The No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats will be back home in Lexington, Ky. to take on the Illinois State Redbirds in Rupp Arena. Below is the Kentucky vs. Illinois State prediction and game preview.
Kentucky vs. Illinois State Game Preview
Date: Monday, Nov. 30
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
Venue: Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
Why You Need To Care
Kentucky has taken claim of the No. 1 ranking in the country, and it doesn’t look like it’s ready to give it up anytime soon.
The Wildcats are 6-0 and have been running roughshod through all of their opponents. Even when put up against defending national champion Duke, John Calipari’s team still came out on top with a 74-63 win.
Coming off of an 84-63 win against South Florida, Kentucky will host the Illinois State Redbirds in what appears to be a lopsided contest.
Illinois State is 3-4 on the season and just took down Quincy, 73-63, on Friday. That win followed back-to-back losses to Maryland and Texas Christian.
Why Kentucky Will Win
Is there anything that Kentucky can’t do? It’s shooting 49.9 percent from the field and scoring 80.5 points per game, while holding the opposition to just 62.2 points per game. Well, just to nitpick, the Wildcats do need to shoot better from the perimeter. They’re only knocking down 29.1 percent from the outside, so they’ll need to become way more efficient. Maybe this game can help get them into a three-point rhythm.
Why Illinois State Will Win
Unless they plan on stealing the Wildcats’ basketball powers, it’s hard to imagine the Redbirds getting out of Rupp Arena with a win. If anything, they’ll have to turn the Wildcats into a jump shooting team. The Redbirds allow 69.6 points per game on 42.4 percent shooting. They’re only hope is for Kentucky to miss shots.
Players Who Matter
Jamal Murray has been as good as advertised. The freshman guard is leading Kentucky with 14.8 points per game on 43.2 percent shooting. He and Skal Labissiere have been leading the way offensively. The freshman big man for Calipari is averaging 14.7 points per game, but he’s also only hauling in 4.7 rebounds per game. He’ll need to improve his rebounding.
Illinois State is going to rely on senior DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell and junior Paris Lee. Both guards are averaging double-digit points, combining for 27.9 points per game. They’re both shooting better than 40 percent from the field, but Akoon-Purcell has to cut down on the turnovers (3.1 per game).
What’s Going To Happen?
Kentucky is too big, too quick and too talented. It’ll run up and down the floor with ease. The Wildcats won’t shoot the lights out, but they’ll be bullies on the block and control the glass. Murray will score the basketball like he’s been doing, but he’ll also create for others. And Labissiere will be too much for Illinois State to handle down low.
Kentucky vs. Illinois State Prediction
Robert Judin: Kentucky 89, Illinois State 70
Line: Kentucky -20, o/u: 141