Kentucky vs. UCLA: Prediction, pick, spread, basketball game odds, live stream, watch online, TV channel

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Two of the top programs in the history of college basketball will meet Saturday in a legendary venue as No. 13 Kentucky takes on No. 16 UCLA as part of the CBS Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden. The game will follow an earlier tilt between North Carolina and No. 23 Ohio State as part of the event, which highlights a triple-header of marquee college basketball action on CBS.

Both Kentucky and UCLA began the season ranked in side the top-10 of the AP Top 25 but have produced mixed results in the early portion of the season. However, both squads appear to be trending up by having notched big wins over quality opponents away from home in recent outings.

Kentucky defeated Michigan 73-69 in London on Dec. 4 and has only played once since then — a 69-59 win over Yale on Dec. 10 — amid a portion in college basketball’s calendar when the schedule gets a little light due to final exams. At 7-2, the Wildcats have looked stronger recently after showing some flaws in losses to Michigan State and Gonzaga last month. Defense is Kentucky’s calling card as the Wildcats enter holding opponents to just 38.1% shooting from the floor. That makes Kentucky the nation’s 22nd-best defense in the country in terms of opponent’s shooting percentage. Offense has been hit or miss from the Wildcats, but the one constant has been reigning National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe, who already has five double-doubles.

UCLA has won six straight games since losing to Illinois and Baylor in the Roman Main Event last month. The Bruins’ resurgence since then includes a 2-0 start to league play with wins over Stanford and Oregon as well as an especially impressive 87-60 non conference victory at Maryland on Wednesday. Four players scored between 14 and 19 points for the Bruins in that game, led by Jaylen Clark’s 19. UCLA forced 16 Maryland turnovers in the latest sign of the team’s defensive improvement since its poor showing in the Roman Main Event.

How to watch Kentucky vs. UCLA live

Date: Saturday, Dec. 17 | Time: 5:15 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden — New York
TV: CBS | Live stream:, CBS Sports App (Free)

Kentucky vs. UCLA prediction, picks

Featured Game | Kentucky Wildcats vs. UCLA Bruins

Kentucky star big man Oscar Tshiebwe is going to be a problem for UCLA. Though five-star freshman center Adem Bona has shown tons of promise for the Bruins, Tshiebwe should be salivating over the chance to bully a young player on the block. Assuming UCLA brings some double teams, this game could come down to Kentucky’s ability to knock down perimeter shots. The Wildcats have been solid in that regard so far this season, shooting 39.2% from beyond the arc. Even in an unfamiliar setting in London a couple weeks ago, Kentucky hit 9 of 15 attempts from deep with four different players getting in on the action during a big win over Michigan. Look for the UK offense to remain balanced enough here to get the win.  Prediction: Kentucky +1.5

Who will win and cover in every college basketball game? Visit SportsLine to get picks from the model that simulates each game 10,000 times and is up more than $1,200 for $100 players on its top-rated spread picks the past six years. 

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