At Phillips Arena in Atlanta – the second game of the day will feature the 9th seeded Kansas State Wildcats and the 5th seeded Kentucky Wildcats. The winner of this game will head to the Elite 8, and will take on the winner of Loyola and Nevada on Sunday. The Kansas State Wildcats won their first NCAA Tournament game against Creighton, and then beat UMBC on Sunday. Kansas State is 24-11.
The Kentucky Wildcats have been surging since late February. The Wildcats won the SEC Tournament, and are now the top remaining seed in the South Region. Kentucky is 26-10 on the season. The two tournament wins for Kentucky have come over Davidson and Buffalo. Those two wins were over the 12 and 13 seed in the region. Kentucky is -5.5 over Kansas State in this game on Friday.
John Calipari has his Kentucky Wildcats playing their best basketball of the season. Kentucky lost an early game to Kansas, and then caught fire. Then, the Wildcats started slow in SEC play, with a string of six losses in 9 games. The Wildcats now have won 5 straight games. Kentucky won the SEC title game over Tennessee 77-72.
The top scorer this season for Kentucky has been Kevin Knox. Knox is scoring more than 15 points per game. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is also scoring 14.4 points per game for the Wildcats. Kentucky as a team is scoring 77.3 points per game, and allowing opponents to score 70.5 per game.
Kansas State OK with winning Ugly
Bruce Weber and the Kansas State Wildcats won ugly in their wins over Creighton and UMBC, but they are in the final 16 teams remaining. Kansas State knows if they are going to take down Kentucky, they are going to have to make the game ugly. The Wildcats are expecting to get their top scorer back for this game. Dean Wade has missed the tournament after scoring 16.5 points per game during the eseason.
Kamau Stokes has picked up some of the slack for Kansas State. During the regular season, Stokes scored 9 points and dished out 3.4 assists per game. Kansas State is 0-7 against the rest of the Sweet 16 teams this season. The Wildcats are looking for their 37th tournament win, and their 5th trip to the NCAA Final Four.
Wildcats Beat Wildcats
Now, that’s true. The Wildcats are going to win, and the Wildcats are going to lose. But, with the talent that Kentucky has, it’s hard to pick against them. Kansas State did not look great in their win over UMBC. The Kansas State version of the Wildcats have a tough time scoring points. Look for Kansas State to go through a drought and open the door for a blowout. Kentucky wins this game with ease. Bet the Kentucky Wildcats -5.5 over the Kansas State Wildcats in the Sweet 16.
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