texas Tech on Jan. 17 and 67-58 over Texas A&M on Saturday.
Yet in the win over the Aggies, it was an individual offensive performance that stood out. Junior forward Damion James had 28 points, the highest total this season by any Longhorn besides leading scorer A.J. Abrams.
Posted: 1/27/09 11:07AM ET