Robert Morris Colonials vs. Kentuck Wildcats

Joe Freda

Sunday, November 17, 2013 1:46 PM GMT

Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013 1:46 PM GMT

John Calipari’s crew drops in class for Sunday’s matchup with the Robert Morris Colonials. Can the Kentucky Wildcats cover the heavy betting odds?

The Kentucky Wildcats fell short in Tuesday’s 78-74 defeat to the Michigan State Spartans, while ‘pushing’ at NCAAB betting windows as four-point underdogs. 

Wildcats edged in Chicago

Kentucky went a sparse 20-for-36 at the foul line against Michigan State, falling behind at halftime, 44-32. The neutral-site affair at Chicago’s United Center saw Wildcats forward Julius Randle notch his third straight double-double, finishing with 27 points and 13 boards. 

Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress combined for five blocks, while the duo’s mate Andrew Harrison logged three of his side’s eight assists. Wildcats guard James Young hit 7-of-16 floor shots en route to 19 points, with Kentucky out-rebounding the Spartans, 44-28. 

The duel’s combined 152 points leaped OVER the NCABB odds ‘total’ of 147, despite the Wildcats held to a 4-for-20 mark from three-point land. Randle logged four personal fouls and eight turnovers, while Young recorded his squad’s only steal.

Colonials end winning streak

Robert Morris picked up its season’s first loss in Thursday’s 69-64 setback to the Eastern Michigan Eagles. The Colonials came away shooting a meager 37.5 percent from the field, while sinking 9-of-14 free throws.

Colonials guard Lucky Jones notched a team-high 18 points, while fouling out in 25 minutes of action. The junior united with mate Anthony Myers-Pate for two steals each, with Myers-Pate adding a sizable eight assists.

Jones and Co. allowed a tight 1-for-10 clip beyond the arc from EMU’s roster, while being edged in boards by the Eagles, 41-32. Robert Morris’ Mike McFadden and Karvel Anderson combined for 24 points, both reaching double figures for a third straight outing.

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Back the Wildcats as big ‘chalk’

Betoline opened Kentucky as a 20 ½-point home favorite, with initial wagers on the ‘chalk’ lifting the digits a ‘hook’ to 21. The Wildcats continue their ‘cupcake’ contests with visits over the next week from Texas-Arlington and Cleveland State.

I am laying the big number with Kentucky here, agreeing with the early ‘steam’ as part of Sunday’s NCAAB picks.

Kentucky should show some intensity after Tuesday’s defeat, while finding itself in a unique revenge spot against the Colonials. Last season ended with a sour finish for the Wildcats, logging a 59-57 defeat to Robert Morris in the NIT.

Randle and Poythress have begun the year as two of the Southeastern Conference’s top five rebounders, leading their rivals with 14 and 10.7 RPG, respectively. Randle also ranks among the top trio for scoring (24 PPG), while Willie Cauley-Stein has recorded a sizable six blocks.

Robert Morris has had its share of notable numbers, but should struggle to hold serve in Rupp Arena. The Colonials went 0-2 ATS in last season’s pair of spots as underdogs away from home, putting up just 64 PPG.

Kentucky has allowed a stingy mark of 35.5 percent field shooting on its floor, while notching a 5-1 spread mark in last year’s six spots as a 20-point favorite or more. Look for the Wildcats to run it up again here, rebuilding momentum en route to a cashed ticket.

Free Pick: Kentucky Wildcats -21 at Bet365
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