SEC Basketball Pick
It didn’t take long for Kentucky to relinquish its lead atop the SEC standings after back-to-back road losses. Texas A&M and UK come into the final Game of the regular season tied with a 12-5 record. Both teams are home and favored on the final weekend and should be headed for a shared title. Nevertheless, there are bigger things at stake for LSU.
The Tigers have won back-to-back Games after losing three straight and almost taking them completely out of the NCAA Tournament picture. There is still some hope for LSU and that starts with winning at Kentucky, unless they plan on winning the SEC Tournament.
As for the Wildcats, they have to get some revenge after the last loss to LSU. Not to mention their recent losses have exposed them a bit since going on a tear with Four straight wins.
It was a much different situation the first time these teams played as the Game was in the first week of January. These teams look much different for a number of reasons. And that doesn’t include LSU’s inability to win road Games, as the Tigers have lost three straight away from home. This one could easily turn into a blow out in Kentucky’s final home Game of the year.
LSU has done a number of things to its lineup since that first Game, most notably Keith Hornsby is hurt, but also Antonio Blakeney and Josh Gray started in LSU’s last Game. Tim Quarterman came off the bench, but he’s still the team’s most important player in this Game, outside of Ben Simmons that is. But Quarterman actually had better numbers than Simmons in that first Game, scoring 21 points, 10 boards and seven assists. Simmons was solid as well with 14 points and 10 boards, but he also only took five shots from the field.
The Tigers dominated the rebounding battle in the first meeting by 16 and that’s something Kentucky will focus on changing in the rematch. Alex Poythress is back from injury, which helps, but also Marcus Lee has gotten loads of experience in the last couple months and Skal LAbissiere is slowly improving. Derek Willis may return for this Game as well and has been one of the bigger difference makers for the Wildcats over the past month.
LSU couldn’t stop Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray in the first Game as they combined for 44 points and it’s hard to see them stopping this duo now. Ulis and Murray have improved almost every night it seems and that’s bad news for the Tigers. If those guys start out hot, they could easily open this Game up early on unless Simmons puts in an historical Game.
The Tigers just haven’t been very good on the road this year and it’s going to take a lot for them to steal this one. It’ll be interesting to see how Kentucky goes about guarding Simmons this time around. If Willis returns, that would help in giving UK some more bodies. Poythress and Lee both fouled out last Game trying to contain Simmons so it may fall to someone like Willis, which won’t be a good thing.
But with Poythress back, the Wildcats get another decent offensive option in the paint and even though he’s fouled out in two straight Games, he gives the offense another look outside of Ulis and Murray. Without Hornsby, it’s hard to see LSU staying close in this Game unless both Simmons and Quarterman can repeat what they did in the first meeting. Considering Quarterman has fallen off greatly in the past month, averaging less than 10 points per Game, it’s hard to see that happening.
predicted Score- Kentucky 92 LSU 73