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Kentucky Gets the Chance to Avenge December Loss to UCLA

Do you like offense? Well, do I ever have the game for you. The last of the eight Sweet 16 matchups features the No. 1 and No. 8 scoring offenses going up against the 115th- and 195th-ranked scoring defenses. UCLA and Kentucky have already met this season and the matchup was absolute flames with the Bruins and Wildcats combining for 189 total points in a UCLA win that happened to end John Calipari’s 42-game home winning streak in Lexington.

SHARK BITES
  • Kentucky is on a 13-game winning streak but has covered just 5 spreads in that span.
  • The UCLA Bruins are 12-1 in their last 13 games during which they’ve covered just 5 spreads.
  • Kentucky is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games against the Pac-12.

Need more evidence that this game will be buzz-saw electric? The total for it opened at 169, an enormous number for March Madness. The two backcourts involved here are two of the best in the nation – if they aren’t the very best – and they’ll be going head-to-head all night long. When they played in December, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk finished with 44 points for the Wildcats while Lonzo Ball dropped a 14-point, six-rebound, seven-assist stat line.

Although the Bruins have a more balanced attack than the Wildcats, they’ll be cooked if they can’t stop Fox and Monk. That’s a task that not many defenders have been up for this season with the pair of freshmen averaging a combined 36.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and seven assists per game.

There are very few scenarios I see in which this game stays under its total. Both teams get out and run with the fastest teams in the nation so even if the threes aren’t falling, there will be plenty of buckets traded in transition.

I lean toward the experience of Calipari in this pick’em contest but with the high-flying teams’ odds almost identical everywhere you go, it’s likely going to come down to the last few possessions.

UCLA Bruins vs Kentucky Wildcats Matchup

Team Betting Records & Power Rankings

The UCLA Bruins will look to cover the spread vs the Kentucky Wildcats on Friday, as the Bruins are 17-18 ATS versus the spread this season, while the Wildcats are 17-17-2 ATS. UCLA is 17-15-3 against the total, while Kentucky is 17-19 versus the total betting line.

The Power Rankings at Odds Shark show No. 12-rated UCLA Bruins taking on the No. 6-rated Kentucky Wildcats in this contest.

Statistical Matchup

The game also pits Kentucky's No. 8-ranked offense, averaging 85.17 PPG, against a Bruins defense that ranks No. 195 at 75.23 PPG. The Wildcats field goal percentage has averaged 47.42% so far, less than the Bruins marksmen have achieved on the year, 52.14% per game.

Recent Outings Betting Recap

The Bruins got 18 points from Lonzo Ball as UCLA ran past Cincinnati 79-67 on Sunday at Golden 1 Center.

The Wildcats got 14 points from De'Aaron Fox as Kentucky ran past Wichita State 65-62 on Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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