A tantalizing top-20 tilt will transpire on Saturday night in Lubbock, with Kentucky set to battle Texas Tech in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
TV schedule: Saturday, January 25, 6:00 pm ET. ESPN.
Arena: United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas.
A duo of top-20 teams will square off at the United Supermarkets Arena on Saturday evening when Kentucky makes the trip to Texas Tech in the seventh-annual Big 12/SEC Challenge. The No. 15 Wildcats (14-4) are currently one game behind leader LSU in the Southeastern Conference standings, while the No. 18 Red Raiders (12-6) are presently tied for fifth, with Oklahoma, in the Big 12 Conference race.
Winners of two straight, at Arkansas and versus Georgia, Kentucky is at No. 24 in the NCAA NET system. The Wildcats have impressive conquests of Michigan State, Louisville and Alabama, and Kentucky has fallen to Evansville, Utah, Ohio State and South Carolina.
Texas Tech, at No. 31 in the NET, lost at TCU earlier this week. Its other setbacks are to Iowa, Creighton, DePaul, Baylor and West Virginia, and the Red Raiders have bested Louisville, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Iowa State.
An Elite Eight participant in this past spring’s March Madness, the Wildcats are forecast by bracketologists as a No. 5 seed in the 2020 Big Dance. For Texas Tech, which reached the championship contest in the 2019 NCAA tourney, the Red Raiders are projected as a No. 9 seed in the upcoming March Madness.
Let’s delve into some statistics. Kentucky averages 75.7 points per affair and allows 64.7 points, while the Wildcats connect on 46.4 percent from the field, 76.7 percent from the charity stripe and 31.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Texas Tech produces 72.7 points every 40 minutes and gives up 61.8 points, and the Red Raiders hit on 44.3 percent from the field, 75.7 percent from the free-throw line and 32.9 percent from deep.
In other categories, Kentucky has the edge in rebounding, blocks and turnovers committed. Texas Tech gets the nod in assists and steals.
All-time, the Wildcats are 4-0 against the Red Raiders in their limited series together. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index says that Texas Tech possesses a 70.1 percent chance to prevail over Kentucky, and I like the Red Raiders to take care of business at home versus the Wildcats.
Prediction: Texas Tech 71 – Kentucky 68