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Round of 64 Day Two: Wildcats Battle in 8-9 Game

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at ArkansasThere is one thing we know for sure in today’s NCAA Round of 64 action. The Wildcats will advance to play the winner of the Unbeaten #1 Wichita State Shockers and this year’s upstart team, Cal Poly Mustangs. The #8 Kentucky Wildcats will take on the #9 Kansas State Wildcats in a game where both Wildcats come in having stumbled down the stretch.

Kentucky comes in at 24-10 after making the championship game of the SEC Tournament last weekend. They have lost five of their last eight games but looked a lot better in last weekend’s tournament, coming up just one point short of winning the championship over the #1 ranked Florida Gators. The Kats had the final possession and James Young was driving hard to the hoop for what would have been the game winning attempt, but slipped and lost his footing allowing the Gators to survive a furious rally from 15 down in the second half.

K-State comes in 20-12 and has lost three in a row and five of eight following a big win over #2 seed Kansas Jayhawks on Feb 10. These Wildcats fly under the radar compared to the UK Wildcats. They are the second banana in their state and now with the emergence of the Shockers, have been relegated to third. They would be easy to overlook. With Wichita State most likely waiting on the winner, K-State may have a little bit extra motivation today.

Kentucky is led by Julius Randle, the SEC Freshman of the Year who averages a double-double with nearly 16 points and 11 rebounds per game. Their back court of Andrew Harrison and his twin brother Aaron Harrison has played better in the post season. If that continues, UK could be a very tough out. Willie Cauley-Stein is the big man in more ways than one. He is a shot blocker at over 7′ and can dominate the paint. But he seems to have one good game and then one bad game. If he plays well in this game, watch out.

Marcus Foster leads K-State with nearly 16 per game and Thomas Gibson grabs almost 7 rebounds per game. Foster needs to play big tonight to give his Wildcats a chance. Gibson needs to play tough in the paint against the big UK front line as well. Where State may have an advantage is at point guard where UK has struggled but Jevon Thomas averages 3 dimes per game.

The Shockers, who have lost only one game since the start of last year’s NCAA Tournament, a close on in the Final Four to the eventual national champion Louisville Cardinals, are still getting little respect. Many have Kentucky winning this game and advancing over the Shockers to the Sweet Sixteen. But the Shockers have that rematch with the Cardinals in their mind. We expect Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker and the Shockers to come out on fire today against the 14-19 Cal Poly team.

Carbon Sports has the odds on these games:

Kansas State vs Kentucky– Kansas State is +6.5 -110 and UK is -6.5 -110 ATS. Moneyline is K-State +240 and UK is -290. We like Kentucky -6.5 -110. We think they win in a rout.

Cal Poly vs Wichita State-  Cal Poly is +16.5 -110 and Wichita State is -16.5 -110 ATS. Moneyline is Cal Poly +1100 and Wichita State -2000. We like the Shockers -16.5 -110. The 1 vs 16 game yesterday afternoon should have gotten their attention. They will lay the wood.


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