Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#759 Eastern Kentucky vs.
#760 Kentucky
Friday, November 8, 2019 at 7:00pm EST
Kroger Field, Lexington
Written by Chris Kubala

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#759 Eastern Kentucky University
#760 University of Kentucky
1-0
1-0
12-16-1
19-17-1
16-12-1
13-24
82
75
83
64

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It’s a battle of programs from the Bluegrass State on the college hardwood when the Ohio Valley Conference make the in-state trip to the hallowed ground of one of the SEC’s elite teams. The Eastern Kentucky Colonels are on the road as they travel to face the #2 Kentucky Wildcats Friday night. Eastern Kentucky opened their season with a 79-68 victory at home over Chattanooga Tuesday night. Kentucky opened their season with a 69-62 win over #1 Michigan State in the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. The Wildcats have won each of the 11 previous meetings between the teams, including an 88-67 home win in the last matchup on December 9, 2015.

Eastern Kentucky Colonels Seek Massive Upset

Eastern Kentucky opened their season on a positive note as they took care of Chattanooga at home Tuesday night. The Colonels now face a much stiffer opponent in the Wildcats, in the famed Rupp Arena no less. Eastern Kentucky trailed by five at the half after giving up a tip-in just before the halftime buzzer. The Colonels regrouped at intermission, storming out of the locker room with a 15-0 run to lead 48-38. Their lead didn’t drop below six the rest of the way as they went on to the victory. Eastern Kentucky shot 51.9 percent from the floor, including six of 14 from three-point range, and knocked down 19 of 25 free throws in the win.

The Colonels were led by Houston King, who put up 19 points in the victory. Darius Hicks posted a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds while Jomaru Brown added 14 points in the contest before fouling out. Eastern Kentucky can ill afford to be as sloppy in this one as they were against the Mocs: they turned the ball over 24 times and committed 21 fouls in the contest. On the plus side, the Colonels held Chattanooga to 32.4 percent shooting from the floor and forced 20 turnovers by the Mocs in the game.

Kentucky Wildcats Try to Avoid Letdown in Home Opener

Kentucky took care of #1 Michigan State in the State Farm Champions Classic as John Calipari’s latest crop of young guys did the job even with the blinding spotlight of a national TV game in the Big Apple. Kentucky led 25-23 with 4:22 to play in the first half before closing the half on a 9-1 run to lead by 10 at the half. The Wildcats led by as many as 13 midway through the second half only to see Michigan State storm back. Kentucky led only 62-60 with 1:27 to play before closing the game on a 7-2 run to seal the victory. The Wildcats shot only 38 percent from the field, including six of 18 from three-point range, but did their damage at the free throw line. Kentucky cashed in 25 of 32 free throw attempts while Michigan State was 13 of 18 in the game.

Calipari’s latest freshman sensation, Tyrese Maxey, came off the bench to lead Kentucky with 26 points and five rebounds. His three-pointer with a minute to play in regulation extended the Wildcats’ lead from two to five and helped them lock up the victory. Ashton Hagans contributed 11 points while Immanuel Quickley added 10 points and five rebounds. Nick Richards had seven off the bench before fouling out as Calipari went nine deep in his rotation, which is a deviation from recent seasons when it was a surprise for him to go beyond seven or eight deep.

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While both teams come in 1-0, there’s a vast difference in the teams. Eastern Kentucky beat a Chattanooga team that was 12-20 last season and 7-11 in the Southern Conference. On the other side, Kentucky beat the #1 team in the nation and a program that went all the way to the Final Four last season. The Wildcats got a big showing from Maxey in his debut with the program and it sent a message that the team isn’t going to be overlooked again this season. Kentucky has won all 11 meetings with nine of those coming by double-digits. Meeting number 12 is no different as the Wildcats win this one in a romp.

Prediction: Kentucky Wildcats -29.5

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We saw that Kentucky had some tough times putting points on the board in their opener. Of course, when you face the #1 team in the country, not to mention one that was 33rd in the nation in scoring defense last season, you get a bit of a pass. The Wildcats now face a team that liked to play in track meets last season. Eastern Kentucky was 13th in scoring offense last year but ranked a miserable 350th in scoring defense by allowing 83.1 points per game. Can the Colonels find a way to slow things down or will Kentucky run wild on them here?

The under is 5-1 in the Colonels' six games against SEC opponents and 4-1 in their last five overall. Kentucky has seen the under go 7-0 in their last non-conference games, 10-1 in their last 11 Friday games and 8-2 in their last 10 games following an ATS win. The Wildcats are going to get their fair share of points in this contest but their defense will suffocate Eastern Kentucky's offensive attack. This one ends up falling short even with Kentucky putting up 85 to 90 points on the board.

Prediction: Under 150
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.