College Basketball Preview: LSU Takes On Kentucky

Posted on February 22, 2022 - Last Updated on February 23, 2022

LSU wants to get right. Kentucky wants some payback.

LSU travels to famed Rupp Arena to take on the Wildcats Wednesday night in an SEC basketball showdown. Tip-off is 8 p.m. Louisiana time on ESPN.

The Tigers won a crazy 65-60 battle in Baton Rouge against Kentucky earlier this season but have struggled since. LSU was 15-1 at one point this season but is now 19-8 and in a five-team group at 7-7 in the SEC.

The return of guard Xavier Pinson has helped, but LSU is coming off a bad loss to South Carolina where they lost a late lead.

Kentucky is ranked No. 6 in the latest AP poll and LSU got 13 votes. The Wildcats are 22-5 and in second place in the SEC just one game back of Auburn.

They are led by forward Oscar Tshiebwe who averages 16.4 points and 15.2 rebounds a game. Kentucky leads the all-time series 91-28.

What do the oddsmakers say?

Kentucky is favored by seven points at both the Caesars and DraftKings sportsbook. Caesars lists the over/under line at 142.5, while DraftKings has it at 144.

FanDuel has odds out on who will win the SEC basketball regular-season title. Auburn is the favorite at -750, with Kentucky next at +650, followed by Tennessee (+1900) and Arkansas (+1200).

Gonzaga is the top betting choice to reach the Final Four at -110. Kentucky is second on the list at +160. LSU is also on the board at +1600 to reach Final Four.

Tshiebwe is the current favorite to win the John Wooden Award as the best player in college basketball at +165.

Online sports betting is a reality in most places in Louisiana. Head over to these online Louisiana sportsbooks offering major promotions to bet on the Tigers or other college basketball futures.

  • Caesars LA
  • BetMGM LA
  • FanDuel LA
  • DraftKings LA

Numbers to know

Kentucky is 13-14 against the spread this season. The Wildcats average 80.9 points a game.

LSU is 16-11 against the spread. Tigers forward Tari Eason leads the team with 16.9 points a game, while Darius Days averages 13.3 points and 7.8 rebounds.

LSU averages 73.1 a game.

The last 10

Kentucky has been the sportsbook favorite in seven of their last 10 games. They have not been a good bet to cover.

In their last 10, the Wildcats have not covered the spread seven times. They have split the last 10 games on the over/under line.

Despite their struggles lately, LSU has been favored in each of its last eight games. In those eight, they have only covered twice.

LSU has failed to cover the spread in eight of their last 10 games. They have hit the over in seven of their last 10.

The last meeting

LSU and Kentucky have played some wild games, the team’s meeting in Baton Rouge in January saw a dramatic momentum swing. Kentucky led by 9 with 13:36 to play, but LSU roared back to take a 61-52 lead with 2:34 left.

The final 26 seconds were frantic. LSU held on to a one-point lead.

Kentucky stole the ball, then LSU stole it right back leading to an Eason dunk. Kentucky hustled down the floor only for Pinson to poke it away and he hit a reverse jam with six seconds left.

The final was 65-60 LSU. The Tigers were favored by two.

Five greatest LSU V. Kentucky basketball games

1986 NCAA Southeast Regional Final

LSU 59, Kentucky 57: Kentucky had beaten LSU three times in the season, but the 11th seeded Tigers got revenge at the Omni in Atlanta thanks to The Freak defense and courage.

Ricky Blanton hit a lay-up with 15 seconds left then did a funky dance running down the floor to send LSU to the Final Four. LSU was the first 11 seed to ever reach the Final Four.

2019 What goaltending?

LSU 73, Kentucky 71: The Tigers probably got away with goaltending on the tip-in by Kavell Bigby-Williams at the buzzer, but it counted for a Tigers win.


LSU 95, Kentucky 94: The game that put LSU basketball on the map. All five LSU starters fouled out, but the Tigers prevailed over No. 1 Kentucky in overtime.


Kentucky 121, LSU 105: It was Pete Maravich’s last home basketball game and he scored 64 points at the Ag Center on national TV, but the Wildcats were too strong. LSU would play in the NIT in New York City and finish 22-10.

1994 Mardi Gras massacre

LSU fans call it the Mardi Gras Massacre. LSU led the Wildcats 68-37 with 15:34 left only to blow the lead. It is the third-largest comeback in college basketball history.

I was there. I don’t want to talk about it.

The play: advice on what to bet

LSU is walking into a lion’s den. Their confidence has been shaken in the last three weeks and they just haven’t shot the ball well.

Kentucky has everything to play for. They want revenge on LSU for the loss last month, they’re still in the hunt for the SEC title.

I see Kentucky winning comfortably. I’m leaning toward taking Kentucky and the points with the over.

Photo by Derick Hingle / Associated Press
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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He's won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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