SEC Tournament Las Vegas Picks: LSU Tigers vs Kentucky Wildcats
Friday, March 09, 2012
by Mike Stewart
The Tigers barely put up a fight against the Wildcats the first time, as Kentucky rolled to a 74-50 win in Baton Rouge on Jan. 28.
Kentucky has dominated the SEC tournament, winning the event 27 times – 21 times more than second-place Alabama.
LSU Tigers (18-13): Inspired by the home crowd, LSU broke a three-game losing streak with a win over Arkansas in the tournament opener. Big Johnny OBryant III didn't start the game, but wound up with 18 points and 11 rebounds; he led LSU with 12 points and nine rebounds against Kentucky in January. The Tigers had five players in double figures against Arkansas and will need a similar effort if they hope to compete against Kentucky. LSU shot only 35.5 percent and made only 1 of 9 3-point attempts in that game. Center Justin Hamilton, who fouled out in the first meeting with the Wildcats, will need to make Kentucky's Anthony Davis work for his shots and keep the shot-blocking ace from finding his rhythm.
Kentucky Wildcats (30-1): With the SEC Player of the Year, two first-team and two second-team All-SEC selections, the Wildcats are the overwhelming favorite to win the conference tournament for a third straight season. Anthony Davis grew from a great defensive player to a great all-around player through the course of his freshman season; he averaged 14.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and set a conference record with 146 blocked shots en route to be named the conference's best player. Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds) joined Davis on the first team. Terrence Jones (12.3 points, 6.8 rebounds) and Doron Lamb (13.3 points) were second-team selections. Jones averages 22 points against LSU and Darius Miller has averaged 8.8 points in five games against the Tigers.
1. Kentucky is 14-2 against LSU in the conference tournament, including three wins in the title game.
2. LSU's Malcolm White was ejected from the first game between the teams because of a flagrant foul.
3. Kentucky is 74-1 under coach John Calipari when holding an opponent to 67 or fewer points.
NCAA BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Wildcats 78, Tigers 56.
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