Kentucky Wildcats vs. Missouri Tigers NCAAB Preview
Where: Mizzou Arena — Columbia, Missouri
When: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 – 12:00 PM ET
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Betting on the Kentucky Wildcats (22-5, 12-2 SEC)
Saturday’s 82-77 win over Georgia was Kentucky’s fourth straight victory. They survived a lot of things not going their way, including subpar shooting (42.6 percent) and Bulldogs guard JJ Frazier going off for a season-high 36 points.
The Wildcats’ slashing trio – Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, and DeAaron Fox – only went 11-for-37 from the field, but they should be able to perform better for the upcoming contest. Monk is still leading the SEC in scoring (21.4 PPG) and threes (84, 3.1 per game), while Briscoe (4.4 APG) and Fox (5.4 APG) are both top five in the conference in dimes. In addition, all three are also in the top 10 of SEC’s field goal shooting leaders.
Although there is no denying that the team is tilted more on the offensive side of the ball, as they are fourth in the nation in points (88.8 PPG) and ninth in offensive efficiency, their defense shouldn’t be overlooked. Led by Edrice Adebayo’s presence down low (12.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.6 BPG), Kentucky is 12th in the defensive efficiency rankings, and they also allow the fewest offensive rebounds in the SEC (8.7 per game).
In their last three games, they are only giving up 64.3 PPG and 6.3 APG, and their opponents are a combined 9-for-45 from long distance.
Kentucky is 7-3 on the road this season (4-6 ATS).
Betting on the Missouri Tigers (7-19, 2-12 SEC)
The Tigers continued their losing ways over the weekend, as they bowed to Tennessee in a rout, 90-70. The Volunteers’ pair of swingmen, Robert Hubbs III and Grant Williams, both registered 20-plus points and outscored all of Missouri’s starters… combined.
Aside from showing some fight in the last few weeks, which resulted in a pair of hard-fought wins, not much good things can be really said to a team that has dropped 16 of their last 18 games. The offense simply isn’t there, as they only have two players that average double-digit points – Jordan Barnett (12.5 PPG) and Kevin Puryear (11.5 PPG).
That, along with poor ball movement (12 APG) and seven of the eight guys on their rotation only shooting 43 percent or worse (five are below 36 percent), is the key reason why they are just 262nd overall in offensive efficiency. It’s a type of offense that will need a miracle to steal a W opposite the mighty Wildcats.
More of the same goes on on defense. A handful of their numbers are in the bottom three of SEC, including blocks (1.7 BPG), rebounds allowed (39 RPG) and opponents’ two-point shooting percentage (51.1 percent).
Mizzou is 5-11 at home this season (7-6-1 ATS).
Kentucky (-16.5) wins, 88-74, and doesn’t cover.
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