The University of Hartford is located in West Hartford, Connecticut. They are members of the America East Conference. UHart was picked by most publications to finish dead last in their conference. The Hawks were 1-16 on the road last year and have yet to win a road game this year. UHart doesn’t stand a chance tonight in Rupp Arena. They will be wishing they still had the services of retired NBA veteran Vin Baker. Even with him, they would have no shot.
Hartford enters the contest with a seven-game losing skid and a woeful 2-9 record. The team has been idle since December 11th, so it is hard to expect the Hawks to be sharp this evening. They fell to Sacred Heart last time out by a 76-65 final, and Kentucky represents a major leap in competition level.
Speaking of our Wildcats, they are a perfect 13-0 thus far, the program’s best start since winning the first 14 games of the 1977-78 season that was capped off with a national title. The Wildcats defeated the Long Beach State Dirtbags last Wednesday by an 86-73 final, and while most of the wins thus far have come against lesser competition, W’s over UConn and North Carolina bring legitimacy to the undefeated record. Kentucky has yet to play an SEC game but is clearly the favorite to win the conference.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Kentucky and Hartford on the hardwood.
Hartford is scoring 65.0 ppg on 42.8 percent shooting from the field, so there is room for improvement at the offensive end of the court. Defensively, the club is generating 69.2 ppg, and the Hawks are being outrebounded by 7.5 rpg. Joe Zeglinski leads the Hawks with 15.6 ppg, and Morgan Sabia checks in with 12.6 ppg. Rounding out a trio of double-digit scorers is Joel Barkers with 11.1 ppg. In the 11-point loss to Sacred Heart the last time out, Zeglinski nailed 7-of-13 three-pointers to finish with 25 points. Andres Torres and Barkers both had 11 points in that clash, but the Hawks were outrebounded 44-21.
Kentucky is the most talented team in all of college basketball. The Cats are led by The Great Wall, who has hit multiple game-winning shots this season and never seems to get rattled. He is scoring 17.9 ppg to go along with 82 assists and 30 steals, and the super freshman is shooting 52.2 percent from the floor. Patrick Patterson provides 17.1 ppg and 9.0 rpg while shooting 62.5 percent from the field. DeMarcus Cousins adds 14.9 ppg and 8.8 rpg, while Eric Bledsoe provides 10.1 ppg. UK generates an impressive 82.1 ppg while limiting opponents to 64.7 ppg on 38.2 percent shooting. Wall scored 19 points in the 13-point triumph over Long Beach State last week, while both Cousins and Patterson posted double-doubles. The Wildcats committed just nine turnovers and earned a 22-9 edge in points from the foul line, two obvious keys to the victory.
Kentucky will roll with ease tonight. I think we win by a final score of 96-62. There is no line on the game yet, but if it comes out at UK favored by 30 or less I would play the Wildcats.