It’s gameday (or night) as Kentucky takes on Kansas State tonight in the Sweet 16, with the winner advancing to face either Nevada/Loyola Chicago.
A win would be the second consecutive Elite 8 for John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats squad, and seventh appearance during his tenure at Kentucky. A win would give Kansas State their first Elite 8 appearance since 2010.
Kentucky currently sits as a -5.5 point favorite going into the game. The over/under is set at 137, according to OddsShark.
Kentucky has been 5-0 against the spread the last five games. Nine out of the last 10 games have hit the over.
For Kansas State, the total has gone under in 13 of their last 19 games.
While Kentucky has put up some larger point totals the last few games, this game has the potential to be a more low-scoring affair with the way Kansas State defends and doesn’t get in much of a hurry on the offensive end.
OddsShark’s computers predict Kentucky by a score of 74 to 66. They also predicted Buffalo to defeat Kentucky 78-74.
NunberFire projects Kentucky to win 74-70.
TeamRankings picks Kentucky to win 72-67.
KenPom predicts Kentucky to win 73-65.
What They’re Saying
Andy Katz ranked Kentucky 6th in his re-rankings of the teams remaining in the field.
The Wildcats lost games in the SEC. So what? News flash: The SEC was much better. The Wildcats are right at the place they need to be -- winning the SEC tournament, beating back upstart Davidson and blowing past Buffalo, just two days after the Bulls crushed Arizona. The Wildcats have matured at the “normal” pace for a traditional freshman class. Kentucky has a great shot to end the season where it always expects to be: The Final Four.
Dan Wolken of USA Today had a hot-take column where he said it would be an “embarrassment” if Kentucky didn’t make the Final Four from the South Region.
“Not only are the Wildcats the best remaining team in the South Region, it would be an epic surprise, and perhaps embarrassment at this point, if they fail to make the Final Four.”
The New York Post’s Howie Kussoy believes Kentucky has crossed the line from confident to cocky and believes Kansas State will give Kentucky a run.
John Calipari’s latest batch of inexperienced kids remains one of the least intimidating Kentucky teams he’s ever taken to the NCAA Tournament — a group that led No. 12 Davidson by two with less than three minutes left in the first round and which No. 13 Buffalo played to a near-stalemate for 32 minutes.
Kentucky has won nine of its past 10 games, but the team may have crossed over from confident to cocky.
Athlon Sports thinks Kentucky stands a good chance to advance to the Elite 8.
Kansas State is a good defensive team, but Kentucky’s offense is operating on an almost superhuman level at the moment. The SEC Wildcats have too much interior size and too many versatile offensive weapons for the Big 12 Wildcats to slow them down.
I think this game ends up being closer than what many expect. Kansas State’s defensive mindset could ugly this game up and force Kentucky out of their offensive rhythm. However, if Kentucky continues to play their offensive game the way they have this postseason, Kentucky should be the favorite.