There is a sense of doom hovering over Kentucky basketball. To close out the 2017 non-conference slate in a game between the Cardinals and Wildcats in Lexington’s Rupp Arena there were empty seats throughout the lower bowl of the venue. This just minutes before the opening tip. Most relevant is that this is the same arena that Kentucky basketball faithful haven’t been able to get tickets for the Midnight Madness extravaganza. Odds to Win 2018 College Basketball Championship (Feb 12).
The then 24th-ranked Wildcats under the direction of John Calipari deflated a dysfunctional Cardinals squad by nearly 30-points. The feeling at the time of the Kentucky vs Louisville basketball event didn’t have the same optimism of years past. The absence of Cards bench boss Rick Pitino played a role in the dull event. Pitino was fired by Louisville in September because of his alleged role in a $100,000 pay-for-play scheme involving Adidas.
Following an 85-74 road loss at Texas A&M on Saturday the Wildcats tumbling out of the AP Top-25 for the second time in as many months. The World’s Largest Race and Sportsbook have updated their 2017-18 National Championship odds. Preseason favorite Kentucky, which opened at 10-to-1, has fallen to 50-to-1. Louisville opened at 12-to-1 at the conclusion of last year’s championship game. The latest WestGate futures chart have the club at 80-to-1 to win the final college event of the 2017-18 season in April.
Both of the WestGate offerings for the two Kentucky schools winning the 2018 title are tainted, inflated and poor investments, as is.
The youngest team in college basketball will be a non-factor in this March. They are 6-6 in SEC play and are not only a long shot to win the “Dance” they won’t be the favorites to win their conference tournament.
The 2017-18 Daily RPI updates provided by ESPN.com have Kentucky ranked at 18th and Louisville at 40th.
Kentucky Wildcats’ RPI is .6155
Louisville Cardinals’ RPI is .5922
The mid-major Nevada Wolf Pack have a higher RPI than both of the aforementioned traditional college basketball powers.
Kentucky closes out their conference slate with games against No #10 Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Ole Miss and Florida. The ‘Cats are 6-6 in league play and will be fortunate to finish with a plus-.500 record in conference play.
The Wildcats are four games behind SEC leader Auburn. Kentucky is tied for sixth in the league along with Mississippi State, Arkansas and Texas A&M. Between them and the first-place Tigers of Auburn sit Tennessee, Florida, Missouri and Alabama.
The Kentucky youth are not only defensively challenged they are a mess on offensive. At this point in the season Calipri squads are typically trending in a positive direction. Recent losses, including to the Aggies on Saturday, have seen the Wildcats register several season lows. The Cats scored their lowest point production of the year in a 69-60 loss at Missouri.
Louisville will square off against #14 North Carolina, #12 Duke, Virginia Tech, #1 Virginia and finally NC State.
Louisville is currently 8-5 in ACC play and reside as the fifth best in the league behind Virginia, Clemson, Duke and North Carolina. And while they rest ahead of the likes of Miami-Florida, Virginia Tech, Syracuse and NC State there are few that believe the Cardinals won’t struggle with any matchup in the late March Round of 64.
College basketball pundits can easily argue that the Cards have better overall talent and the makeup to challenge for an ACC postseason title. But just last week the Orange entered the Yum Center and won. David Padgett’s team doesn’t play with much passion or fire and in crunch time have failed more than they have succeeded this season.
The latest updates from the Las Vegas SuperBook, WestGate, have Villanova and Michigan State at 4-to-1 Odds to Win the NCAA Title.
Odds to Win 2018 College Basketball Championship (Feb 12)