NCAA Basketball Picks: Oklahoma Sooners vs Kentucky Wildcats

Oklahoma Sooners vs Kentucky Wildcats
Monday, 11/22/10, 5:30 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Kentucky -15
Current Betting Line:  Kentucky -15

The Kentucky Wildcats are 10-4 all-time when playing in Hawaii and open up this year's Maui Invitational against the Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma is making its fourth appearance in the Maui Invitational and sports a 5-4 record, including a 1-2 mark in head coach Jeff Capel’s first season.  “Maui, historically, has always been a premiere event as far as teams in college basketball,” Capel stated.  “This year the field is probably as good as it has ever been.  We are excited about the opportunity.”  The Sooners are playing their first game away from home this season after wins over Coppin State (77-57), North Carolina Central (71-63) and Texas Southern (82-52).  Offensively, the team is shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from 3-point range, while holding opponents to a respective 36.9 and 32.8 in those categories.  Oklahoma is a double-digit underdog according to the college basketball lines page.

The Sooners sport a very young team with seven of their top eight scorers being in their first or second year of Division I basketball.  Despite the youthfulness, the team is shooting a Big 12-best 80.6 percent from the charity stripe.  Many experts believe that the 2010-11 season will be one of rebuilding, especially after losing the last nine games last season to finish 13-18 for its first losing campaign under Capel.  Oklahoma and Kentucky have met twice, with the Wildcats prevailing both times.  UK won 43-33 in the 1945-46 season and 75-74 during the 1986-87 campaign, as both games were played in Lexington.

Kentucky returns to the Main Invitational for the first time in four years, posting a 1-2 record in its last appearance on the island, tallying a win over DePaul and losses to UCLA and the John Calipari-coached Memphis Tigers.  The Wildcats enter off an impressive 79-48 road win over the Portland Pilots, with Terrence Jones playing in his hometown.  “Terrence played well, but I want him to be great,” said Calipari.  “He has to be more physical.  He can’t accept that a guy is going to body him.”  Kentucky has rolled up a 54-9 record against schools comprising of the Big 12 conference.  The team is 9-5 ATS on neutral courts.

The Wildcats have posted an 8-4 all-time mark in this tournament and are 10-4 all-time in games played in Hawaii.  Kentucky has won both of its opening games by more than 20 points thanks to its perimeter shooting, hitting 47.7 percent of its shots from 3-point range.  The team shot 54.9 percent from the field on Friday night in the Rose Garden and improved its shooting from the charity stripe, knocking down 15-of-20 attempts after posting a 9-23 effort in the previous game.

Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Sooners are 17-35-1 ATS as an underdog, while the Wildcats are 0-3-1 ATS versus the Big 12.

Don’t let today’s action pass you by and let the college basketball handicappers at Maddux Sports deliver a winning day!

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