College Basketball Pick
Kentucky was the No. 1 team in the country at one point, but those days are long gone as the Wildcats already have Four losses, two in the SEC. They are coming off a surprising loss at Auburn over the weekend, a Tigers team that entered the Game with a losing record.
Arkansas has issues of its own sporting a 9-8 record, but the Razorbacks won’t back down in this matchup, especially since the Wildcats have lost three of their Four true road Games this year. Arkansas is also coming off a loss, but it was a close Game throughout at LSU. Before that, the Razorbacks were on a three-Game winning streak, taking two straight by double digits.
Both of these squads are much different than last year’s versions and both have taken a step back. Kentucky needs to cure its road woes at some point and a win over Arkansas would do that. Tyler Ulis is trying to do it all right now for the Wildcats, but it just hasn’t been enough. He finished with 17 points, 10 boards and eight assists in 40 minutes at Auburn on Saturday, but also was just 5-of-17 from the floor. Without consistent help from anyone else, Kentucky continues to find itself in close Games almost every night.
That starts with senior Alex Poythress who needs to be a catalyst on this team if they want to make any noise in the Tournament. Poythress has just 12 total points in the last two Games and only had three rebounds against Auburn. In the big win at Alabama, he had 25 points and seven boards.
Arkansas has a deep roster, but is mostly led by three experienced guys in Anthlon Bell, Moses Kingsley and Dusty Hannahs. Bell and Hannahs are knockdown shooters and have combined for 99 threes on the year, while Kingsley averages 16.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per Game. The return of Anton Beard has helped a bunch as well as he’s another shooter off the bench. Kingsley is the guy that needs to have a good Game against Kentucky’s Poythress and Marcus Lee. If he can hold his own, that should keep this Game within reach.
The Wildcats roll with Ulis and Jamal Murray, but when no one else steps up, anyone can stay with this team and that’s how Auburn won last Game. Arkansas has the scorers to compete and Kingsley in the middle can be the difference maker.
A lot of people are questioning Kentucky right now with two Conference losses and they’ll be hoping to not make that three after this Game. The good news is that they follow this one up with two home Games against lesser opponents, although they take on Kansas after that.
It’s unlikely Arkansas will make the NCAA Tournament this year, but with a win here and some extra confidence, there’s always the chance the Razorbacks go on a run. But that starts by beating Kentucky, which is far from easy, despite the Wildcats’ recent struggles. Nevertheless, this should be a close Game and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Arkansas gave Kentucky another road loss.
Predicted ScoreArkansas 83 Kentucky 82