The Kentucky Wildcats play host to the North Florida Ospreys on Friday night from Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. This non-conference match up represents two teams going in opposite directions, adding to an already growing distance between them. The Wildcats have won four games in a row since losing the opener and are quickly gaining momentum as non-conference play wears on. For the Ospreys, they lost the first five games of the season to open things up but they were able to grab a win the last time out. With no recent meetings, it's hard to envision what exactly could happen, but a Wildcat blowout will certainly be expected.
North Florida Eyeing Massive UpsetNorth Florida might have grabbed a win the last time out but considering it came against a non-division 1 opponent, it's hard to get a grasp for where this team stands. They kept it respectable against Texas Tech and Arizona State but a blowout to UCLA, by over 30 points, might better represent how Friday night could go for the Ospreys. One piece of good news is that they are at least healthy coming into the game and while the rotations might not be pretty, there at least is some consistency evolving.
Offensive Philosophy preached by @UNFBBALL...— UNF Men's Basketball (@OspreyMBB) November 22, 2021
🗣️ "Layups, Dunks and Wide-open 3s"
We understood the assignment 🆚 Webber!!
⬇️Here's the shot chart from Saturday's game#BirdsofTrey | #SWOOPLife pic.twitter.com/TWJqkuSEPR
North Florida's offense is ranked all the way down at 277th in the nation in scoring, so they'll absolutely have their work cut out for them to keep pace with the Wildcats high-tempo style. One thing the Ospreys do well though is shoot the ball from deep, which is a recipe for success if they can find the stroke. They rank 53rd in the country in three-point attempts per game and 56th in three-point percentage, which might be their only avenue to keeping it close.
Carter Hendricksen is the leader and will get a lot of looks against Kentucky. He's avergaing 13.8 ppg and 4 rpg, but has the definite ability to stretch the court. The Ospreys only other double-digit scorer is Jose Palce (10 ppg) and the lack of scoring depth is sure to do them in on Friday.
Defensively, things remain bleak. They're allowing over 70 point sper game and against UCLA, allowed nearly 100 points. A similar outcome can be expected on Friday night against Kentucky's high-octane offense. One key pieve could be the rim protection though. They rank 91st nationally in blocks and their frontcourt will surely be tested.
Kentucky Finding Winning WaysKentucky has had a knack for starting slow over the last few seasons but since an opening loss to Duke, the Wildcats haven't had any issues finding wins. Granted, the wins have come against some of the worst teams in college basketball, confidence is building for one of basketball's youngest teams. It doesn't hurt that Kentucky gets to stay home as well, their fifth straight home game. Fans will be ready to go in this one and while the Ospreys appear to not pose a threat, the Wildcats know that consistency is key as the fall rolls on.
Kentucky will definitely be withouthCJ Fredrick (lower body), the elite guard transfer from Iowa. Additionally, Lance Ware (undisclosed) is questionable for the weekend tilt. With both having missed the last two games anyway, the Wildcats shouldn't miss a beat.
Kentucky's pace is their top advantage heading into Friday night and they come in averaging 82.8 points per game. That's 16 more points than North Florida and they are doing it based on some efficient offense. They are 29th in the country in field goal percentage and considering they also attempt the 29th most field goals per game nationally, that's always going to be tough to compete against.
Kentucky's offense isn't the only thing that teams have to worry about this season. While the Wildcats typically try to our score and out pace their opponents, they have a defense that can make life miserable as well. They only allow 62 points per game and are 13th best nationally in rebounding, avergaing 16 more rebounds per game than the Ospreys. That deficit will be too much for the Ospreys to overcome and should prove to be a massive advantage.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Kentucky is coming off at least 25 points wins in three of their last four games and Friday night's matchup is the perfect opportunity for them to grab another big victory. They match up perfectly against most teams but especially well against North Florida. The Ospreys struggle to score and given the pace at which Kentucky can play and score efficiently, the Ospreys will have plenty of trouble keeping up. Additionally, according to covers.com, North Florida is 0-4 ATS in their last four games following a straight-up win and are 0-5 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning straight up record.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Wildcats have a great chance at putting a large number up on the scoreboard on Friday night and hitting triple digits could be well within reach for the group. For the Ospreys, their scoring woes could be a challenge but they are one of the better three-point shooting teams in the country, both from a volume and percentage standpoint. That could bode well for padding their stats in a game that they'll be expected to lose with ease. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Kentucky, the over is 8-1-1 in their last ten games following an ATS loss, is 7-1 in their last eight home games against a team with a losing home record, and is 6-1 in their last seven home games against a team with a road winning percentage below .400.