Unranked Missouri Looks to Win at Rupp Arena for First Time
Kentucky barely escaped with a win in its SEC opener and now looks to remain perfect against Missouri at home. The college basketball spread lists Kentucky as the favorite.
Kentucky leads the series against Missouri 14-3 even though the Tigers won the most recent matchup 89-75. The Wildcats are 8-0 against Missouri at home and that includes a 6-0 mark since the Tigers joined the SEC. Keep that in mind when it comes to the Missouri vs Kentucky preview.
Guard Caleb Grill, who is fifth on the team in scoring and second in rebounding, is expected to be out until early February for Missouri while guard Kaleb Brown is out for the season. Colorado State transfer John Tonje hasn’t played since a mid-December loss to Seton Hall.
For Kentucky, guard Adou Thiero, who averages 7.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, is questionable. Zvonimir Ivisic, a 7-foot-2 freshman, is still waiting to be cleared to play by the NCAA.
Kentucky remained at No. 6 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches poll. Missouri is not receiving votes in either poll.
When looking at the odds to win March Madness, Kentucky is tied for seventh at +1600 in the odds of winning the national title. Missouri comes in at +15000 in the championship odds. When the season began, Kentucky trailed only Tennessee in the odds of winning the national title. Missouri was 10th in the SEC championship odds.
A quick peek at the college basketball standings shows that Kentucky was one of seven SEC teams to win its conference opener while Missouri is 0-1 in the SEC and only Vanderbilt has a lower winning percentage in all games than the Tigers among SEC teams.
Records: Missouri 8-6 (0-1 in the SEC) vs Kentucky 11-2 (1-0).
Location: Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
Day/Time: Streaming: ESPN
Not Much in Reserve For the Tigers
Missouri’s non-starters were outscored 23-3 as the Tigers fell to Georgia in its SEC opener. Will that be a factor when it comes to the Missouri vs Kentucky preview?
Six reserves were a combined 1-for-7 from the field with the lone basket being a 3-pointer by Jesus Carralero Martin.
Sean East, one of two Kentucky natives on Missouri’s roster, led the Tigers with 18 points. It was his ninth game in a row with at least 16 points.
East had 12 points in 20 minutes in last season’s win against the Wildcats. This will be his first trip into Rupp Arena with the Tigers.
The total has gone under in 12 of Missouri’s last 17 games.
Reeves Coming On Strong For the Wildcats
Antonio Reeves, the only member of Kentucky’s main playing rotation a season ago to return this season, has rebounded pretty well after being limited to nine points on 2 of 9 shooting in a four-point win over North Carolina.
In the last three games, Reeves is averaging 25.3 points per game on 59% shooting. He is 10-for-20 on 3-pointers. He fouled out of the only game that Kentucky lost this season as he had his second fewest minutes in a loss to UNC Wilmington. Keep that in mind when looking at the Missouri vs Kentucky preview in this game.
Kentucky has covered in each of its last five games.
Missouri topped Kentucky 89-75 on Dec. 28, 2022. The Tigers were listed as the three-point underdog at home. The 89 points were the most allowed by a John Calipari-coached team during his time at Kentucky.
The game went over the 149-point total with 2:25 to play.
All of Missouri’s wins against Kentucky have come since 2018.
Missouri vs Kentucky Betting Preview
Things didn’t go so well the last time Missouri hit the road to face perennial SEC power Kentucky as the Wildcats rolled to the 83-56 win back in 2021.
It was the sixth straight time that Missouri failed to cover when playing Kentucky on the road.
The total has landed under in five of Missouri’s last six road games. The total is set at 160 in this matchup.
The total has gone over in 10 of Kentucky’s last 11 games as the Wildcats are third nationally with an average of 90.8 points per game.
The total has gone over in each of Kentucky’s last six home games and in nine of the last 12 matchups with SEC teams and this game could head in that direction as well.
Missouri is 7-10 since the t start of last season when listed as the underdog with Kentucky going 27-10 as the favorite.
Missouri is one of the worst rebounding teams in the country and that is definitely a concern heading into this game even if Kentucky’s top rebounder from the past couple of seasons Oscar Tshiebwe has headed off to play professionally.
The line opened at 11 and got as high as 13.5. Kentucky is now favored by 12.5 points. The Wildcats have covered in just six of their last 14 games as a double-digit favorite but look for them to take control of this matchup early on.
For NCAA betting odds, betting analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.