NCAA Basketball Predictions: Eastern Kentucky Colonels at No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats

Alex Poythress and the 8-0 Wildcats will look to dispose of a lowly in-state foe this week.
Alex Poythress and the 8-0 Wildcats will look to dispose of a lowly in-state foe this week.

Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky
Time: 6 PM ET
TV: SEC Network, ESPN
Spread: KEN -26
Total: 132

Betting odds c/o Bovada

It’s almost scary how good the Kentucky Wildcats are this season. With a team that boasts 9-10 future 1st round picks in the NBA draft, the Wildcats are off to an 8-0 start and a No. 1 ranking that may remain such the entire season. In a nice in-state battle for Kentucky, the Colonels will visit Lexington as 26-point underdogs to Kentucky.

The Wildcats have obliterated a tough Kansas team this season, perhaps the accent so far on an impressive start. The 72-40 win showed the nation on national TV just how good this team is and can be. It was keyed by a defense that was just beyond stingy. The Jayhawks managed just 12 points in the second half, after already trailing by 10 at the intermission.

The Wildcats spread the wealth, only two players scored in double figures, Andrew Harrison with 10 points and Dakari Johnson with 11 points and three boards on 5-of-6 shooting in 20 minutes of action. 12 Wildcats scored in the game and even three walk-ons got a chance to hit the court for a minute each. It was that kind of game, against the No. 5 team in the nation.

The Wildcats have held opponents to 50 points or less four times this season, and this could be another game in which that happens. The total is set at 132 by college basketball odds listed on Bovada, and if Kentucky is stingy while having a moderate scoring effort, an UNDER bet on the total seems to be a good and reasonable value. Moreover, the last two games, the Wildcats have had its games under that mark.

Eastern Kentucky is 4-2 and in 1st place in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Colonels lost its past two games to BYU and Valpo, but prior to that had started the season with four consecutive wins. The team is capable of putting up points, but it seems unlikely anything about the 81.2 points per game holds against a team as tough as the Wildcats are. Moreover, the Colonels are a horrible team on the glass, ranking nearly at the bottom of NCAA D-1 teams in rebounding with 30.8 per game.

Valpo used a late run to surge by the Colonels who held a negative-13 differential on the glass, while also shooting just 32.4 percent from the floor. The Colonels did hit 12 threes, but it took 37 attempts to shoot a humble 32.4 percent. The four guard starting lineup is unique, but it leads to too many disadvantages on the interior, and even if the Colonels do get hot, getting killed on the defensive glass will still result in a lot of lopsided losses.

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