College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Kentucky vs. South Carolina (Tuesday, February 8)
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Frank Martin (South Carolina)
- Kentucky puts its four-game winning streak on the line in Columbia when it faces South Carolina.
- The Cats haven't won at the Gamecocks since 2016.
- Keg breaks down the matchup and explains why he's backing the Gamecocks in this spot.
Kentucky vs. South Carolina Odds
-110o / -110u
|South Carolina Odds|
-110o / -110u
After a hard-fought win at Alabama, Kentucky will hit the road again, looking to add to a four-game win streak as it takes on the South Carolina Gamecocks.
South Carolina has had an up-and-down season to say the least. While the Gamecocks are currently on a two-game losing streak, they’ve beaten Texas A&M and swept Vanderbilt this season.
But the Gamecocks have also had some embarrassing losses, dropping matchups to Coastal Carolina and Princeton. South Carolina is currently 10th in the SEC, with a 4-6 record.
This will be the Gamecocks’ first and only meeting against Kentucky this season.
Kentucky fans love to call its away SEC games “everyone’s Super Bowl,” as fans love to show up and show out when the blue blood program comes to town.
But as the rest of the SEC gets better and better each year, that saying becomes less and less valid.
South Carolina may not be fighting for a top-three spot in the conference, but it isn’t a team Kentucky can overlook.
The Gamecocks are a unit that plays up to their competition, and while they may not have the offensive output of Kentucky, their defense is efficient and can cause problems for the Cats.
The last five conference games for Kentucky have been closer than many expected, which includes losing to Auburn. The Cats’ last four SEC wins have come by an average of just 6.2 points, and they’ve only covered the spread once — as an underdog at Alabama.
Will Kentucky be able to take care of business on the road against South Carolina? It has lost the last two in Columbia, and hasn’t won there since February 2016.
Kentucky has proven it can find ways to win no matter what. Against Kansas, the Wildcats were able to run-and-gun and stay in control the entire game. But against Alabama — which slowed the game down — they were able to stay active on the defense end.
The Wildcats lead the SEC in scoring, averaging 81.2 points per game. But what’s even more impressive is different players have seemed to make an impact every game for the Cats, including Davion Mintz and Daimion Collins, who both had impressive games last week.
Five different players are averaging double digits for Kentucky, led by Oscar Tshiebwe (15.8 PPG). Tshiebwe also leads the SEC in rebounds per game, as well as field goal percentage.
He’s a force in the paint, one that I’m not sure South Carolina has the ability to limit. The Gamecocks rank 273rd in opponent total rebounds and 118th in second chance point conversion rate.
Per KenPom, Kentucky has the 11th-most efficient defense and has been limiting opponents to the 39th-best mark in points per contest (64).
South Carolina’s offense currently ranks worse in adjusted offensive efficiency than at the end of any season during Frank Martin’s tenure.
The Gamecocks shouldn’t be a threat offensively to Kentucky, but the Wildcats are still a young team, and young Kentucky teams have struggled in Columbia in the past.
The Gamecocks’ offense is led by Erik Stevenson, who is posting 11.3 points per game to go along with 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
He’s one of just two players scoring in double figures for South Carolina, with the other being James Reese V, a grad transfer from North Texas who averages 10.7 points and is shooting 42% from the field.
As a team, the Gamecocks are recording 70.8 points per contest and rank 226th in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom. South Carolina ranks outside the top 250 in 2- and 3-point shooting percentage, as well as from the free throw line.
South Carolina will not outshoot Kentucky, as it cannot win on the offensive end. However, the Gamecocks do have the 34th-ranked defense, per KenPom, and are limiting opposing teams to just 69.2 points per game.
In conference play, the Gamecocks are the third-best team in the SEC in block percentage. On the season, they’ve been able to create turnovers, as well, forcing opponents to commit an average of 15.7 per game.
But will that be enough slow down the Wildcats?
Kentucky vs. South Carolina Betting Pick
Kentucky has struggled to cover against SEC teams so far this year. The Wildcats also haven’t been great against the spread on the road, as they’re 3-4 on the season.
I don’t think South Carolina will beat Kentucky by any means, but 11 or more feels like too many points at home for the Gamecocks.