No. 12 Kentucky heads southwest to College Station, Texas, looking to hand the Aggies their first conference loss of the season. The Wildcats are favored, can they win and cover on the road?
Well, first we have a question for you, just like on Twitter. Who do you think has the better overall record? No peeking!
- Texas A&M
The obvious answer seems to be Kentucky, which is nationally ranked and at 14-3. However, the correct and surprising answer is Texas A&M at 15-2. How could that be?
We’ll break that all down for you in just a bit, but all Aggies’ head coach Buzz Williams does is win everywhere he’s been. He might not be the ideal coach to back for an NCAA Tournament run based on history, but if your basketball program is not meeting alumni expectations, like at Marquette and Virginia Tech, and you have the money and resources to appease Williams, you have found your guy.
Kentucky Wildcats vs. Texas A&M Aggies
Wednesday, January 19, 2022 – 08:30 PM EST at Reed Arena
It seems kind of a shame this is not a nationally televised encounter, instead of on the SEC Network. No matter, sportsbooks like DraftKings have the home Aggies as 7-point underdogs and you know Wiliams will have his team ready to play, but will that be enough?
Can Wildcats Show A-Game on the Road?
For those that wondered if John Calipari had lost the magic in Lexington after last year’s 9-16 season, he answered that with a resounding “No”.
The days of bringing in five talented freshmen who can be molded into a Final Four team are probably over with the transfer portal and the inability to get a group mature enough to play cohesively.
This is as veteran a team as Calipari has coached in Kentucky and they showed it in destroying Tennessee by 28 points last Saturday in a contest that was not that close and shooting an unfathomable 69.7%. These ‘Cats have not reached their ceiling.
If you let Kentucky (9-8 ATS) play in a 94-foot game where they can run, pass and dunk, while owning the glass on both ends of the floor, well, ask the Vols how that works.
Junior forward Oscar Tshiebwe is the star, leading the team in scoring and averaging a remarkable 14.9 rebounds a game. Diminutive Sahvir Wheeler (5’9) is who makes the whole show run and is the heartbeat of Kentucky.
TyTy Washington Jr. and Kellan Grady are both tremendous shooters, able to connect from anywhere and the bench, though not deep at present, has talent.
Texas A&M Has to Play Their Game
The Texas A&M schedule has not matched who Kentucky has played when you see names like Northwestern State, Central Arkansas and somebody named Dallas Christian, which sounds like a high school. Nevertheless, the Aggies (7-7-2 ATS) can make a LOUD statement tonight with an upset.
Williams is a good basketball coach who doesn’t have a system per se and is willing to adapt to the talent on hand while understanding the opponent. He knows full well that jacking up shots 10 seconds into the shot clock is a recipe for disaster versus Calipari’s crew.
Instead, the offense will need both man and ball movement from side to side and make Kentucky play defense for at least 25 seconds of the 30-second shot clock unless you have a wide-open look. This could frustrate the visitor.
Williams uses 10 players regularly, trying to find the hot hand and is unafraid to mix and match to determine an opponent’s weakness with a certain contingent.
What is the Best Side to Bet On?
It is easy enough to make the case that the sportsbooks number is right. But for college basketball picks, we cannot let go of the fact that Kentucky lost at Notre Dame and LSU. The game in Baton Rouge had a couple of Wildcats players injured which likely contributed to the outcome.
It is not a problem to think that Kentucky can win but with them 0-7 ATS after scoring 45 points or more in the first half of their last outing, Texas A&M with the points feels like the right call.
NCAAB Picks: Texas A&M +7 (-105) at DraftKings