NCAA Basketball Picks: Kentucky vs. Baylor

Jeff Grant

Friday, December 6, 2013 1:56 PM GMT

The Kentucky Wildcats will try to avenge last year’s home loss to the Baylor Bears, as the two teams meet up on a neutral floor Friday night.

Let’s take a closer look at the college basketball lines for this Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup at AT&T Stadium, with the opening tip scheduled for 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":251522, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Winning the close ones

Baylor is 7-1 SU to being the 2013-14 campaign, with its only loss coming to the Syracuse Orange in the championship game of the Maui Invitational.

The Bears have won all three of their games decided by five points or less, which is far different than their 2-8 mark in that situation a year ago.

Rolling

Kentucky has won five games in a row by an average of 21.2 points, which includes a 79-65 victory over the Providence Friars as 6.5-point neutral court favorites Sunday, while going UNDER the betting total of 145.

The Wildcats have been led by freshman guard Aaron Harrison offensively in averaging 16.2 points over that span, while fellow first-year player Julius Randle is leading the rebounding effort.

Randle is certainly the player to watch in this affair—a native of Dallas, TX.

Getting to the half

College basketball handicappers need to take a long look at the underdog in this spot, considering the Bears have nine players averaging 15-plus minutes of floor time, while the program has won 48 of its last 50 games when leading at the break.

Baylor has won multiple games versus ranked foes in each of the last six seasons, while it has gone 38-17 in non-conference games away from the Ferrell Center during the Scott Drew era.

Revenge

There’s no question that the Wildcats will be out to avenge last year’s 64-55 defeat to the Bears, which snapped the program’s 54-game homecourt winning streak—the first loss in Lexington for head coach John Calipari.

Kentucky is 14-4 SU and 7-10-1 ATS on a neutral floor the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 10-8 in that situation.

Also make sure to check out our:

NCAA  Basketball Pick: South Carolina vs. Oklahoma State

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Wildcats for their college basketball pick, as their ability to draw fouls and get to the free throw line will be the difference.

College Basketball Pick: Kentucky Wildcats -3.5