NCAA Tournament Betting Picks — Kentucky Poised and Ready For Action in Elite Eight Matchup with Michigan

Have the Kentucky Wildcats passed the test when it comes to composure and poise under fire? You better believe they have, and there are a lot of educated basketball bettors who don’t see any reason they shouldn’t be able to continue along the winning path, after beating arguably two of the five best teams in the country back-to-back. On Sunday Kentucky faces the Michigan Wolverines in the finals of the Midwest Regional in NCAA Tournament betting action that takes place at 5:05 PM ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

In the basketball lines that have been posted at Bookmaker on this game, the Wildcats are slight favorites:

Kentucky Wildcats -2
Michigan Wolverines +2

Over 141.5 points -110
Under 141.5 points -110

Kentucky, which was seeded eighth in this region, is 27-10 straight-up on the season. Obviously they have undergone a maturation process that has this club, which starts five freshman, peaking at the right time. It was no fluke that they were able to hang the first loss of the season on Wichita State, and then beat the defending champion Louisville Cardinals for the second time this season.

When coach John Calipari brought in this freshman class of six, all the buzz among college basketball bettors was about how Kentucky should be the favorite to win the national title. They obviously didn’t always play like that, and indeed the Wildcats weren’t even the best team in their own conference (the SEC), as they were swept three games by the Florida Gators, who authority punched their ticket into the final four. But with each passing game these guys pick up experience, so Bookmaker customers would have to wonder whether the fourth time against Florida could be a charm.

But first things first. Michigan, which is now 28-8, uses a formula that includes a lot of outside shooting; the Wolverines were 40% from three-point range as a team, and have done better than that during the Big Dance, making just under 50% of their tries from beyond the arc. They’ve got deadeye shooters in the starting lineup and on the bench, when you consider Zak Irvin and the ten triples he has sunk so for the tournament. Interestingly enough, Michigan could actually get to the Final Four without meeting anyone ranked higher than a #7 seed (Kentucky is a #8).

For the sake of NCAA Tournament bettors, there are perhaps two terms that might describe what the difference in this game might be. Those are “length” and “size.” It is the length of Kentucky’s defenders on the perimeter that could alter the three-point barrage Michigan would like to lay on the Wildcats. Guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison are both 6′ 6″, and it’s tough to shoot over guys like that. The last we heard, Willie Cauley-Stein would not be available for Kentucky, because he suffered an ankle injury against Louisville and wouldn’t be ready. That’s kind of a shame, since he adds a premier shot-blocking element off the bench (2.8 per game). But these guys have enough size anyway, and what they really need is for the guy who might be the best freshman of this group, Julius Randle, to be on his game. Randle averages 15.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per contest, and when he gets going, he is too much of a load for most people to handle underneath.

They’re big. They’re “bad.” And now that they’re all grown up, they might ALL be too much to handle.

Bracket Madness is heating up, and there is still time for you to play! Just open up an account at the place where the line originates – Bookmaker!


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