Since Dec. 12, the LSU Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats both have gone 12-1 straight up heading into Tuesday night’s matchup (ESPN, 7 p.m.).
Kentucky’s last loss against the spread was Jan. 12 and LSU is 8-2-1 ATS in the 2019 calendar year.
Both teams have deep forward rotations, which has Kentucky third among NCAA Division I teams in rebound rate and LSU 23rd. Despite all that size and rebound ability, the Wildcats are 30th in fewest fouls per opponent field-goal attempt, a category in which LSU is 210th.
LSU makes up for a bit less size with the second-best steal rate on opponents’ possessions in the country. Tremont Waters is third in the country among all Division I players in steals per game and teammate Skylar Mats is 42nd with the two combining for nearly 5.1 steals per game.
The counter for Kentucky is Ashton Hagans, who is 32nd in that respect with 2.1 steals per game. During this 12-1 run Kentucky, he is getting three steals per game.
While his uptick in minutes and heady play has gotten Kentucky ranked in the top five again, he cannot take over a game like Waters can.
In LSU’s 12-1 run, Waters is making 38.2 percent of the 5.8 3s per game he is attempting to go with averages of 19.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 3.1 steals per game. He also cut his turnovers per game down from 4.4 in the first 10 games to 3.3 in this stretch.
He is doing this in spite of LSU playing offense at the 13th fastest pace with regard to possessions per game in the country over its last three contests. In that time, Kentucky ranks 280th in possessions per game, which will lead to a clash of tempos.
With Kentucky being 21st in the country in offensive efficiency and LSU 22nd, these teams have lots of similarities. Though Kentucky is a hard team to match up with at Rupp Arena, it’s a spot where the Tigers are getting too many points to pass up.
THE PLAY: LSU, +9
Greg Peterson handicaps college basketball in VSiN’s Point Spread Weekly. Sign up for a one-week free trial at VSiN.com/free.