Kentucky vs. Kansas Prediction, Game Preview

    Kentucky vs. Kansas prediction and game preview. One powerhouse will suffer a second straight loss when the Jayhawks face the Wildcats in Lexington on Saturday night.

    January 27, 2017

    Kentucky vs. Kansas prediction and game preview. One powerhouse will suffer a second straight loss when the Jayhawks face the Wildcats in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday night.


    Kentucky vs. Kansas Game Preview

    When: Saturday, Jan. 28 – 6:15 p.m. ET
    Where: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
    TV Broadcast: ESPN

    The last time Kansas lost two regular-season games in a row was in December 2013. It happened to Kentucky just last season. One of these teams will be staring down a two-game losing streak by the end of Saturday.

    The Wildcats are coming off a shocking 82-80 loss at Tennessee on Tuesday that snapped their seven-game winning streak. They also lost to the Vols last season, one game after they fell 90-84 in overtime at Kansas. This Kentucky team has more talent, though, and a two-game skid seemed unthinkable a few months ago. Malik Monk is one of the best players – not just freshmen – in the nation and is averaging 21.9 points per game.

    Kansas’ 18-game winning streak came to a halt Tuesday as well, as it was blown out at West Virginia, 85-69. Running the Big 12 table seemed unlikely anyway given the competition in the conference, but to suffer a loss so resoundingly was a surprise. The most positive aspect was that freshman Josh Jackson continues to grow with each game. He scored 22 points while hitting all four of his 3-point attempts.

    Kentucky Wins If …

    … it stops turning the ball over. The Wildcats are averaging 15 turnovers over their last four games, 4.4 more than they committed over their first 16. Giving extra possessions to a dangerous Kansas team that can break the game open when given the slightest opportunity won’t be ideal. Monk is going to get his points and fellow freshman Bam Adebayo showed more of his promise with 21 points against the Vols, but Kentucky will need to protect the ball or it could be in trouble.

    Kansas Wins If …

    … Jackson is the best freshman on the court. We all know about Kentucky’s first-year studs, but if Jackson outplays them – especially Monk – the Jayhawks should be in good position. Jackson has struggled with his consistency at times and can get a bit erratic with his turnovers, but his explosiveness and overall solid decision-making could be the difference Saturday.

    Matchup To Watch

    Frank Mason vs. De’Aaron Fox

    It’s experience against youth at the point guard spot. Mason is a leading candidate for national player of the year and is averaging 19.9 points per game – seven more than last season. The senior plays heavy minutes and is the clear leader.

    Fox is having a solid freshman season with averages of 16.2 points and 5.9 assists. What’s most important is that he doesn’t turn the ball over much considering how often he has the ball in his hands. Fox is one of the quickest players in the nation, and he’ll be in a battle with Mason all night.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: Kentucky -5.5
    Over/Under: No line as of post

    Kentucky vs. Kansas Prediction

    It’s a bit of a surprise to see Kentucky favored by so many points even though they’re playing this showdown at Rupp. The Wildcats are going to blitz Kansas early before the Jayhawks methodically trim the lead in the second half. Kentucky gets a big 3-pointer from Monk in the final minutes and it hangs on for a close victory.

    Kentucky vs. Kansas final score prediction: Kentucky 83, Kansas 79

    MORE: College Basketball Picks, Locks Of Week 12

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