Kansas-Kentucky. This series has had a bit of everything. Big blowouts in either direction. Games all throughout the country. Two storied programs doing battle against one another repeatedly throughout the years. This edition is slated for Saturday evening as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge/Showdown/whatever they are calling it these days. Will Kansas be victorious and score a point for the good guys?
David: Until I see this team put together an overall quality performance, I'm not going to assume it will happen. Kentucky has some poor performances on their resume that have a lot of people writing this off as a down year for them, but after Kansas’ recent play, most metrics value the two teams similarly. I almost never pick Kansas to lose in the Phog, but right now anything is possible. I don't like KU’s recent lack of offense going up against a team 31st nationally in effective height that blocks 14% of opponents’ shots. Kentucky's defense is ranked 29th by KenPom, and that's the last thing this team needs right now. It makes me sad and a little nauseated, but Kentucky 71, Kansas 68
mikeville: I’m pretty down on Kansas basketball right now. To me, they’ve been playing like a bottom-tier Top 25 team at best. Kentucky has some head-scratchers on their resume, but has played well in their last three outings as they have destroyed Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Missouruh. Yeah those are all not-good teams, but kudos to UK for blowing them out the way they should. Kansas, on the other hand, hasn’t blown anyone out since Baylor a month ago, a stretch that includes matchups with Texas Tech and TCU. A lot of people think that KU will come and just ball out, that this is what the Jayhawks have been waiting for. The Jayhawks remember last year’s beat-down, they say. They’ll be fired up, they say. They’ve had this one circled, they say. No way they lose at home to Kentucky, they say. I hope they’re right, but I don’t think they are. I may throw my remote through the TV at some point during this one. Kentucky 80, Kansas 70.
Fizzle406: I think this game has been circled on the team’s calendar since it was announced. Kansas hasn’t look great recently but they’ve been playing tough teams and they have had a few bright spots. 2nd half against Texas and first half at ISU they looked good. Two good halves is all they need. I think the Fieldhouse will be rocking and Kansas comes away with a W. Kansas 77, Kentucky 70
dnoll5: Big game at Allen for a variety of reasons, and I really think that KU will pull this one out. And maybe, just maybe, this game will be the catalyst that KU needs to realize that they are good again. I’m not sure that it will solve the woes that this team is currently experiencing on the road, but a little home cooking seems to get these guys the win far more times than not. Kansas 79, Kentucky 73.
Winmore: I’m gonna kind of echo David’s take here. Until Kansas can show they can play a complete game there is little reason to pick them against a quality opponent. I really thought they’d rally and play well in Ames. For 25 minutes that looked to be the case. When this team falls behind though, they seem to panic. This is not the same Kentucky team that bludgeoned KU by 32 points last season. Kansas has also not lost at the Fieldhouse since January 5, 2014. Still, Kansas isn’t passing the eye test right now, and Kentucky seems to be finding itself. Kentucky 76, Kansas 70.
KU Grad 08: Until KU actually loses a home game, I just can’t predict it’ll happen, even against a Kentucky team that poses some matchup problems. I remember in 2013 when KU lost a few in a row (including the TCU loss, which may be the worst conference loss in KU history). KU regrouped, blew out a decent KState team at home, and then went on to win the conference tournament and make the Sweet 16. This is likely our Alamo. We turn it around here, or we kiss any hope for a good season goodbye. Kansas 79, Kentucky 78.
NineToesBlogging: I don't really recognize this KU team anymore. The word potential is haunting this team and I'm not sure if they can stop beating themselves. I do believe the Jayhawks have an advantage in the post but Kentucky is well coached and I'm sure will come looking for a fight in the Phog. Kentucky 82, Kansas 77
Tom Fehr: Oof. I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen in this game. On one hand, it’s sort of dumb to think KU might lose in Allen Fieldhouse (Bill Self is now 200-9 at home), but Kentucky is stacked with talent, they have a great coach, and KU is struggling. I like KU’s chances a lot more if Self opts to use his best frontcourt players more often, but that is increasingly becoming difficult to predict as well. I’ll say KU pulls this one out, but that it will be closer than the Vegas line. Kansas 74, Kentucky 72
misterbrain: I was actually surprised to see that Kansas was favored in this one, but I’m guessing that is probably just my sense of panic talking. This team has NOT looked good at all, and if they weren’t at home, it would be an easy pick for Kentucky. I’m not really sure how we will do it, but I have a really hard time picking against the Jayhawks at home. Kentucky has only recently started to play well again, and it has been against the bottom of the SEC barrel. Kansas 69, Kentucky 67.