Kentucky College Basketball Odds Vs. Kansas: Will UK Cover In Champions Classic?
At the highly anticipated Champions Classic on Tuesday, No. 17 Kentucky is positioned at to upset top-ranked Kansas at the United Center in Chicago. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks are favorites, with a total of . Will the Wildcats cover this massive non-conference game? Let’s dissect Kansas vs. Kentucky basketball odds, including key metrics and matchups to hone in on.
Kentucky basketball odds vs. Kansas
Will New Identity Propel ‘Cats?
During Calipari’s 14 years at the helm in Lexington, Kentucky has never averaged 20-plus three-point attempts in a single season. Although the efficiency hasn’t surfaced so far (32.7%), the Wildcats rank well above the Division I average in that department.
Their shot selection is certainly by design, but they’re also without big men Aaron Bradshaw and Ugonna Onyenso, both dealing with foot injuries. West Virginia transfer Tre Mitchell slots in as the five-man, with veteran wing Antonio Reaves, sophomore bully guard Adou Thiero, and freshmen Justin Edwards and D.J. Wagner rounding out Kentucky’s floor-spacing lineup. Thiero (concussion) is expected to return to action after missing Friday’s win over Texas A&M Commerce.
Meanwhile, the Jayhawks have yielded 0.82 PPP versus a pair of lowly opponents. Veteran guards Dajuan Harris and Kevin McCullar have led the way at that end. Nevertheless, they’ve struggled to defend catch-and-shoot looks, allowing nearly 35.9% of their opponents’ scoring production from behind the arc. Calipari’s new-look offense could have a pulse if the Wildcats find enough transition opportunities.
Jayhawks’ Big Advantage
The 7-foot-2, 260-pound Hunter Dickinson was the biggest offseason acquisition by a landslide. As expected, he’s been a governing post-up force under Bill Self, one of the sport’s top offensive minds. As noted, the Wildcats don’t possess the size to match up. However, they’ve defended pick-and-roll sets well (in a tiny sample size), which Self will look to run aplenty with Dickinson and Harris.
Hence, Kentucky’s ball pressure must disrupt Harris & Co. enough to generate takeaways and dictate the tempo. Wagner, Dillingham, and even fellow freshman Reed Sheppard have succeeded in that area, too. But doing so against a veteran bunch is a tall order.
Surprisingly, as of this publishing, my college basketball power rankings have Kentucky odds a tad closer to a six-point spread. Good luck with your bets on the Champions Classic.
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