Coach Calipari and his Wildcats will take the next step toward that goal when they host Morehead State Wednesday night at Rupp Arena (7 pm ET, ESPN3). Where does the best college basketball betting value lie tonight?

Defending National Champion Kentucky may have lost most of last year's production, including four guys who went in the first round of the NBA draft, but there are more future NBA picks in the lineup this season. It's just a matter of molding them into a team. Tonight they face teh easy task of playing the Morehead Sate Eagles.

Kentucky is likely to win this game, but can they cover 24 points that the NCAA Basketball odds makers are asking for? Or do the Eagles have enough to keep this one close, or even, dare we say, pull an upset?

Wildcats-Eagles Game Preview

Kentucky, starting three freshman and two sophomores, opened the season with a tough 72-69 win over Maryland, then lost to Duke 75-68 on a neutral court in Atlanta. Last Friday the 'Cats blew out Lafayette (of the Patriot League) 101-49. 

Kentucky has shot almost 53 percent from the floor as a team through its first three games, and 50 percent from 3-point land, but less than 65 percent from the free-throw line. And those free-throws might come in handy when trying to cover Wednesday's pointspread.

John CalipariMorehead State, meanwhile, returned just two starters this year from a team that went 18-15 last year. The Eagles, in their first season under new head coach Sean Woods, the former Kentucky “Unforgettable” who tossed in 21 points for the 'Cats in that epic defeat vs. Duke in the 1992 NCAA tournament, are off to a 3-1 start. They opened with a 77-74 victory over LIU-Brooklyn, then lost to Maryland (of the ACC) 67-45. MSU has since beaten D2 Alice Lloyd 101-50 and, last Sunday, that same Lafayette team Kentucky trounced, 88-74. 

With their up-tempo/press style of play the Eagles have forced 22 turnovers per game so far.

But on the offensive end MSU has shot just 44 percent from the field and 29 percent from long range.

At the other ends of the courts the Wildcats have held foes to 39 percent FG shooting through their first three games, while the Eagles have allowed opponents to shoot 45 percent. 

Kentucky has won 52 games in a row at Rupp Arena. But last year, with that powerhouse squad favored by large amounts almost every time out, just like Wednesday, the Wildcats only went 5-12 against the spread in home games.

When handicapping Kentucky at the moment the question becomes “how far along are they?” The Wildcats at the moment are a collection of great talent; eventually they'll evolve into a great team. Will that happen in February? March? Next week?

Wednesday's game might not tell us a whole lot, although if the 'Cats struggle, it might indicate they're further away rather than closer to being great.  

So far this season Kentucky has four guys averaging double-digit PPG and seven guys averaging at least 19 minutes per game. 

MSU, meanwhile, has just one guy averaging in double-digit points, senior F Milton Chavis, but nine guys averaging at least 13 MPG. 

Woods went 50-80 in four seasons as the head man at Mississippi Valley State before coming to Morehead State. His first team with the Delta Devils went 7-25, but they gradually improved to 21-13 and a berth in the NCAA tournament last season. 

Woods went 0-2 against his Alma-mater while at MVSU, although that shouldn't surprise anybody. 

These two teams, separated by about 60 miles down Interstate 64, last met three seasons ago, the 'Cats coming away with a 75-59 victory in their first game under Coach Calipari. For what it's worth, Kentucky was favored by 20 points that day.

Wildcats-Eagles Betting Lines and Trends 

Most of the NCAA basketball betting sites we consulted opened Kentucky at around -23 for this game, and had since bumped the 'Cats to -24.

Free NCAAB Pick

MSU's only hope for this game is to force some Kentucky turnovers and try to get some easy hoops, because the Eagles are not going to get many good looks in the half-court game. But while the 'Cats are young, they should be able to take care of business here. We don't like giving up points by the dozens, but we'll take Kentucky at the -23.5 offered at 5Dimes.

NCAA Basketball Picks: Kentucky -23.5 at 5Dimes