League action ramps up in Bluegrass State
Over the past several seasons, Kentucky and Texas A&M have had no shortage of memorable duels. Will tonight’s bout in Lexington follow suit?
The No. 6 Wildcats kick off the home portion of their SEC schedule at 9 p.m. ET. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives John Calipari’s group odds of -220 to emerge victorious. Conversely, the Aggies enter Rupp Arena as +180 underdogs.
Overtime has been needed for four of the last five meetings between these rivals. UK claimed the conference tourney title 10 months ago by handing Billy Kennedy’s gang an 82-77 loss. Subsequently, both squads were ousted before the Big Dance’s Elite Eight.
The Wildcats (11-2) in particular seem destined to go much deeper in 2017. They edged a very dangerous North Carolina squad Dec. 17, 103-100, before suffering a three-point road loss to Louisville. Four individuals currently average in double figures in scoring, with Malik Monk leading the way. Having already posted 47- and 34-point efforts, the freshman is an early contender for National Player of the Year.
As a countermeasure, Texas A&M (8-4) intends to work the ball inside to sophomore Tyler Davis. In addition to registering nearly 15 points per tilt, the 6-foot-10 center’s rebounding numbers rival anyone’s in the league. Kentucky, though, boasts enough interior depth to attack Davis in waves. Expect the big guy to wear down in the second half, as will Kennedy’s entire crew.
TUESDAY NCAA FREE PICK: TEXAS A&M/KENTUCKY OVER 151 POINTS