The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and Kentucky Wildcats are scheduled for a pre-Christmas showdown at Rupp Arena. Western Kentucky feels good about their chances after an 82-72 win over the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday.
They are winners in seven of their previous eight outings and are confident at the moment. They also have a recent win over an SEC opponent, with a blowout over the Ole Miss Rebels by 71-48 on a neutral court on December 11.
Embracing The Journey.
A cinematic recap of our victory over UNC. pic.twitter.com/6lEOJPw9Ft
— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) December 21, 2021
Western Kentucky were 5.5-point underdogs in that one, so it was an impressive effort from the Hilltoppers. After they dropped a 77-67 decision at home on December 8 versus Buffalo, it was a nice response.
Since losing to the Memphis Tigers on November 19, 74-62, Western Kentucky has gone 7-1 in their last eight attempts. They feel good, but have a lot of work to do if they wish to go to the NCAA Tournament.
The Hilltoppers started slow this season and are going into Rupp with an 8-4 record. Western Kentucky suffered three straight losses to open the year at 1-3. They were losers versus Minnesota, 73-69, South Carolina, 75-64, and Memphis, 74-62. All of those were trips on the road.
— WKU Hilltopper Basketball (@WKUBasketball) December 22, 2021
Western Kentucky has had a true road game since the loss to Memphis. They blew out Ole Miss on a neutral court but haven’t been to an opposing barn in a long time. This evening, the Hilltoppers will be one of the most intimidating environments in college basketball.
The Wildcats go into this one with a record of 8-2 after pulling away from the Tar Heels on Saturday, 98-69. They were coming off a sloppy performance at Notre Dame in a 66-62 loss to end a seven-game winning streak. It was a nice response from Kentucky.
Head below for our free Western Kentucky vs. Kentucky pick on December 22, 2021.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Kentucky Wildcats Betting Odds and Team Statistics:
The following odds are courtesy of BetUS:
|Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||+12 (-110)||+475||Over 141 (-110)|
|Kentucky Wildcats||-12 (-110)||-650||Under 141 (-110)|
|Team Data||Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||Kentucky Wildcats|
|Points Per Game||78.6||82.1|
|Points Against Per Game||65.7||62.2|
|Field Goal %||48.2||48.8|
|Three Point %||33.3||32.1|
Western Kentucky vs. Kentucky Prediction:
Western Kentucky is finally back on the road after having a lot of success at home. Overall, the Hilltoppers are 56th with a respectable 78.6 points per game. They are shooting the ball well with a 48.2% field goal percentage.
However, their trips on the road haven’t been the same. Having a hot hand against mediocre competition at home is one thing; going to Rupp and doing a similar feat is a tad different. Western Kentucky has scored 62 points per game in their attempts on the road with a 39.3% field goal percentage.
Defensively, Western Kentucky gave up 74 points per game, with their opponents shooting 46.7% from the field. This looks like a tough assignment against a well-known Kentucky team for being difficult to beat home at Rupp Arena.
Louisville isn’t what they used to be, so Western Kentucky shouldn’t find this as easy as their 82-72 win over the Cardinals this past weekend. If they’re going to play how they did in their last true road game at Memphis, Kentucky will be able to pull ahead for an easy double-digit win.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Kentucky Wildcats Betting Trends:
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
- 1-4 ATS in their previous five games after covering the spread
- 2-5 ATS in their previous seven games after a win
- 5-2 ATS in their previous seven games
- 5-2 ATS in their previous seven games versus a team with a winning home record
- UNDER is 8-2 in their previous ten games as an underdog on the road
- 7-15-1 ATS in their previous 23 games as the betting favorite
- 1-4 ATS in their previous five games after a win
- 7-17-1 ATS in thier previous 26 games
- UNDER is 4-1 in their previous five games
- UNDER is 4-1 in their previous five games as the betting favorite
Kentucky can score the ball, so if the Hilltoppers don’t want to show up to Rupp with defensive intensity, they could fall behind in a minute. The Wildcats have scored 82.1 points per game for 16th in the NCAA.
Kentucky tightens up on defense, too, as they’ve allowed only 58.3 points per game at home. They’re 24th in the nation with a field goal percentage of 48.8%. They’ve been even more deadly at Rupp, with an average of 84.3 points a game and a 50.2% field goal percentage.
Oscar Tshiebwe is 2nd in KenPom Player of the Year rankings pic.twitter.com/k91aStdBn4
— Michael Beard (@TheBracketGuy) December 22, 2021
Western Kentucky does not have the size to compete with Oscar Tshiebwe around the rim in this one. Tshiebwe will be too big and athletic in the paint for a body to match up well with him for the Hilltoppers. He is going into tonight with 16.3 points and 14.2 rebounds per game.
After slipping up versus the Fighting Irish, Kentucky got right back on track with a blowout over North Carolina. Expect the hot hand of the Wildcats to carry over tonight versus Western Kentucky at Rupp. Look for Kentucky to get out of this one with a 16 or 17-point win in an 83-66 type of game.