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No. 14 Kentucky seeks payback Tuesday vs. Texas A&M
By: Robert Livingston - StatFox
Published: 1/21/2014  at  6:38:00 AM
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Rupp Arena - Lexington, KY
Tip-off: Tuesday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Kentucky -14, Total: 134

Double-digit underdog Texas A&M heads to No. 14 Kentucky on Tuesday, when they hope to pull off a huge upset for the second consecutive season.

The Aggies entered Rupp Arena as 15-point underdogs last season and rolled to an 83-71 victory, outshooting the Wildcats 53% FG to 43% FG. They then lost a narrow 72-68 overtime decision at home three weeks later, covering an eight-point spread. This season, Texas A&M is 12-5 SU (6-5 ATS) with a 1-1 ATS mark on the road after losing 81-72 in overtime at Mississippi State on Saturday. At 13-4 SU (6-9 ATS), the Wildcats have gone 11-0 SU (5-4 ATS) at home where they outscore opponents by 20.0 PPG. In John Calipariís tenure as head coach at Kentucky, the Aggies are the only SEC team to have won at Rupp Arena in 35 games. Calipariís squad is coming off a 74-66 win against Tennessee, but it marked the Wildcats' third straight ATS defeat. In that win against the Volunteers, they overcame a minus-15 rebounding margin, snapping a streak of seven consecutive games in which they outrebounded their opponents. With 43.1 RPG, Kentucky ranks sixth in the nation. The Aggies average only 35.6 RPG (173rd in Div. I) and have been outrebounded in three straight contests. Although the Wildcats are just 3-14 ATS when playing a good team (60% to 80% win pct.) in the past two seasons, Texas A&M is 0-7 ATS on the road when playing only its third game in a week over the past three seasons.

Can Kentucky avenge last season's loss to Texas A&M and cover the huge spread? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a 59% ATS (160-110-5) mark, including a stellar 63% ATS (128-76) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 61% ATS (33-21-1) in Best Bets for the season and 65% ATS (26-14) since Nov. 26. StatFox Zach is a strong 59% ATS (32-22-1) on Best Bets this season, including 63% ATS (26-15) since Nov. 22, while StatFox Dave is also 59% ATS (32-22-1) for the season and 68% ATS (15-7) since Dec. 18. StatFox Gary is 58% ATS (31-22-2) for the season, and 66% ATS (23-12) since Dec. 3, while StatFox Scott is 58% ATS (32-23) for the season and 61% ATS (22-14) since Dec. 2.

The Aggies run at a much slower pace than Kentucky, averaging only 69.3 PPG (251st in Div. I), but they hold opponents to 61.5 PPG (21st in nation) on 39.2% shooting. They have only one double-digit scorer in SF Jamal Jones (12.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG), who can be difficult to guard with his 6-foot-8 frame. He knocks down 39% of his threes this season, and has been especially hot lately with 23.0 PPG in the teamís past three contests, making 10-of-20 threes in that span. PF Kourtney Robinson (9.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG) leads the team in rebounding, though he has struggled to score lately, failing to break double-digit points in the teamís past seven games (4.9 PPG on 13-of-33 FG). He chipped in 10 points (5-for-9 FG) and nine rebounds in last yearís victory against the Wildcats, but finished with just six points and five boards in a foul-plagued home loss to Kentucky. Sophomore PG Alex Caruso (9.1 PPG, 5.2 APG, 3.5 RPG) runs the offense and is also a nasty defender, pacing the team with 2.2 SPG. Freshman SF Davonte Fitzgerald (7.7 PPG) and junior SG Jordan Green (7.5 PPG) are also regular contributors to the offense that runs a deep rotation of nine players.

Despite averaging only 12.4 APG (216th in Div. I), Kentucky puts up 80.4 PPG (31st in nation), hitting 47.4% of its field goal attempts (56th in Div. I), but draining threes at a poor 31.3% clip. The Wildcats live off second-chance opportunities, pulling down 13.9 offensive RPG, third most in the nation. Freshman PF Julius Randle (16.9 PPG, 10.5 RPG) leads that effort, making 54% FG, but also turning it over 3.3 times per game. Defensively, Randle is paired down low with 7-foot C Willie Cauley-Stein (8.4 PPG, 7.4 RPG), who averages a whopping 3.4 BPG. He has scored just two points total in the teamís past two games, however. The teamís other three double-digit scorers are also first-year players in SGs James Young (14.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG) and Aaron Harrison (14.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG), and PG Andrew Harrison (11.5 PPG, 3.5 APG). Andrew Harrison is coming off the best game of his career on Saturday, scoring 26 points on 7-of-13 shooting, making all 10 of his free throw attempts and committing zero turnovers in 33 minutes.

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