Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#731 Kentucky 134 vs.
#732 Texas Tech -3.5
Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 6:00pm EST
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#731 University of Kentucky
#732 Texas Tech University
14-4
12-6
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75
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This article covers a past game!

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When and where: January 25, 2020, United Supermarkets Arena, Lubbock, TX, 6:00 PM ET

The No. 15-ranked Kentucky Wildcats head on the road for a clash with the No. 18-ranked Texas Tech Raiders in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday. Texas Tech will do their best to avoid a second consecutive loss after falling at the hands of TCU on the road. That loss came after they earned back-to-back wins over Kansas State and Iowa State. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have surged back on the winning track with two straight wins over Arkansas and Georgia.

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Kentucky loses a five-star prospect

With a pivotal showdown against Texas Tech looming on Saturday, Kentucky learned freshman Kahlil Whitney is leaving the program on Friday. The five-star recruit struggled to make a splash with the team, despite having ample opportunities as a starter. However, his role steadily diminished in a year when he was averaging 3.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 0.4 assists.

The Wildcats don’t have time to look in the rearview with a road trip to Texas Tech coming up on the schedule. After knocking off Arkansas and Georgia, they’ll look to earn a third straight win when taking on the 12th-ranked defensive team in the country.

Kentucky is averaging 46.4 percent shooting from the floor. They’ll need a heavy dose of offense to put some pressure on a Red Raiders team that may not be ready for a shootout. Nick Richards and Ashton Hagans will be called upon once again to step up in enemy territory. Texas Tech is 9-1 on their home floor this season.

Red Raiders looking to make some noise

The Red Raiders are moving up the NCAA ladder. They’re also hoping to bury a tough road loss to TCU on Tuesday night that erased a two-game winning streak. The Horned Frogs did everything to lose the game, but the Red Raiders couldn’t muster the offensive firepower to compete.

Not even 17 turnovers and an abhorrent 52.4 free throw shooting percentage was enough to keep TCU from rolling to a 65-54 victory.

How will Texas Tech respond when Kentucky comes to town on Saturday?

Someone other than freshman Jahmi’us Ramsey needs to get buckets. It was downright brutal watching the young guard muster a team-high 15 points, despite going 1-of-6 shooting from 3-pointer. There wasn’t enough help to go around on offense for a team averaging a 44.3 field goal shooting percentage. They won’t get any breaks when stepping onto the floor against Kentucky’s 35th-ranked defense.

The Wildcats are a devastating two-way team capable of hurting the Red Raiders in so many different ways. They are also averaging 80.0 points in their last three outings. Texas Tech will need to show much more than simply defense to survive this game.

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Scoring struggles have lingered for the Red Raiders throughout the season when facing tough opposition. They had another one of those games in their recent loss to TCU’s 32nd-ranked defense in a game where they were held to only 54 points. Kentucky may not be as feisty on defense at TCU, but they are capable of making the Red Raiders uncomfortable on their home floor. Opposing teams are only averaging a 38.7 field goal shooting percentage against the Wildcats.

Texas Tech has played better offensively at home, but they are still averaging only 67.7 points per game in their last three outings. I’m expecting that number to increase with the game being on their home floor on Saturday. However, they’ll fail to match wits with a Kentucky team that’s simply better on paper.

Make no mistake, the Wildcats will have to scratch and claw their way to victory like they’ve grown accustomed to doing in recent outings. But they’ll overcome the road challenge and hand the Red Raiders a second consecutive loss.

Prediction: Kentucky Wildcats (+4)

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Texas Tech hasn’t always played well on the road, but they have remained fairly consistent with their offensive play at home. They are averaging 75.3 points per game at the United Supermarkets Arena with a 46.7 field goal shooting percentage. There is no better opportunity for them to attack a Kentucky defense that has been generous in the point department in recent outings.

The Wildcats offense is good enough to push Texas Tech regardless of the venue, but the Red Raiders will have a better shot at responding at home than they would anywhere else. I like the over betting total here.

Prediction: Over (132.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.