Eleven days will pass since Kentucky last took the court, beating Louisville 73-66 in Rupp Arena. Wednesday night, UK will get back to action as Mississippi State heads to Lexington in attempts to knock off the 14th rated Cats.
Mississippi State comes into Wednesday nights game with a 10-3 record, same as Kentucky. This is quite deceiving though as the Bulldogs have no quality wins in those 10 victories. Their three losses come against decent opponents but have lost all three by 10 points or more.
Leading the way in the scoring column for State is 6’3 guard Craig Sword. Shooting the ball 57.6% from the field, an average of 14.3 points per game. Sword also contributes 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
Helping Sword has been senior Colin Borchert, sophomore Gavin Ware who both average double-figures for the Bulldogs. Ware also leads his team in rebounding with 8.4 per outing.
Mississippi State plays mostly eight guys. Seven of them average just under 22 minutes per game meaning they do not go very deep. This could be a cause for concern for State as Kentucky will look to draw fouls and wear down the Bulldogs.
For the home team Kentucky, they enter Wednesday’s match up with a 10-3 record. Having played five teams in the RPI Top 50, beating what was KenPoms #1 offensive efficient team in Louisville. Their three losses all came to ranked ball clubs, two of those being top ten teams on somewhat neutral courts.
Freshman Julius Randle has been key for Kentucky. Averaging 18.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, Randle has been somewhat unstoppable near the basket. Last game against UofL, he missed most of the second half with cramps but has had no issues since.
Teammates Aaron, Andrew Harrison, and James Young have also been the go to guys. All three averaging over 11 points per outing. Andrew has also looked much better since the Baylor game and I expect us all to see a drastic improvement against Mississippi State after having 10 days of practice.
My prediction is simple. Kentucky wins 89-66. State is a young team like UK but the talent level drastically differs. Julius Randle tallies double-double number ten on the season.
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