NCAA Tournament: East Tennessee State Buccaneers (20-14 SU 2-1-0 ATS) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (32-2 SU 16-15 ATS) New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA 7:15 PM EST Thursday March 18, 2010 on CBS
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Kentucky -19.5 / E Tennessee State +19.5
On Thursday night in the Big Easy in a 1st round game in the East Region the top-seeded Kentucky Wildcats face the 16th seed East Tennessee State Buccaneers. A 16th seed has never beat a 1st seed in the Big Dance and the Buccaneers really have their work cut out for them against a Kentucky team that is almost averaging 80 ppg and is one of the more athletic teams in the country.
East Tennessee State was NIT bound, if that, but they stormed though the Atlantic Sun conference tournament to snag the automatic bid. During the season they did not beat one ranked team and they only finished 4th in their conference.
Kentucky won the SEC conference tourney and they have won 12 of their last 13 games.
Eastern Tennessee State is currently on a 6 game winning streak and the Bucs have won 9 of their last 11 games.
Even though Kentucky has star PG John Wall the 2 Wildcats’ forwards of DeMarcus Cousins (15.3 ppg 10.1 rpg) and Patrick Patterson (14.7 ppg 7.3 rpg) may give East Tennessee more trouble. The Bucs’ forwards of Tommy Hubbard (14.1 ppg 8.3 rpg) and Isiah Brown (7.7 ppg 5.6 rpg) have to keep these guys from having big scoring games and dominating the boards.
The Wildcats are a high scoring team that likes to get out and run and unless the Bucs can slow them down they have no chance to win this game. Kentucky also has a solid team on defense only giving up an average of 65.3 ppg. If the Wildcats do not take the Buccaneers for granted and come out and play like they can they should make short work of the Bucs.
The Bucs do have 2 guards averaging in double figures in Micah Williams (12.5 ppg) and Justin Tubbs (12 ppg) and these 2 may have to be en fuego from 3-point land to pull off the historical upset.
In their last game East Tennessee State beat Mercer 72-66 in the Atlantic Sun conference tournament on March 6th. The high scorer for the Bucs in the game was Justin Tubbs going for 18 points on 6/11 shooting. For the game the Bucs shot 27/57 for a FG% of 47.4%. On defense the Bucs allowed Mercer to shoot 22/52 for a FG% of 42.5%.
Kentucky beat Mississippi State 75-74 in OT in the finals of the SEC tournament on Sunday. Eric Bledsoe was the high scorer for Kentucky in the game going for 18 points on 7/12 shooting. For the game the Wildcats shot 28/61 for a FG% of 45.9%. On D the Wildcats allowed Mississippi State to 29/62 shooting for a FG% of 42%.
According to the Sagarin NCAA basketball ratings Kentucky ranks 4th (91.49) and East Tennessee State ranks 152nd (73.14).
Kentucky is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a win, and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.
Kentucky has an Over record of 5-1 in their last 6 non-conference games, and Over record of 8-2 in their last 10 games after an ATS loss, and an Over record of 7-2 in their last 9 games as a favorite of 13 points or more.
East Tennessee State is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
East Tennessee State has an Over record of 4-1 in their last 5 neutral site games.
Jason’s Pick: Obviously history is on the side of Kentucky, to say the least, but by just looking at these 2 teams you can tell East Tennessee State is way overmatched. John Wall and the 2 star forwards will cause nightmares for the Bucs and I do not think they will stop them from lighting up the scoreboard. The Wildcats will easily win this game, cover the spread, and move into the 2nd round of the Big Dance. I would also take the Over as well, as UK will put up a ton of points against an inferior Bucs’ squad.