It is not often that a top 25 college basketball team plays a non-conference game in February, but the Kentucky Wildcats will be doing just that on Saturday when they host the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Kentucky Wildcats (-3.5, 167.5)
While the Wildcats enter having had some offensive inconsistencies with two games scoring 63 points or fewer towards the end of January, the team has returned to form with at least 91 points in three straight games.
Overall this season, the Wildcats are sixth in the country in points scored on a per possession basis while maximizing every possession, having the third-lowest turnover percentage on offensive possessions in the country.
The Gonzaga defense enters Saturday 27th in the country in points allowed on a per possession basis, there needs to be a question as to how much of a byproduct it is of the conference they play in.
Entering conference play on January 1, Gonzaga was 78th in the nation in points allowed per possession and have been allowing nearly 2.3 points per 100 possessions fewer in West Coast Conference play than they did out of conference, though the bigger difference has been on offense.
In their 10 conference games, Gonzaga is averaging 10.8 points more per 100 possessions than they did in non-conference play, entering January 1 at 56th nationally in points scored on a per possession basis and are now 12th.
Against Division I teams, Kentucky has the country’s second-best 3-point shooting percentage at 41.1% and the way to beat them is by going shot for shot with them.
Kentucky is allowing 36.4% of points they allow at home to come from made 3’s, which is the 46th-highest percentage of points in the nation and with Gonzaga 224th in the country in road 3-point shooting percentage at 31.9%, Kentucky will win a rare February non-conference game.
The Play: Kentucky -3.5