Kentucky head coach John Calipari directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Richmond in Lexington, Ky., Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
- Kentucky is a 7.5-point home favorite over Notre Dame on Saturday in a non-conference game at Rupp Arena in Lexington
- The Wildcats are favored despite losing three games in a row to fall to 1-3
- Below we preview the match, with the odds, and our pick
Turning the roster over is a way of life at Kentucky as John Calipari recruits NBA-caliber players and usually sends then on to the professional ranks after one season.
However, the Wildcats are struggling to rebuild this season and look like a team desperately in need of a victory when they host Notre Dame at 12 p.m. Saturday at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.
Despite being 1-3, Kentucky is favored to beat the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame vs Kentucky Odds
|Notre Dame||+265||+6.5 (-104)||Over 144.5 (-110)|
|Kentucky||-310||-6.5 (-116)||Under 144.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Dec. 11 from FanDuel
Kentucky opened the season with a rout of Morehead State but has since lost to Richmond at home, Kansas at a neutral site and Georgia Tech on the road. The Wildcats are 2-2 against the spread.
Notre Dame is 1-2 with losses to a pair of ranked Big Ten teams in Michigan State and Ohio State. The Fighting Irish are 1-2 ATS.
Kentucky lost all five starters and seven of its eight starters from a team that went 25-6 last season.
Unlike most seasons, the Wildcats have had trouble blending their usual group of five-star freshmen into a cohesive unit.
Kentucky has looked discombobulated on offense. The Wildcats are 195th in the nation in scoring with a 67.2 point per game average and their 46.7 effective field goal shooting percentage ranks 203rd.
Kentucky’s offense is broken. pic.twitter.com/9Z7wU83Wr5
— Chris Hatfield (@ChrisDHatfield) December 6, 2020
Calipari admits his team lacks confidence, especially after three straight losses.
Despite being a 6.5-point favorite on the road, Kentucky was overwhelmed by mediocre Georgia Tech 79-62 on Sunday. That came after the Yellow Jackets lost to Georgia State and Mercer to begin the season.
Georgia Tech had 15 steals against the Wildcats and scored 33 points off turnovers. Kentucky was also outscored 36-20 in the paint.
Freshman guard Terrance Clarke was one of just two Kentucky players in double figures with 22 points.
The Wildcats also have just two players averaging double figures in scoring so far this season, freshman guard Brandon Boston Jr. (14.5) and Clarke (13.8).
Hubb is Notre Dame’s Hub
Notre Dame is also coming off a loss, falling to Ohio State 90-85 at home on Tuesday as a six-point underdog.
The Fighting Irish led 42-34 at halftime but were unable to put the Buckeyes away.
Junior point guard Prentiss Hubb continues to be the, uh, hub of Notre Dame’s offense. He has a team-best 22.3 scoring average while also dishing out 5.3 assists and grabbing 5.0 rebounds a game.
Prentiss Hubb vs. Syracuse
22 points, 9 assists, 6 three-pointers
Although he had that technical foul, this was a great offensive game for Hubb. Next year, he will take an even bigger role with the departure of Mooney and Gibbs. pic.twitter.com/0dDTYONV0r
— ACC Content (@ACContent__) May 24, 2020
Ohio State struggled to contain Hubb, who scored 26 points. He made five of nine shots from beyond the 3-point line.
Also averaging double figures in scoring for Notre Dame are junior forward Nate Laszewski (15.0), junior guard Dane Goodwin (14.3) and junior guard Cormac Ryan (13.3).
Laszewski, who also has a 9.7 rebounding average, just missed a double-double against Ohio State with 17 points and nine rebounds. Ryan, a transfer from Stanford, had 15 points but all came by halftime and he took only one shot in the second half.
Kentucky sophomore forward Keion Brooks Jr. has yet to play in a game this season because of a calf injury but has returned to practice. Calipari said Monday that Brooks is still at least two weeks from returning.
Keion Brooks practiced today 👀 pic.twitter.com/puTUW7klX7
— Cats Coverage 😼 (@CatsCoverage_) December 9, 2020
Brooks started six games last season and averaged 4.5 points.
Notre Dame junior forward Robby Carmody’s injury-plagued career continues as he has been out all season with a knee problem. He is not expected to play until January.
UK Dominates Irish
The teams last met in the 2015 NCAA Tournament and it was a memorable game. The Wildcats won 68-66 in a wild Midwest Regional final at Cleveland.
Kentucky leads the all-time series 48-19, including all eight games played in Lexington. However, look for Notre Dame to play the struggling Wildcats tough in this one.
The Pick: Notre Dame +6.5 (-104)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.