College Basketball 1/31/09: Mitch Picks South Carolina at Kentucky

Mitch WilsonSenior Writer IJanuary 31, 2009

South Carolina (15-4) at Kentucky (16-5)

The Line: Kentucky -9 1/2

January 31, 2009 3PM EST

Two giants in the SEC meet at Rupp Arena in Lexington as the South Carolina Gamecocks are in town to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. While it's still fairly early in conference play, this game could go a long way in conference tournament seeding and may ultimately play a role in NCAA tournament seeding.

While neither of these teams are ranked in the top 25, these teams may be the best outside of the top 25—making this a marquee matchup. Statistically, this looks like an even game as South Carolina is 57 in RPI and KU is at 58.

Both teams are battle-tested with two wins against teams in the top 25. The X factor in this one looks to be that South Carolina has been as effective on the road as they are just 2-3 overall and winless on the road in SEC play. The Wildcats are undefeated at home when playing within the SEC.

South Carolina is 6-7-1 against the spread overall so far this year, while Kentucky is 10-5 against the number. South Carolina is 5-2-1 against the spread in their last eight SEC games. Kentucky is 9-3 against the spread in their last 12 games overall and 5-2 against the spread in their last seven home games.

South Carolina has covered on four of its last five trips to Lexington. The underdog in this series has covered in seven of the last nine meetings and the road team has covered in six of the last seven. While I think Kentucky rebounds from their loss last time out, I think this is just too many points.

Mitch's Pick: South Carolina + 9 1/2


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