Upset-minded UCLA visits Kentucky
Kentucky and UCLA don’t receive the chance to come together very often. That merely adds to the excitement preceding this afternoon’s clash of the titans at Rupp Arena.
The two Final Four hopefuls – and mainstays – collide at 12:30 p.m. ET in Lexington. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives No. 1 UK odds of -700 to handle its business at home. Conversely, Steve Alford’s Bruins enter Bluegrass Country as +450 underdogs.
By now, most of the college hoops world knows better than to laud the Wildcats (7-0) solely for their offensive prowess. While John Calipari’s crew clearly has no trouble draining baskets, the head coach places an even bigger priority on getting stops. To that end, Kentucky limits adversaries to 37.6 percent shooting, forcing 17 turnovers per game.
UCLA (8-0) vexes Pac-12 foes in a similar manner, permitting 73 points a contest. The 11th-ranked Bruins have also eclipsed the century mark themselves on three occasions. Phenomenal freshman Lonzo Ball serves as Alford’s primary floor general. In the team’s recent triumph over UC Riverside, he dished out 13 assists.
The 6-foot-6 Ball’s length frequently allows him to see over the top of opposing defenses. UK’s incredible size from position to position, though, won’t afford the same luxury. Buckets from both sides will still roll in, to be sure. Yet we can’t quite commit to the lofty total that handicappers are prescribing.
SATURDAY NCAA FREE PICK: UCLA/KENTUCKY UNDER 176 POINTS