Kentucky vs. Miami (FL): Preview, Odds, How to Watch

On3 imageby:Jack Pilgrim11/28/23

Kentucky‘s next big test is here, as the Wildcats are set to take on the No. 8 Miami (FL) Hurricanes inside Rupp Arena on Tuesday, opening tip scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. It’s part of the ACC/SEC Challenge, a two-day event featuring 14 total matchups — eight teams ranked, including two head-to-head ranked battles.

The Cats finished strong in an overtime victory vs. Saint Joseph’s, then followed it up with a historic offensive performance vs. Marshall. How will they fare against their second big-name foe of the season? Let’s break down the matchup.

How To Watch

No. 12 Kentucky (5-1) vs. No. 8 Miami (FL) (5-0)
7:30 p.m. ET | Tuesday, November 28 | Rupp Arena


Team Records

No. 12 Kentucky: 5-1 (KenPom: 17)

  • 11/6: 86-46 W vs. New Mexico State
  • 11/10: 81-61 W vs. Texas A&M-Commerce (Wildcat Challenge)
  • 11/14: 89-84 L vs. Kansas
  • 11/17: 101-67 W vs. Stonehill (Wildcat Challenge)
  • 11/20: 96-88 OT W vs. Saint Joseph’s (Wildcat Challenge)
  • 11/24: 118-82 W vs. Marshall

No. 8 Miami (FL): 5-0 (KenPom: 37)

  • 11/6: 101-60 W vs. NJIT
  • 11/10: 88-72 W vs. UCF
  • 11/13: 86-80 W vs. FIU
  • 11/17: 79-68 W vs. Georgia
  • 11/19: 91-83 W vs. Kansas State

Series History

The Wildcats have taken on the Hurricanes just four total times in history, zero matchups coming during John Calipari’s time in Lexington. Kentucky is 3-1 in the series dating back to 1956, bringing home wins on Dec. 3, 1956, Dec. 5, 1998 and Jan. 29, 2000. The program’s lone loss to Miami came on Dec. 6, 2008.

Miami (FL) is coached by Jim Larrañaga, a two-time ACC Coach of the Year and former consensus national coach of the year. The 74-year-old has racked up 730 career wins across stints at Miami, George Mason, Bowling Green and American International. He is coming off back-to-back trips to the Elite Eight and Final Four, respectively.


Kentucky vs. Miami (FL) Odds on FanDuel

Spread: Kentucky -4.5
Total: 164.5 points

Kentucky Projected Starters

(Starting lineup based on the last game)

#21 – DJ Wagner
6-4 • 192 • GUARD • FRESHMAN
14.5 PPG, 3.7 APG

#12 – Antonio Reeves
6-6 • 195 • GUARD • SENIOR
19.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG

#3 – Adou Thiero
6-8 • 222 • GUARD • SOPHOMORE
8.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG

#1 – Justin Edwards
6-8 • 203 • FORWARD • FRESHMAN
10.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG

#4 – Tre Mitchell
6-9 • 231 • FORWARD • GRADUATE STUDENT
15.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.5 APG

Head Coach: John Calipari (32nd season, 15th at UK) – 837-254 overall, 392-114 at UK


Miami (FL) Projected Starters

(Starting lineup based on the last game)

Wooga Poplar

#5 – Wooga Poplar
6-5 • 197 • GUARD • JUNIOR
18.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.6 APG

Matthew Cleveland

#0 – Matthew Cleveland
6-7 • 208 • GUARD • JUNIOR
16.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.4 APG

Nijel Pack

#24 – Nijel Pack
6-0 • 185 • GUARD • JUNIOR
16.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.0 APG

Norchad Omier

#15 – Norchad Omier
6-7 • 240 • FORWARD • JUNIOR
15.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.0 APG

Bensley Joseph

#4 – Bensley Joseph
6-2 • 196 • GUARD • SOPHOMORE
11.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 4.2 APG

Head Coach: Jim Larrañaga (13th season at Miami (FL), 40th overall): 730-483


Statistical Comparison

(via Kentucky’s game notes)

Fun stats from UK’s game notes:

  • UK’s average possession length is 14.9 seconds, which ranks among the top 20 fastest in the nation. Kentucky is also scoring an average of 19.3 fast-break points. That mark leads the league and ranks 14th in the country.
  • UK has made 12 or more 3-pointers in four straight for the first time since December of 1989
  • Kentucky is averaging just 8.2 turn- overs per game. That average is the second-lowest in the country. Its 10.8 turnover percentage is the best in the country per KenPom.com

Pregame Storylines

AARON BRADSHAW WILL NOT MAKE HIS DEBUT

Kentucky’s prized 7-foot freshman is close, but not close enough. Bradshaw confirmed he was a week away from making his debut for the Wildcats, missing the home matchup vs. Miami. Fortunately, the Hurricanes don’t have anyone taller than 6-8 in the core rotation with just two players standing 6-9 and 6-10, respectively, down the bench. 6-7, 240-pound forward Norchad Omier is a handful, but like Kentucky, this is a perimeter-heavy Miami team.

FAMILIAR FACES FOR KENTUCKY

Kentucky loosely courted Wooga Poplar out of high school, a four-star recruit at the time. The same can be said for Matthew Cleveland, who claimed the Wildcats pushed for him late before he ultimately signed with Florida State. UK was then one of many schools to reach out after he hit the portal following his sophomore season before he chose Miami. Norchad Omier was also a serious frontcourt option for Kentucky as the school awaited Oscar Tshiebwe’s stay-or-go decision following his National Player of the Year run in 2022. When the superstar center opted to return to Lexington, Omier — an Arkansas State transfer — cut the Wildcats from his list and ultimately went with the Hurricanes.

TWO HIGH-OCTANE OFFENSES

Kentucky enters the matchup ranked No. 6 overall in offensive efficiency, No. 9 in effective field-goal percentage and No. 4 in 3-point percentage. Miami sits at No. 11 in offensive efficiency, No. 4 in effective field-goal percentage and No. 1 in 3-point percentage. Five Hurricanes average double-figure scoring while the Wildcats have six players hitting that mark. You won’t find a better offensive non-conference battle, two high-volume and high-efficiency juggernauts throwing haymakers back and forth on the big stage.


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Rapid Reaction on the KSR YouTube Channel

Miss the game or don’t want to deal with the ESPN app? KSR’s got you covered. Drew Franklin, Jack Pilgrim and Zack Geoghegan will be at Rupp Arena to share their Rapid Reactions on the KSR YouTube Channel. We’ll also have wall-to-wall postgame coverage on the website, including highlights, comments from John Calipari and the players, stats, and takeaways.

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2024-03-02