A primetime spot on ESPN may make some members of the Big Blue Nation a little antsy considering that Will Wade’s team will be a major challenge when the ball tips inside Rupp Arena.
With hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament fading fast, the remainder of this season may come down to a concentrated effort to simply avoid any further embarrassment.
LSU will bring some unwanted baggage of their own after getting absolutely taken to the wood shed by Alabama on Tuesday night. Their 105-75 loss was something to behold. The Crimson Tide poured in an SEC record 23 three-pointers in their 30-point blowout win.
So needless to say, the Tigers will be locked in for this one after getting humiliated on national TV just days ago.
LSU has a loaded roster that includes the SEC’s leading scorer, Cameron Thomas, who drops just over 22 points per game. Though the 25th-ranked recruit of 2020 was expected to be a key contributor, Thomas has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2020-21 season with nine 21+ point outings thus far. He’s one of the top favorites for SEC Freshman of the Year and SEC Player of the Year.
However, the Tigers are far from one dimensional, as junior guard Javonte Smart (14.9 ppg) and sophomore forward Trendon Watford (18.1 ppg) are both big-time players who are capable of taking over a game.
The Tigers have scored at least 75 points in every game this season.
As we know — the Cats have trouble even getting out of the mid-60s — so something will have to give if UK is going to find a way to win just their fifth game of the season.
Freshman guard BJ Boston had the best game of his young career on Tuesday night against Georgia when he scored 18 points on 9/17 shooting.
It was refreshing to see Boston embrace coming off the bench and the positive results that followed.
Can the Cats capitalize on his improved play and steal a win against one of the top teams in the SEC?
You won’t have to wait long to find out.
LSU Tigers (10-3) at Kentucky Wildcats (4-9)
Game Time: 6 pm EST on Saturday, January 23rd
TV Channel: ESPN
Location: Rupp Arena
Radio: Tom Leach and Mike Pratt will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM, 98.1 FM in Lexington and on the UK Sports Network.
Replay: WatchESPN and the SEC Network (check local listings).
Odds: Kentucky opened as a 1.5-point favorite. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives LSU a 57.6% chance at winning. KenPom gives the Tigers a 52% chance of winning. Kentucky is 4-8-1 against the spread this season.