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Time: 9 p.m. EST
Spread: Kentucky -5
Total: opened at 138, currently at 140.5
Ole Miss ATS home: 8-6
Kentucky ATS away: 7-5
The SEC will wrap up the regular season this week, and Kentucky is still a game behind LSU and Tennessee in the conference. Mostly in this game, the Wildcats are playing to stake their claim to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament after Saturday’s disappointing loss to Tennessee.
Mississippi turns the ball over on over 18% of their possessions, 190th in college basketball. That could be a disaster against the stingy defense of Ashton Hagans and Co. that is top 10 in defensive efficiency and 8th in creating turnovers in college basketball.
Kentucky could still be missing Reid Travis, which created big issues for the Wildcats in defending the Tennessee duo of Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield on Saturday. That won’t be the case here for Mississippi, whose strength comes from the shooting of Terrence Davis and Breein Tyree, where Kentucky should have no issue keeping them in check. That said, it’s definitely a bump to Kentucky if they have Travis ready for this game.
Even if he’s out, five-star recruit EJ Mongomery has been a force on the glass when he stays out of foul trouble, and Mississippi ranks 243rd in college basketball in offensive rebound rate anyway. Meanwhile, Kentucky brings one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country. Add that to the turnover rates, and you’ve got a recipe for dominance.
Ole Miss took advantage of a Tennessee team that allowed the Rebels’ guards to get into the paint, as well as a bad shooting night for the Vols, who were 3-of-13 from three-point range. They’ve been on a solid run, but I don’t think they have all the pieces to compete with a team that has a real shot at making a run to the National Championship.
I want to also note that Mississippi’s only win versus a top 25 team at home was against Auburn in January, while they’ve dropped games to LSU, Iowa State, Mississippi State, and Tennessee since then, with two of those coming by more than 10 points.
As of writing this, 75% of the bets are coming in on Kentucky, but a whopping 94% of the money is coming in on the Wildcats, so I am expecting this line to move closer to -6, or maybe higher, so get it as early as you can.
Pick: Kentucky -5 (up to -5.5)