Once upon a time, the Kentucky Wildcats were ranked 4th in the nation. That is hard for March Madness betting gamblers and fans to believe as the SEC Tournament occurs this week. Kentucky was picked to contend for the Final Four in the preseason. The Wildcats were one of the hottest tickets on the future market with the announcement that Oscar Tshiebwe would return for his senior season. Instead, it was another season of frustration for head coach John Calipari and the Wildcats. But a late-season run has gamblers and fans taking a second look at Kentucky.
2023 SEC Tournament Kentucky Wildcats
When: Friday, March 10, 2023, 8 p.m. ET
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
TV: SEC Network
CashBet Odds: +450
Kentucky Wildcats SEC Tournament CashBet Wagering Analysis
On the whole, it was a disappointing season for Kentucky. But the good top online sportsbook news is that Kentucky played its best basketball down the stretch. To show, Kentucky scored wins over the Tennessee Volunteers and Auburn Tigers. And whenever gamblers glance at the board, the Kentucky brand remains powerful.
First, The Kentucky Wildcats will face the Vanderbilt Commodores, Georgia Bulldogs, or LSU Tigers. On Thursday, Vanderbilt will face the winner of Wednesday’s game between Georgia and LSU. Tipoff time at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN, is at 8 p.m. ET with television coverage on SEC Network.
Which Kentucky Team Will the Gamblers Get?
The Kentucky Wildcats are 21-10 straight up, 15-15-1 against the spread, and 19-12 over/under the total. Overall, Kentucky has national rankings of 106th for scoring offense, 96th for field goal percentage, 88th for 3-point field goal percentage, 220th for free throw percentage, and 14th for offensive rebounding. While on defense, Kentucky has national rankings of 107th for scoring defense, 115th for field goal percentage permitted, 116th for 3-point field goal percentage allowed, and 12th for defensive rebounding.
Late on, Kentucky got the cash in five of its last six games. The Wildcats went under the 2023 March Madness Betting total in three of their final five outings. Oscar Tshiebwe leads Kentucky with 16.4 points and 13.1 rebounds.
Last Saturday, Antonio Reeves scored a career-high 37 points, and #23 Kentucky handed Arkansas its third straight bet on NCAA basketball loss with an 88-79 victory.
Namely, Oscar Tshiebwe had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Wildcats (21-10, 12-6 Southeastern Conference). Jacob Toppin scored 21 points. Kentucky shot 54% from the field in its fifth win in six games. Also, Kentucky held Arkansas to 36% shooting. The Wildcats will be the 3-seed for the SEC Tournament. Kentucky played without starting point guard Cason Wallace because of a leg injury. Calipari did not give a timetable for Wallace’s return.
Tshiebwe fouled out with 4:53 left. However, Arkansas could not take advantage of his absence. The Razorbacks missed three straight buckets before Reeves scored to lift Kentucky back to a 10-point lead with four minutes left. Nick Smith Jr. led Arkansas with 25 points on 10-of-23 shooting. Additionally, Ricky Council had 16 points, and Anthony Black finished with 14. The Razorbacks had 17 offensive rebounds but were outscored 17-9 in second-chance points.
Arkansas likely would have locked up a berth in the NCAA Tournament with a win over Kentucky. Instead, the SEC Tournament may determine the Razorbacks’ fate. Arkansas coach Eric Musselman lamented his team’s trouble with finishing inside and praised Reeves. Accordingly, the senior guard was 12 for 17 from the field and 11 for 11 at the free-throw line.
Correlate that Kentucky’s late-season push likely secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament. A strong showing in the conference tournament could help with its seeding. The Wildcats will receive a bye to the SEC Tournament quarterfinals on Friday. By contrast, the Razorbacks play Thursday in the second round of the conference tournament.
John Calipari has lowered the temperature of Big Blue nation. At least for the moment. Now comes the opportunity for Kentucky to make this a special 2023 March Madness Betting season.
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