The Penn State Nittany Lions (3-0) and Kentucky Wildcats (2-0) are set to meet up Saturday in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Kentucky Wildcats
Penn State has opened its season with three wins against non-lined competition and now steps up in class in a big way, seeking the program’s second win in 11 tries versus the No. 2 team in the country. The program has won eight games versus ranked foes over the past three years.
“They are a great team, a great program with a lot of tradition,” stated Nittany Lions first-year coach Patrick Chambers. “I need to reel them in a little bit, because they are going to be crazy the first couple of minutes. I just have to slow them down.”
The Nittany Lions have enjoyed a solid start on the defensive end, limiting opponents to 37.7 percent from the field, while causing 18.3 turnovers per game.
Junior guard Tim Frazier leads the Big Ten Conference in averaging 20.7 points per game, while he also stands 14th all-time within the program in career assists. Fellow guard Cammeron Woodyard joins him in double-digit scoring.
Bettors will find that the Nittany Lions are 4-4 ATS in tournament games the last two-plus years, while the ‘over’ is 4-3 in those contests.
Kentucky is set to continue its three-game road stretch and comes off an impressive 75-65 win over the Kansas Jayhawks as 6.5-point favorites inside Madison Square Garden. For the second straight game, the Wildcats had five players score in double-figures.
“We don’t believe we have to truly play together yet. It’s not talent that wins, it’s good teams that win,” stated Wildcats coach John Calipari. “This is not a good team yet. We’re not bad, but we’re not a good team yet.”
Freshman forward Anthony Davis leads the squad in scoring, rebounds and blocks, averaging 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and six blocks per game. All five projected starters are averaging double-digits in points per game.
This is the third meeting between Kentucky and Penn State, with the Wildcats holding a 2-1 all-time advantage. The two schools haven’t faced off since the 2000 season, with the Nittany Lions coming away with a 73-68 win in Lexington.
Since the 2005-06 season, Calipari has enjoyed unmatched success, leading all coaches nationally with a 203-26 record.
Bettors will find that the Wildcats are 21-12 ATS in non-conference action the last two-plus seasons, while the ‘under’ is 16-13 in those contests.
Recommendation: Penn State Nittany Lions +19
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