PENNSYLVANIA QUAKERS (5-5)
at KENTUCKY WILDCATS (11-2)
Tip-off: Monday, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Kentucky -24, Total: 135
The states of Kentucky and Pennsylvania each carry the designation of being commonwealth states. Each state has a university named after it, and each University fields a men’s basketball team. After that, the similarities between these two schools and their respective teams ends there, and Monday night in Rupp Arena the factors that set these two teams apart, way apart, will be on display on the basketball floor. Vegas odds.
The 11th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats are coming off of a 78-63 New Year’s Eve spanking of cross-state rival Louisville in a game which at times did not feel nearly that close. The keys to what may have been Kentucky’s best performance of the season was a lot like the keys to a traditional wedding: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. The old in this case would have to be senior center Josh Harrellson, the only senior on this year’s team, whose 23 points and 14 rebounds shredded the Cardinals on the interior. Something new, how about freshman newcomer Brandon Knight, whose 25-point game was a career high for his short career? Something blue? Hello, the visiting uniforms. As far as what was borrowed, the Wildcats went into the way-back machine to produce a shooting effort reminiscent of a Rick Pitino Kentucky squad, hitting on 50% of its shots, nailing nearly 38% from beyond the arc, and 88% from the FT line. For John Calipari it was a complete game from his complete team, which in the end left 22,000 fans in Louisville’s brand new KFC Yum! Center almost completely silent. Betting lines.
While Kentucky played the Cardinals as a warm-up, Penn took on the Red Foxes of Marist last Wednesday, with a different result, a 66-57 defeat. It doesn’t take a statistical genius from Penn’s famous Wharton School of Business to know that the following numbers do not bode well for the visitors. The Quakers are scoring on average 63.8 PPG, and are giving up 65.7 PPG. It’s terribly difficult to win when you give up more than you score, and that explains the 5-5 record entering the game. To begin to have a prayer in this game, the Quakers will need to improve upon its less-than-satisfactory performance on the boards. At 27.6 rebounds per game, Penn ranks 344th in Division I. Kentucky on the other hand, averages nearly 41 rebounds a game (19th in nation). The Quakers are led by junior guard Zack Rosen (16.7 PPG, 4.3 APG) and senior Jack Eggleston (13.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG). Freshman guard Miles Cartwright has been a pleasant surprise, scoring 11.5 PPG.
Kentucky has won all four meetings between the schools, including a 67-50 blowout the last time they faced each other in 1999. The FoxSheets give two reasons to expect Kentucky to win and cover the monstrous spread.
KENTUCKY is 29-9 ATS (76.3%, +19.1 Units) after 3 straight games outrebounding opponent by 6 or more since 1997. The average score was KENTUCKY 79.2, OPPONENT 64.8 – (Rating = 3*). Sports scores.
Play Against – Road underdogs of 10 or more points (PENNSYLVANIA) – after allowing 30 points or less in the first half in 2 straight games, with 3+ more starters returning from last year than opponent. (38-16 since 1997.) (70.4%, +20.4 units. Rating = 2*).