Midwest Region

Sunday, March 23rd 2:45 PM EST on CBS

8 Kentucky Wildcats vs. 1 Wichita State Shockers

Game Line: Wichita State -5 Game Total: 135 (from BetOnline)

 

The Kentucky Wildcats out of the SEC take on the undefeated Wichita State Shockers in the third round of the NCAA tournament in St. Louis, Missouri

Kentucky advanced to Sunday’s game by defeating Kansas State 56-49. They’ve been pretty inconsistent as of late, winning just 4 out of their last 8 games. They are led by freshman forward Julius Randle, who is averaging 15.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. As a team they are averaging 76.4 ppg while shooting 45.4% from the field. They are solid on the glass, averaging 41.3 rebounds per contest and are 2nd in the nation in rebounding margin (9.9). They are allowing 66.1 ppg on the defensive end, while limiting the opposition to 40.3% shooting from the field. The Wildcats are pretty solid in terms of shot blocking, ranking 5th in the nation in blocked shots (6.2 per game).

Wichita State won pretty convincingly on Friday, dominating from the opening tip defeating Cal Poly SLO 64-37. They are 35-0 and definitely have a huge target on their back. They did get a number 1 seed, but yet have their doubters coming out of a weaker conference. They are led by senior forward Cleanthony Early, who is averaging 15.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. The Shockers average 75.5 ppg, and are shooting 45.9% from the field with a 1.31 assist to turnover ratio. They are also good on the glass, grabbing 38.6 rebounds per contest, and are 7th in the nation in rebounding margin. On defense the Shockers are one of the better teams in the nation, allowing only 58.6 ppg while limiting opponents to 38.6% shooting from the field.

The Shockers got a well-deserved #1 seed, but yet were put in a really tough region with the likes of Louisville, Michigan, and Kentucky. Some say the committee had an agenda giving them such a tough draw. Wichita State definitely has their work cut out for them, but against the SEC this year, the Shockers were 2-0, winning at Alabama and at home against Tennessee. Kentucky has been up and down this season, and actually only have 1 win against a ranked opponent, a 73-66 win at home against Louisville. I actually like the Shockers in this one, the team still has a chip on their shoulder and do have tournament experience. Kentucky is a young team that is careless with the basketball, which is evident in their turnovers this season and their 0.93 assist to turnover ratio. That is a recipe for disaster when facing a team as aggressive as the Shockers. I do think Wichita State is still playing the no respect card, and I like their experience in this one over the youth over the Wildcats. This should be a competitive contest, with the Shockers pulling away late covering the number.

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Wichita State Shockers Free NCAABB Pick: Wichita State -5 Under 135

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Wichita State Shockers Game Prediction: Wichita State 65 Kentucky 57

 

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