The No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats (14-3) visit South Carolina (15-3) for an SEC contest Tuesday. The Wildcats come into the game off a non-covering 105-96 victory over Georgia. The Gamecocks defeated Arkansas on the road last time out. Kentucky trails Auburn by one game in the college basketball standings.
South Carolina is another game in the SEC standings at 3-2. Despite a 15-3 record, South Carolina isn’t getting much respect, failing to get a single vote in the AP poll. The Kentucky vs South Carolina matchup odds have the Wildcats favored by 4.5 (-115) points and the total is at 155.
Location: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, South Carolina
Streaming: Watch Live Sports
Wildcats firing on all cylinders offensively
Kentucky has the best offense in the Southeastern Conference and one of the best in the nation. The Wildcats are averaging 91.6 points per game on 50.3% shooting from the field. Kentucky shoots 40.2% from 3-point range and 56.7% on 2-pointers. There isn’t much Kentucky can’t do offensively.
The Kentucky Wildcats shoot the ball and don’t make many turnovers. Kentucky is a little below average at grabbing offensive rebounds, but shoot well enough it doesn’t slow them down.
Kentucky’s defense isn’t bad, but not anywhere near as good as the team’s offense. The Wildcats defend the 3-pointer well. But teams can get the ball inside and are shooting 50.1% from field goal range against Kentucky. The Wildcats are average when it comes to forcing turnovers and not allowing offensive rebounds.
Kentucky didn’t play the toughest college basketball schedule in the preseason, so it gets dinged a little in the strength of schedule rankings. But this is a solid team, going 11-6 against the point spread and 14-3 in totals.
The Wildcats are 5-1 in away totals and 5-0 in the conference. Kentucky’s odds to win March Madness are the fifth-lowest of any team, hovering in the +1400 range.
Gamecocks Looking For Big Victory
It’s hard to find fault with South Carolina’s 15-3 record or the team’s 12-5 record against the point spread. The Gamecocks are 9-1 at home this season, but just 6-4 ATS. The one thing South Carolina hasn’t done so far is beat a marquee team ranked in the KenPom top 30.
Granted, the Gamecocks have played just one such team so far, but that’s about to change. South Carolina lost to Ken Pomeroy’s No. 8 team in Alabama and to No. 36 Clemson. But it did beat No. 35 Mississippi State at home.
South Carolina is a good, but not great, team, ranking No. 65 in KenPom’s offensive and defensive efficiency ratings. The Gamecocks are scoring 72.9 points per game on 43.8% shooting. But South Carolina doesn’t make a lot of turnovers and are good on the offensive boards.
The Gamecocks aren’t bad from the foul line. But the team’s offensive NCAAB stats have taken a slight hit since the start of conference play. After playing a relatively weak early-season slate, the Gamecocks are playing with the big dogs of the college basketball world now.
The South Carolina Gamecocks aren’t bad defensively, holding teams to 40.8% shooting. But teams are having more success from the inside now that the SEC season is here. South Carolina doesn’t force a lot of turnovers and is average on the boards.
What to Expect
This game definitely features contrasting styles between the teams offensively. The Wildcats are going to come out running. Kentucky is No. 10 in the Pomeroy adjusted pace ratings and play the fastest tempo of all the SEC teams.
South Carolina is No. 348 in adjusted pace ratings and play the slowest tempo of all the SEC teams. The Gamecocks can’t match Kentucky in terms of skill, so they need to slow the game down. The Wildcats will run South Carolina into the ground if the Gamecocks don’t get them out of their rhythm.
Who to Bet On?
The Kentucky vs South Carolina matchup odds on the side is a tough call. Kentucky could easily run away with this game if it gets going. But South Carolina will do all it can to get the Wildcats off-balance. The Gamecocks are also 6-1 ATS as an underdog this NCAA basketball season and 10-3 ATS when playing a team with a winning record. South Carolina hasn’t been pretty at times, but it’s been effective most of the time.
The Kentucky vs South Carolina matchup odds on the total is a little more interesting due to the contrasting styles. The over/under did open at 156.5 and has dropped a little bit, which makes sense. It’s more imperative for South Carolina to play at a slow tempo than it is for Kentucky to play at a fast one. The under 155 looks to offer the best betting value in this one.