Kansas State Wildcats (24-11 SU 15-17 ATS) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (26-10 SU 19-17 ATS)
DATE: 9:37 PM ET Thursday March 22 on CBS
LINE: Kentucky -6 Over/Under 138 points
It’s the battle of the Wildcats in the Sweet 16 in the South Region as 9th seed Kansas State faces off against the region’s 5th seed in Kentucky in this March Madness blockbuster.
Kansas State ended UMBC’ short Cinderella ride in their last game, playing great defense while holding them to only 43 points. Their defense is the strength of their team and they’ll have to play well on that end of the court to win, given they are not a high scoring team, only ranking 42nd in the nation in ppg.
After a close game in their first game in the Big Dance, Kentucky advanced to the sweet 16 by throttling Buffalo by 20 points, putting up 95 points in their victory. UK is a pretty balanced squad that is riding a five-game win streak and their offense will be tested by a solid Kansas State defense.
The last time these teams met it was in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, where Kansas State was the 9th seed like this time around, and Kentucky beat Kansas State. 56-49.
In their games held at a neutral site this season Kansas State is 4-3 and Kentucky is 6-2.
Kansas State Wildcats vs. Kentucky Wildcats key betting trends
- Kansas State is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games held at a neutral site.
- Kansas State is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games.
- Kansas State has an Under record of 13-5-1 in their last 19 games.
- Kentucky is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games.
- Kentucky is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.
- Kentucky has an Over record of 4-0 in their last 4 games.
In their last game Kansas State beat UMBC and while they did not have a great shooting game with a FG% of 40.9% and a 3-pt FG% of 8.3%, they held the Retrievers to 29.8% shooting overall with a 3-pt FG% of 27.3%.
The game was a sloppy one with a combined 35 turnovers. Barry Brown was the lead scorer for the Wildcats with 18 points and Makol Mawien went for 11 points as the only other player on the team to go for double figures. The team has advanced to the Sweet 16 even without leading scorer on the season Dean Wade (16.5 ppg), who is a question mark for this game. Brown ranks 2nd on the squad averaging 16.1 ppg and he has gone for 18 points in each of the two games in the NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky blew up on offense in their last game with a 95-75 beat down on Buffalo where they shot a scorching 56.3% from the floor and held the Bulls to a FG% of only 38.8%. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (27 points) and Hamidou Diallo (22 points) led the Wildcats and Wenyen Gabriel, who is averaging 6.9 ppg and 5.4 rpg, came off the bench and had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Kentucky has four players on the season averaging in double figures led by Kevin Knox (15.6 ppg), who only had eight points in the win over Buffalo, but went for 25 in the opening round win. Gilgeous-Alexander (14.4 ppg) has totaled 46 points in the two games in the Big Dance and has gone for at least 27 points in two of his last three games.
Kansas State Wildcats vs. Kentucky Wildcats betting predictions
Look for déjà vu in this game and just like the 2014 meeting in the NCAA Tournament Kentucky will win a low scoring game. Kansas State may keep it pretty close, but UK will get the win and cover the spread at Bovada advancing to the Elite 8.
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