College Basketball Odds, Pick & Preview for Mississippi State vs. Kentucky (Tuesday, January 25)
Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Davion Mintz (Kentucky)
- After losing to Auburn over the weekend, Kentucky attempts to bounce back into the win column against Mississippi State.
- The Wildcats have injury issues, though, as Ty Ty Washington Jr. and Sahvir Wheeler are both questionable to play.
- Keg is still leaning toward the Wildcats, though, and he breaks down why below.
Mississippi State vs. Kentucky Odds
|Mississippi State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Mississippi State Bulldogs will look to get a huge win on the road on Tuesday night when they take on the Kentucky Wildcats. But that may be easier said than done against a Kentucky team coming off of a tough loss to the new No. 1 team, Auburn.
Ben Howland’s Bulldogs are 4-2 in the SEC, and their biggest win came over Alabama just a few weeks ago when they edged out the Tide, 78-76. In their last game, State welcomed rival Ole Miss to Starkville and returned the favor after losing to Ole Miss earlier this year.
The Bulldogs have been led by Iverson Molinar, who ranks third in the SEC in scoring at 17.7 points per game. He’s also in the top five in field goal percentage (48.7%) in the conference while also posting a team-high 4.3 assists per game.
Kentucky meanwhile, is coming off of another loss to another strong contender, but the defeat may not be the biggest factor from the game. TyTy Washington Jr. went down with an ankle injury and his status remains unknown.
But he wasn’t the only potential loss for the Cats. Sahvir Wheeler seemed to fight through some pain, as well, after running into a hard screen.
Both are still questionable at this time.
John Calipari declines to give injury update on TyTy Washington and Sahvir Wheeler, but says Davion Mintz and Kellan Grady ran point guard today in practice.
Also said Shaedon Sharpe practiced with the team for the first time today.
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) January 24, 2022
If Washington Jr. and Wheeler are out, it could be a huge impact for not only the Wildcats, but more importantly the spread.
After suffering a loss to Florida last week, Mississippi State immediately bounced back by defeating its rival Ole Miss, 78-60.
Mississippi State can’t afford to have too many bad losses the rest of the season since it has already logged two Quad 3 defeats. But wins over big SEC contenders such as Alabama and Arkansas make its resume a tough one to break down.
While Kentucky has potential injury issues that could change the team immensely in this game, State has an issue of its own. Tolu Smith is week-to-week with a knee injury suffered in Saturday’s win over Ole Miss. He will likely be back at some point, but it’s highly unlikely he’ll play at Kentucky.
In his place, Javian Davis should play extended minutes next to North Carolina transfer Garrison Brooks, who is posting 12.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Mississippi State scores an average of 78.2 points per game and is 22nd in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Bulldogs have also been a force on the glass, pulling down 37.6 rebounds per contest.
Mississippi State is allowing opposing teams to score an average of 65.3 points per contest.
The Bulldogs also have been amazing when it comes to defensive rebounds, allowing the second-least opposing team rebounds per game at an average of 28.4.
Unfortunately, for the Bulldogs I don’t think that number will matter with Oscar Tshiebwe around the basket.
The Wildcats still have a beast in Tshiebwe, who’s been unstoppable against every team the Wildcats have faced. Against Auburn, he pulled down 14 rebounds and added in 16 points.
Tshiebwe is averaging 16.1 points (on 61.6% shooting from the field) and 14.8 rebounds per contest. His presence alone will be enough to disrupt the dominance that the Bulldogs have had on the boards.
If Washington Jr. is unable to go, Kentucky will look to the veteran transfer Davion Mintz to take his place. After Washington Jr. left the Auburn game, Mintz played 31 minutes, but posted just five points and four assists.
There is no doubt the Creighton transfer will need to step up and have a big game if the Wildcats want to beat this strong Bulldogs team.
Kentucky is averaging 82.9 points per game and has been even better than Mississippi State when it comes to rebounding (41.6 per contest).
More importantly, the Wildcats have recently developed a knack for shooting the 3 ball. They’re currently hitting 35.5% on the season. If they can improve upon that against the Bulldogs — who allow opposing teams to hit 34.3% from deep — it could be the first step in a big win for Kentucky.
Mississippi State vs. Kentucky Betting Pick
This spread opened up with Kentucky as a 9.5-point favorite, and without having confirmation on whether or not Washington Jr. or Wheeler will play, it’s hard to take this number where it currently sits.
However, in my opinion, this number will only increase if both do play. Tshiebwe alone will be enough to cause a disruption for State, and Kentucky should still be able to produce if it has to look to Mintz.
Because of that I’m taking the Wildcats as a 9.5-point favorite, and I would take them as high as 10. If Wheeler or Washington Jr. are confirmed to play, I would take it up to 13.5.
Pick: Kentucky -10 or better (Play up to -13.5 if Wheeler/Washington Jr. play)
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