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What should we know about Tennessee?
Coming in on a school-record 19-game winning streak, this Tennessee team is no joke.
Led by junior forward Grant Williams, senior forward Admiral Schofield, and junior guard Jordan Bone, the Volunteers have 85.4 points per game (No. 7 in the nation) on 51.5 percent shooting, good for second-best in all of college basketball, behind only Duke.
Williams leads the team with 19.4 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game, also adding 3.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.6 blocks each night. Shooting a ridiculous 57.9 percent from the field, 30 percent from three, and 83.2 percent from the free throw line, it’s no surprise why Williams is a frontrunner for the National Player of the Year award. He’s efficient, polished, patient, mature, and has a killer instinct every time he steps out on the floor, making him easily the biggest player to watch out for as a Kentucky fan.
6-foot-6 forward Schofield is second on the team with 16.7 points per game, to go with 6.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, one steal, and 0.5 blocks per contest. As we’ve seen countless times over the course of his career, Schofield is an absolute monster with the ability to score on all three levels of the floor. Leave him open on the perimeter, and he’s going to knock down jumpers. Take him lightly in the post, and he’s going to bully his way to the paint and dunk all over you. He’s the complete package.
Bone, the team’s 6-foot-3 point guard out of Nashville, TN, is third on the team with 13.2 points per game, also adding 3.2 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 0.7 steals each night.
Junior guard Lamonte Turner (11.7 PPG) and junior guard Jordan Bowden (11.5 PPG) round out Tennessee’s double-digit scorers.
As a team, the Volunteers haven’t lost a game since November 23, when the team headed to Brooklyn, NY to take on the Kansas Jayhawks at the Barclays Center. They even knocked off Gonzaga, who was No. 1 at the time, back on December 9.
Since their lone loss, however, their victory over Gonzaga was the only win they’ve managed against a team projected to make the NCAA Tournament. They’ve rattled off wins at a high rate, including several on the road in hostile environments, but they also sit at No. 69 in the nation in terms of overall strength of schedule.
Does that play into Kentucky’s favor this evening? We’ll have to find out.
As of right now, the Wildcats are actually favored by 3.5 points against the Volunteers, including an over/under total of 144.
Kentucky is 14-10-0 against the spread this year while Tennessee sits at 13-9-1. After covering the spread in eight consecutive matchups, the Cats failed to accomplish that feat against LSU on Tuesday, while the Volunteers have covered in just six of their last ten.
ESPN’s matchup predictor also favors Kentucky by a total of 59.3 percent to 40.7 percent. KenPom, on the other hand, gives the Wildcats a 59 percent chance of winning and projects a 74-72 victory for Kentucky.
NumberFire, another advanced betting/prediction outlet, gives the Cats an overall rating edge of just 75.4 to 73.2 compared to the Volunteers
Prepare on the KSR Pregame Show
Before the Kentucky takes the court, listen to the KSR crew preview the matchup between the Cats and the Volunteers. All of the action begins on 630 WLAP or online at 5:30 p.m.
How to Watch and Listen
Jay Bilas, Dan Shulman and Maria Taylor will be on the call for ESPN beginning at 8:00 p.m. If you’re stuck on the road and can’t watch, there are multiple ways to listen to The Voice of the Wildcats.
- AM: 840 WHAS, 630 WLAP
- FM: 98.1 WBUL
- Satellite: XM-190 and Sirius-119
- Online: iHeart Radio
ESPN College GameDay
Starting at 11:00 p.m., the ever-popular ESPN college basketball prediction show will get things rolling here at Memorial Coliseum to give you everything you need to know for Kentucky’s matchup with No. 1 Tennessee this evening.
The show doesn’t go live until 11, but that’s not stopping the Big Blue Nation from arriving early to make sure they get the best spots to show off their hilarious signs and represent Kentucky loud and proud with all of the college basketball world watching.
The doors open RIGHT NOW:
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 16, 2019
We’ll be back later with all of the sights and sounds from today’s festivities.
Today’s college basketball schedule
No. 26 Maryland at No. 6 Michigan – 12:00 p.m. (FOX)
No. 8 North Carolina at Wake Forest – 12:00 p.m. (ACC Network)
Clemson at No. 16 Louisville – 12:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Notre Dame at No. 4 Virginia – 2:00 p.m. (ACC Network)
Baylor at No. 15 Texas Tech – 2:00 p.m (ESPN)
No. 17 Florida State at Georgia Tech – 2:00 p.m. (ACC Network Extra)
Penn State at No. 12 Purdue – 4:00 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
West Virginia at No. 14 Kansas – 4:00 p.m. (ESPN)
No. 23 Iowa State at No. 18 Kansas State – 4:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 22 Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh – 4:30 p.m. (ACC Network)
NC State at No. 2 Duke – 6:00 p.m. (ESPN)
No. 19 LSU at Georgia – 6:00 p.m. (SEC Network)
No. 21 Iowa at Rutgers – 6:00 p.m. (FS1)
No. 1 Tennessee at No. 5 Kentucky – 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)
No. 3 Gonzaga at San Diego – 10:00 p.m. (ESPN)
No. 7 Nevada at Wyoming – 10:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
Let’s get this money.