SEC/Big East Challenge
Published on Nov. 29, 2012, at 12:05 p.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
**Kentucky at Notre Dame**
–Most books are listing Notre Dame (6-1 straight up, 2-3 against the spread) as a two-point ‘chalk’ with the total in the 133-134 range. Bettors can take John Calipari’s team on the money line for a plus-110 payout (risk $100 to win $110).
–Mike Brey’s squad has won four in a row since suffering its lone loss of the season, a 79-70 overtime defeat to St. Joseph’s as a four-point home favorite. Jack Cooley finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds in the losing effort.
–Kentucky (4-1 SU, 0-3 ATS) has a quality win over Maryland and its loss came to Duke in a 75-68 decision at the Ga. Dome in Atlanta. Alex Poythress scored 20 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the loss to the Blue Devils.
–Cooley, a senior forward, is averaging a double-double with 14.3 points per game and 11.3 rebounds per game. Jerian Grant is the Irish’s second-leading scorer with a 13.0 PPG average.
–Archie Goodwin, UK’s freshman guard from Little Rock, Ark., is leading the Wildcats in scoring with 19.0 PPG average. Poythress is averaging 18.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, while freshman center Nerlens Noel is averaging 12.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Noel also has 18 blocked shots in five games.
–The ‘over’ has cashed in both of UK’s games with a total. The ‘over’ is 2-1 for the Irish.
–Dating back to 2001, Kentucky has won five of the last six head-to-head meetings with Notre Dame both SU and ATS. In the last encounter two years ago, UK collected a 72-58 win as a five-point home favorite.
–Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.
**Marquette at Florida**
–As of late this morning, most books were listing Florida (5-0 straight up, 2-1 against the spread) as an 11-point favorite with a total of 137. Gamblers can take the Golden Eagles to win outright for a lucrative plus-550 return (risk $100 to win $550).
–Billy Donovan’s team sent Marquette out of the 2012 NCAA Tournament with a 68-58 win at the West Region semifinals in Phoenix. The Gators took the cash as one-point underdogs. Bradley Beal, who turned pro early and was taken with the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards, paced UF with a game-high 21 points. Kenny Boynton scored 11 points and dished out five assists, while Erik Murphy finished with seven points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
–Marquette (5-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) has won three in a row since losing to Butler at the buzzer in its first-round game at The Maui Classic. Buzz Williams’s squad bounced back from the loss to the Bulldogs by beating Mississippi St. (89-62) and Southern Cal (72-64). Then when the Golden Eagles got back home, they trounced Maryland-Baltimore 79-46 in a non-lined affair. Jamil Wilson led the way with 15 points and six rebounds.
–UF is coming off Friday’s 79-66 home win over Central Florida. Although the Gators were ahead of the number for most of the game, they disappointed their backers as 16-point home favorites. Boynton was the catalyst with 24 points and eight rebounds. Scottie Wilbekin, who missed the first three games due to a suspension, added 17 points, eight assists, five rebounds and three steals. Boynton and Wilbekin both made 4-of-9 attempts from 3-point land.
–Florida junior forward Casey Prather made his season debut against UCF after missing the first four games due to a concussion. Prather picked up where he left off last season when he emerged as a key contributor in both the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. Prather logged 13 minutes, making all three shots from the field and both free-throw attempts en route to an eight-point effort.
–Marquette is led by junior forward Davante Gardner, who is averaging a team-high 14.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Vander Blue is averaging 11.4 PPG.
–Boynton is scoring at a 16.2 PPG clip to lead the Gators.
–The ‘over’ is 4-0 for Marquette, 1-0 for UF.
–ESPN2 will provide television coverage at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
–UCLA junior center Joshua Smith has left the program. Smith, a solid post player who averaged 9.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last year, has struggled with weight problems throughout his collegiate career.
–Stanford junior forward Anthony Brown is out for the season with a hip injury that will require surgery. Brown averaged 8.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season.
–After enjoying a stellar campaign on the gridiron, South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington is back with the basketball team until the Gamecocks resume football practice in December.