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Kentucky Makes First Trip To Morgantown Since 1970 To Take On West Virginia In Big 12/SEC Challenge

Folks, we’ve got ourselves a good one tonight.

West Virginia v Kentucky Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

OPENING THOUGHTS

Here it is. The one we’ve had circled on the calendar since it was announced in May.

West Virginia vs. Kentucky. Huggins vs. Calipari. The Hatfields vs. The McCoys. The Spirit of Da’Sean Butler and Joe Mazzulla vs. The Spirit of John Wall and Boogie Cousins (RIP).

If there was ever a more natural matchup between two college basketball programs, this is it.

Things didn’t exactly go our way the last time these two programs met. We were a young-ish Mountaineer team; Nate Adrian’s hair hadn’t even reached its full potential. They were a team stacked with NBA talent. I mean, they had Devin Booker coming off the bench.

This time is a little different. The Wildcats are having what seems to be a down year - by Kentucky standards, I guess - and the Mountaineers are pretty heavy favorites in this one.

Will Daxter Miles Jr. get his retribution? We’ll find out tonight.

WHEN/WHERE

Date: Saturday, January 27th

Tip-Off Time: 7:00 PM ET

Where: WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, “Almost Heaven” West Virginia

Tickets: SOLD OUT

WATCH/LISTEN

TV: ESPN

Streaming Video: WatchESPN (or the WatchESPN app for smartphones)

Radio: WZST Variety 101 (100.9 FM in Morgantown) and the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Radio Affiliates)

Streaming Audio: Locate the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG on TuneIn Radio (or the TuneIn app for smartphones)

Satellite Radio: SiriusXM 81

ODDS

Spread: West Virginia -8

O/U: 149

Bracketology

MEDIA SEED 1ST RD OPPONENT 2ND RD OPPONENT LOCATION REGION
MEDIA SEED 1ST RD OPPONENT 2ND RD OPPONENT LOCATION REGION
ESPN (Jan. 25) 3 Northeastern Louisville/Missouri Nashville, TN South
CBS (Jan. 26) 3 Vermont Ohio State/Notre Dame-Houston Nashville, TN South
SB Nation (Jan. 24) 2 Canisius Gonzaga/Texas A&M Detroit, MI West

THE ENEMY

Where are they from? Lexington, Kentucky

Series History: Kentucky leads the series 15-5

Last Time: No. 1 Kentucky 78, No. 18 West Virginia 39 on March 25, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio (NCAA Sweet 16)

SB Nation Blog: A Sea of Blue

Record: 15-5 (5-3 SEC)

Bracketology

MEDIA SEED 1ST RD OPPONENT 2ND RD OPPONENT LOCATION REGION
MEDIA SEED 1ST RD OPPONENT 2ND RD OPPONENT LOCATION REGION
ESPN (Jan. 25) 5 Kansas State/SMU Arizona/Belmont San Diego, CA West
CBS (Jan. 26) 6 Texas Michigan St./Wright St. Dallas, TX West
SB Nation (Jan. 24) 6 Kansas State/SMU Oklahoma/Northeastern Dallas, TX East

2016-2017 Record: 32-6 (16-2 SEC); Lost to North Carolina in Elite 8

Head Coach: John Calipari (9th Season)

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at South Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

KEYS TO THE GAME

  • Daxter Miles. This is a big game for Dax. Imagine being a true freshman, and telling one of the best college basketball teams EVER that you were going to be the team to ruin their perfect season. Now, imagine that team completely humiliating you, forcing you to hide in a bathroom stall to avoid the media after the game. Imagine how much you’d want to get retribution. This is Dax’s chance to shine.
  • Press Virginia. Kentucky comes into this game committing an average of 14 turnovers per game, and they’ve yet to face a defense like West Virginia’s. The Mountaineers need to force the Wildcats into as many errors as possible, and allow their defense to create offense.
  • Stop trying to be the Golden State Warriors! 27 attempts from beyond the arc is way too many for a team that averages 33.1%.

HOW AFRAID SHOULD WE BE (ON A SCALE OF 1-10)?

Seven. Kentucky is Kentucky. They have four guys that are projected to be Top 20 NBA draft picks this year. Never take Kentucky lightly, no matter how much of a “down year” they appear to be having.

PREDICTION THAT WILL BE WRONG

We’re going to see more of the West Virginia team we saw last Saturday against Texas than the team we saw on Monday vs. TCU. The guys are going to be well rested. The Coliseum is going to be ridiculously loud. The Mountaineers are going to pick up a huge win, and hopefully we do this again next year in Lexington.

West Virginia 76, Kentucky 70