Kentucky and Baylor headline a Friday slate of college basketball games tomorrow. The #3 Kentucky Wildcats travel to Arlington, Texas to find the 20-ranked Baylor Bears. While the game is at a “neutral” site, the Bears will certainly hold the home crowd playing in their home state. With the majority of fan support, Baylor is getting just three and a half points against the powerful Wildcats in a game where many have UK on upset alert.
After losing its lone game to currently top-ranked Michigan State by just four points about four weeks ago, Kentucky has rebounded to look impressive. Five straight wins, including a most recent victory over a pretty good Providence team gives the Wildcats some momentum ahead of its biggest tilt since the MSU game. For as superb as Jabari Parker has been thus far, what more can you say about Julius Randle? The UK diaper dandy is putting up over 18 points and 12 rebounds per game and will find himself with arguably his toughest one-on-one matchup of the season when he sees combinations of Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin. Quite frankly, I’m not sure Austin can matchup with Randle, which means Willy Cauley-Stein gets to take his shot at the lanky Baylor center. Kentucky should have the definitive size advantage down low against the weaker (despite the vertical size) and shallower Baylor bigs. Look for the combination of Randle, Caley-Stein and Alex Poythress to have their way with Isaiah Austin. Kentucky doesn’t lack any talent on the perimeter, either with the Harrison twins and sharp-shooter James Young. This Kentucky team is loaded with talent and it should be on full display under the bright lights in Arlington.
Baylor has the firepower to make for a good opponent but it will have to shoot the lights out to best UK. Brady Heslip’s ability to spread the floor for the Bears becomes huge as Baylor will need the three-point shot to be falling if it wants to spring the upset. Heslip is right there with the more prolific outside shooters in the country and will certainly have the green light against the ‘Cats. Cory Jefferson’s improvement on the offensive end has been fun to watch over his career as he has developed a mid-range jumpshot to go with some nice little post moves on the block. Jefferson’s offensive game has finally grown into his body and he has been a star for Baylor and should continue to be all season long.
At the end of the day Kentucky is just a little too talented and should win this game by 6,7+. The spread of 3.5 is just a little too short.
Free Pick: Kentucky -3.5