With a run to the Final Four beckoning, the Kentucky Wildcats battle it out with Royce White and the Iowa State Cyclones in the second round. Find out what odds are on offer to us tonight, and where we are laying our picks.
Though Kentucky couldn't cover a humungous 26.5 point spread
in the opening round, they still had an easy time getting past Western Kentucky
in a 81-66 victory.
The Wildcats shot 55.6 percent from the field and
out-rebounded the Hilltoppers by 12. Terrence Jones stood out most, gathering
22 points and 10 rebounds, while Anthony Davis racked up 16 points, nine boards
and seven blocks in the comfortable win.
For their sake, let's hope the Wildcats worked out any and
all kinks in their play as now the road gets substantially tougher.
Step one complete for Kentucky
They face Iowa State, who just beat Connecticut by 13 in the
opening round. NCAA basketball odds boards opened with the Wildcats favored by 10.5 points, with the matchup's total listed at 138.5. Some college basketball betting shops have already begun to offer the spread at 11.5 with a new total of 140.
The Cyclones' win was most certainly impressive. They held
the Huskies to 37.5 percent shooting and held a sizable 40-21 advantage on the
Royce White, the main man to watch for Iowa State, had 15
points and 13 rebounds, but Chris Allen's effort probably made the most
difference. He hit three threes and finished with 20 points, the most he's had
in over a month.
All in all, Iowa State is good team all-around, one that's
lost by double-digits only twice this season. The Cyclones beat Kansas in
conference play, overcame Kansas State twice and kept it close with Missouri in
both meetings this season.
Clearly this is a team that won't go down without a serious
Moreover, one aspect of NCAA Tournament play that's often
overlooked is free throw shooting. You've got to be good at the charity stripe
in March. In the first round, the Cyclones hit 19-of-20 from the line and are
connecting on 76.9 percent over their last five.
Expect valiant effort out of Iowa State
They're also good on the boards. The Cyclones were ranked 13th
in defensive rebounding throughout the season, mostly because of White.
A beast at 6'8”, 270 pounds, White averaged 9.3 RPG during
the season and has racked up at least 10 rebounds in five of his last six
games. The man can also handle the ball and is a very skillful passer too. Down
low White's getting help from Melvin Ejim, who pulled down 6.6 RPG this year.
Now, I know everything has to go perfectly if the Cyclones
are to pull off a huge upset, but I don't for a second think they'll get blown
out of the water this weekend.
To date the Iowa State is 10-4-1 ATS away from home, while
the Wildcats are 7-9 ATS. Kentucky's on a terrible ATS run here of late,
failing to cash in four consecutive contests.
Why not one more?
Led by a bruising playmaker in Royce White, I'm seizing that
considerable number and banking on the Cyclones to keep this one in single
digits. This is a solid Iowa State team we're talking about and I personally
think the number is way too high. Therefore I am adding a play on Iowa State to my NCAA Basketball picks tonight.
PICK: Iowa State Cyclones +10.5
Cyclones are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games overall
Cyclones are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games
Wildcats are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall
OVER is 5-3 in Iowa State's last 8 games overall
OVER is 4-3-1 in Kentucky's last 8 games overall