Kentucky Basketball: Where Wildcats’ Upset Loss to South Carolina Ranks

Kentucky Basketball: Where Wildcats’ Upset Loss to South Carolina Ranks
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

It’s been an up-and-down start to the college basketball season for Kentucky, going from No. 4 in the Associated Press preseason poll to 10-6 and unranked as of early January.

The Wildcats’ most recent defeat came as a 20-point favorite over South Carolina, which used a 42-point first half to shock the Wildcats at Rupp Arena, 71-68.

The home loss to the Gamecocks knocked the Wildcats to 1-3 in SEC play, with losses to Missouri (89-75 on Dec. 28) and seventh-ranked Alabama (78-52 on Jan. 7).

Things don't get any easier this weekend, as Kentucky is at No. 5 Tennessee on Saturday. wanted to give greater context to how historic the Wildcats’ home loss Tuesday was in the program’s recent history.

There is no legal Kentucky sports betting, but a bill legalizing sports betting already has been introduced for this legislative session.

Here’s where the team’s defeat as a 20-point betting favorite Tuesday ranks over the course of the past decade.

Kentucky’s Biggest Outright Losses as Favorite Since 2012-13

Date Opponent Score Line
Nov. 8, 2019Evansville67-64-24.5
Jan. 10, 2023South Carolina71-68-20
March. 17, 2022St. Peter’s85-79 OT-18
Jan. 12, 2013Texas A&M83-71-15
Jan. 16, 2016Texas A&M75-70-11.5
Dec. 3, 2016UCLA97-92-11
Jan. 24, 2017Tennessee82-80-10.5
Dec. 18, 2019Utah69-66-10
March 1, 2014South Carolina72-67-10
Feb. 27, 2014Arkansas71-67 OT-10

South Carolina Loss Second-Biggest Kentucky Upset This Decade

The only contest that featured a bigger betting line upset for the Wildcats came four years ago, when Evansville knocked off Coach John Calipari and company in Lexington, 67-64.

That home defeat came as a 24.5-point betting favorite, making Tuesday’s loss to the Gamecocks look almost pedestrian in nature.

The next-closest upset loss, in terms of betting lines, was during last year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, when St. Peter’s knocked off the Wildcats, 85-79 in overtime, as an 18-point underdog.

As for SEC opponents, the largest betting underdog to knock off the Wildcats since 2012-13 entering this week was when Texas A&M beat them as a 15-point underdog in 2013.

Learn More: Best Kentucky Sports Betting Apps 

How Kentucky’s Outlook for 2023 Has Changed

The Wildcats have gone from the preseason favorite to win the SEC to a longshot during the last three months.

Oddsmakers at Caesars Sportsbook listed the Wildcats at +175 to win the conference before the season tipped off, ahead of Arkansas (+275), Tennessee (+450) and Alabama (+700).

Now, the Wildcats find themselves fifth on BetMGM’s SEC odds board at +2500, behind the Volunteers (-120), Crimson Tide (+125), Razorbacks (+1800) and Auburn (+2000).

Learn More: Top Kentucky Sportsbook Promos



Christopher Boan is a staff writer for He has covered sports and sports betting for more than seven years and has worked for publications such as, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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