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Kentucky vs. Kansas: NCAA betting odds, preview, and pick

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Jason Ence

January 27th, 2022

The two winningest programs in college basketball will face off on Saturday, Jan. 29 as the 12th ranked Kentucky Wildcats travel to Manhattan, Kansas to face the fifth-ranked Jayhawks.

Sat, January 29 2022, 11:00 PM







O 152.5







U 152.5

Tshiebwe continues to dominate the glass

The Wildcats overcame a 15-point deficit and escaped Tuesday night with an 82-74 win at home against feisty Mississippi State.

Oscar Tshiebwe had double-digit rebounds in the first half, and ended the night with 21 points and 22 rebounds. His 13th double-double in 19 games has him ranked third in the nation, and the rebounding machine leads all players with 5.16 offensive boards per game, a full rebound more than anyone else.

Tshiebwe’s 14.8 boards per game also pace the nation, and are a key reason Kentucky is having success as they lead college basketball in rebounding margin and offensive rebounding percentage. They also rank fourth in KenPom efficiency in large part because of their improved three-point shooting, with Kellan Grady’s 43.8% mark ranking second-best in the SEC this year.

Star guard TyTy Washington, a projected NBA lottery pick, missed Tuesday night’s game after spraining his ankle against LSU, and is doubtful against Kansas. This will put additional playmaking pressure on point guard Sahvir Wheeler, whose 6.9 assists per game pace the conference.

Kansas is unbeaten at home this season

A 94-91 double-overtime win on Monday night saw the Jayhawks move to 10-0 on the season at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, as they defeated Texas Tech behind Ochai Agbaji’s 37 points. The senior guard made seven of his 12 3-point attempts, and is shooting a scorching-hot 47% from behind the arc this season. His 21.3 points and 5.6 assists per game are both conference highs, and like Tshiebwe, he is being discussed as a national player of the year candidate.

Agbaji is partnered with Christian Braun in the backcourt, and his 15.3 points per game are second-best on the team. They are both among four Jayhawks averaging between five and seven rebounds per contest, as Kansas relies on a rebounding-by-committee approach that sees them ranked 15th in the nation in offensive rebound percentage. Big man David McCormack can be hit-or-miss, as he has 15 rebounds in two of his last five contests, while grabbing a total of 14 in the other three combined.

Kansas leads the nation in scoring, 3-point shooting, and field goals made and attempted inside the arc. They rank ninth in KenPom’s overall efficiency metric, and have won 13 of their last 14 games. Their lone defeat since November came in a road loss to ranked Texas Tech earlier this month. 

Wildcats and Jayhawks Betting Trends

  • Kentucky is 3-4 ATS in its last seven games
  • The Over is 3-1 in Kentucky’s last four games
  • The Wildcats are 1-3 SU and 1-3 ATS on the road this season
  • The Jayhawks are 1-5 ATS in their last six games
  • The Over is 3-1 in Kansas’ last four games
  • Kentucky is 23-10 SU against Kansas all-time

The Wildcats must improve on the road

Kentucky has won just one of its four true road games this season, although two of those involved TyTy Washington getting injured, as they had a chance to defeat both LSU and Auburn if at full strength. Kentucky currently sits at 2,343 wins in their history, with Kansas just three back at the moment. Both coaches are aware of their respective records, and both fan bases want the bragging rights that come with it.

The Wildcats have a good chance to win this game if Washington plays, but might simply be overmatched without him. Mississippi State came roaring back Tuesday night behind the play of guard Iverson Molinar, who scored their last 12 points and did whatever he wanted against the Wildcats' guards. If they have similar failures guarding Agbaji, without Washington’s offensive dynamism to match, not even a dominant night from Tshiebwe will be enough to lead them to a win.

Kansas will have to find a way to keep the Kentucky big man quiet on the glass, while Tshiebwe must limited the second-chance opportunities for the Jayhawks.

Calipari said on Friday that neither Washington nor Toppin have practiced this week, and while Kentucky would have a good chance to win the game with a healthy squad, they have little hope of ending Kansas' home winning streak with their dynamic guard riding the pine. Kansas should cover the number and move one win closer to first place on the all-time list.

Score prediction: Kansas 73, Kentucky 67

NCAAB PICK: Kansas -5.5