When and where: February 18, 2020, Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, LA, 9:00 PM ET
A battle between SEC heavyweights takes center stage on Tuesday when the No. 12-ranked Kentucky Wildcats go head-to-head with the LSU Tigers. It has been a slippery slope for the Tigers since having their 10-game win streak snapped in an upset loss to Vanderbilt. They have lost three of their last four games, including Saturday’s road meeting with Alabama. Meanwhile, the Wildcats’ recent 67-62 victory over Ole Miss marked their fourth straight win.
Kentucky escapes a near collapseThe Wildcats were breathing a sigh of relief after surviving a tougher than expected run-in with Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon. They trailed heading into halftime after being held to only 25 points. Yet, on a night when the team shot 39.0 percent from the floor and 9.1 percent from 3-pointer, tremendous coaching and perseverance prevailed.
The victory also kept the Wildcats seeded at No. 5 in CBS Sports’ updated NCAA Tournament projections.
Grab those inhalers, Kentucky fans. The team could face another dramatic encounter on the road against the Tigers on Tuesday.
LSU’s tournament outlook is slipping after losing three of their last four games. So they’ll be motivated to fortify their position by knocking off Kentucky and defending their home court. Kentucky’s 40th-ranked defense will be put to the test against a Tigers offense averaging 80.8 points per game.
However, a strong offensive performance will be key in them staying in the game. LSU has scored 82-plus points in their last four straight outings. It’ll be a disappointing night if the Wildcats stink on offense like they did against Ole Miss. Sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley leads the team in scoring, but he’ll also be called on to be more consistent with his shooting.
Can the Tigers roar back to life?We’re at the crucial point of the season when good teams begin to hit their stride in the final stretch run to the NCAA Tournament. That moment hasn’t happened for LSU yet.
Their jarring defeat on the road at Alabama on Saturday marked their third loss in four games. That isn’t exactly the sort of impression a team wants to be making heading into March Madness. Finding a spot in the dance is one thing, but the ability to create a team that is actually capable of competing is something else entirely.
A win over Kentucky on Tuesday would go a long way in instilling some confidence back in the Tigers.
No one is expecting a stellar defensive performance from the home team. There’s only so much faith a fan-base can have in a team allowing an average 85.7 points per game in their last three outings. Granted, they have played significantly better at home than on the road, but they could run into some real problems from a resilient Wildcats team capable of consistently knocking down shots.
The Tigers’ best defense is their explosive offense. They figure they can pile enough points on an opponent to make them cry “uncle.” It would be a risk to doubt them with an offense averaging 47.7 percent shooting from the floor.
- Wildcats are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Tigers are 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games as a favorite.
- Tigers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games.