NCAA Basketball Picks: Eastern Michigan vs. Kentucky

Joe Freda

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 1:15 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 1:15 PM UTC

The Kentucky Wildcats staged a late rally in Monday’s 68-61 victory over the Cleveland State Vikings, erasing a 10-point deficit as part of a 24-7 run. Wednesday’s NCAAB betting action has John Calipari’s squad hosting the Keightly Classic finale against the Eastern Michigan Eagles.

Wildcats, Randle surge by Vikings 

Kentucky Wildcats forward Julius Randle sank 9-of-11 free throws against Cleveland State, finishing with 15 points in 38 minutes of action. Kentucky was held to a 35.8 percent night of field shooting on its floor, including a meager 3-for-14 mark beyond the arc. 

Randle’s mates Aaron Harrison and Willie Cauley-Stein came away with 11 points each, while Cauley-Stein added four of his side’s seven blocks. Wildcats sophomore Alex Poythress grabbed seven boards off the bench, with Kentucky outrebounding the Vikings, 36-29. 

The close contest’s 129 points dipped beneath the ‘total’ of 157 ½, moving the UNDER to 2-1 in the Wildcats’ last three matchups. Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison fouled out with 12 points, notching a team-high five assists. 

Eagles, Lee edge Texas-Arlington 

Eastern Michigan stayed unbeaten with Saturday’s 74-69 victory against the Texas-Arlington Mavericks, while falling short of cashing as an 8 ½-point home favorite. Eagles guard Ray Lee piled in 38 points, with 15 coming from a 5-for-5 night in three-point buckets.

Eastern Michigan’s DaShonte Riley and Lekan Ajayi united for 12 boards, while Riley came away with four blocks. The Eagles were edged in the duel’s rebounding battle, 30-25, with 47.7 percent field shooting given up to Texas-Arlington’s crew.

Lee combined with mate Darell Combs to sink 17-of-22 free throws, with the duel’s 160 points leaping past the ‘total’ of 143. Combs logged three assists, while adding one of his team’s four steals. 


Back the Wildcats as home ‘chalk’ 

NCAA Basketball odds first opened Kentucky as an 18 ½-point home favorite, with early wagers on the Wildcats driving the number north to 19 at most sportsbooks. Kentucky next sees action in Sunday’s trip to Brooklyn against the Providence Friars, while Eastern Michigan is idle until Tuesday’s home date with the UMass Minutemen. 

I am backing Kentucky as part of Wednesday’s NCAA Basketball picks, laying the points in Lexington. 

The Wildcats should come into this affair sharper after Monday’s scare, while their foes have continued to struggle at Rupp Arena with just 61.2 PPG. Kentucky has cashed at 2-1-1 ATS in its four ‘board’ contests, while logging a 7-2-1 spread record in the team’s last 10 non-conference duels. 

Eastern Michigan logged a 1-4 ATS mark in last season’s first five matchups as a double-digit underdog, held to a dismal 47 PPG through that stretch. The Eagles have a 2-8 spread mark in their last 10 road spots that came after three straight home dates, with another overvalued spot looming here.

Julius Randle leads the Southeastern Conference in rebounding (13.7 PPG), while Willie Cauley-Stein ranks second in blocks (2.5 BPG). Look for this duo and their mates to smother the Eagles here, with the Wildcats holding serve after jumping out to a sizable lead. 

NCAA Basketball Pick:  Kentucky Wildcats -19 at Heritage Sports
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