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Wake Forest vs Kentucky Picks – Wildcats chase Demon Deacons into bad shooting night

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/19/2010 2:25:12 PM
NCAA Basketball Odds: Pick Kentucky

March Madness betting players know that Kentucky is one of the most exciting and explosive teams in the nation on the offensive end, but their defense is just as good and they can put a lid on the best of shooting teams. The Wildcats will face Wake Forest in the second round on Saturday, and their defense will come up big against a team that can’t shoot it all that well in the first place.

Wake Forest vs Kentucky betting odds: Kentucky
  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Saturday, March 20, 8:15 PM ET
  • Where: New Orleans Arena – New Orleans, LA
  • Key Stat: Both teams ranked in the national top 10 in field-goal defense

The Wake Forest vs Kentucky Storyline

Eighth-seeded Wake Forest limped into the Tournament before pulling off an 81-80 win in overtime against Texas on Thursday, needing a last-second jumper from Ishmael Smith to oust the Longhorns. The No.1 Wildcats rolled to a 100-71 win over East Tennessee State behind a record-setting performance from beyond the arc by Eric Bledsoe. These two haven’t met since March 23rd, 1996, when the Wildcats slaughtered the Demon Deacons 83-63 in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Offensive Matchups

Al-Farouq Aminu, considered by many to be a lottery pick if he jumps to the NBA draft, had 20 points and four of his 15 rebounds came on the offensive end, while Smith had a great game with 19 points and seven assists, although he did turn the ball over eight times. Second-chance points were huge for the Demon Deacons, who grabbed 19 offensive boards, which made up for the 20 turnovers. The Demon Deacons also shot 15-of-24 from the foul line, which was just below their average.

The Wildcats will be unstoppable if they make three-pointers like they were on Thursday. Bledsoe hit his first eight attempts from beyond the arc, leading the way with 29 points, while Patrick Patterson had 22, and John Wall added 17 points and 11 assists for the Wildcats, who aren’t usually a good three-point shooting team. DeMarcus Cousins was held to five points, but Bledsoe was too hot to stop feeding, so expect him to get more touches against Wake Forest.

Betting Edge: Kentucky

Defensive Matchups

If the Demon Deacons are going to pull off the sportsbook upset, they’ll need to play defense like they did against the Longhorns, holding Texas to 37.7% from the field. They didn’t force many turnovers, but the Demon Deacons were solid fundamentally, and they were all over the boards, outrebounding the Longhorns 56-31. Aminu and Smith combined for 27 rebounds.

The Wildcats forced 14 turnovers against ETSU, and the 45 points they gave up in the second half isn’t a big deal as the game was well in hand and the reserves were in. Kentucky held ETSU to 35.4% from the field, including 4-of-17 from three-point land, and in Bledsoe and Wall, the Wildcats have a pair of guards that can make life difficult for the opposing backcourt. Bledsoe, along with his offensive outburst, had four steals for Kentucky.

Betting Edge: Even

Injuries

Both teams managed to come through the first round unscathed, and the Wildcats even earned some extra rest by sitting their starters for most of the second half, while the Demon Deacons had to go to the extra session.

Betting Edge: Kentucky

Betting Prediction: Wake Forest vs Kentucky Picks

The Wildcats should be favored in this contest, and they have a couple of things to worry about. The Demon Deacons are a big team with Aminu and Chas McFarland, who will be a much bigger task for Cousins and Patterson. Smith and Wall will go at it in the backcourt, and Smith is one of the few players in the dance who may be as quick as wall. Bledsoe will have L.D. Williams chasing him around the court, and Wake Forest fans should be happy at how their team matches up with Kentucky. However, the Wildcats harass you all over the place, and the Demon Deacons won’t get anywhere with 20 turnovers and shooting 42.9% from the floor like they did against Texas. Give the sports betting edge to Kentucky here.

WASHINGTON’S Pick: Kentucky

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