TV Schedule: Tuesday, Jan. 5, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Arena: Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, LA
After struggling earlier in the season, the Tigers got back their most talented veteran in Keith Hornsby who missed the beginning portion of the season with an injury, and they have looked like a completely different team ever since. LSU is coming off their best win of the season, as they traveled to Nashville and defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 90-82.
The Tigers’ defensive struggles have to be a concern, but with four players averaging double-digit scoring and two averaging over 17 points per game, LSU should be fairly confident they can outscore any team in the country.
That being said, LSU has yet to face a team as talented as Kentucky. The Wildcats have had some slip-ups, but their early season win against the Duke Blue Devils should have already proven to everyone that Kentucky is a legitimate national title contender. Jamal Murray continues to show that he is an elite scorer, and the rotation seems to be getting better as a whole.
As much as I want to call the upset, I think that Kentucky’s defense wins out in the end. Yes, I expect Simmons and Hornsby to both go for 20-plus, but I’m picking Kentucky to win in a high-scoring thriller.
Prediction: Kentucky 95, LSU 88