Kentucky vs. Baylor: Predictions and Odds for This Elite Eight Matchup

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor IMarch 24, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 23:  Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Indiana Hoosiers during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on March 23, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Baylor Bears (30-7) and Kentucky Wildcats (35-2) will meet up in the Elite Eight round of the 2012 NCAA tournament on Sunday afternoon inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Las Vegas odds-makers have established the Wildcats as solid 7.5-point favorites, while the total has moved up 1.5 points from its opening number of 146.

Baylor hasn't faced much in terms of competition in the first three rounds of the Big Dance, which includes a 75-70 win over the Xavier Musketeers as 6.5-point favorites in the Sweet 16 on Friday night.

The Bears deserve some credit, though. All seven of their losses during the 2011-12 season came against teams who made up the original tournament field.

From a betting perspective, I don't anticipate this squad from the Big 12 Conference to upset the top-ranked team in the nation, which has me crunching some numbers.

In Baylor's four losses as an underdog this year, the squad has failed to cover those games by an average of 9.3 points per contest.

Kentucky is 15-21-1 against the spread (ATS) this year, but has covered its last two games in impressive fashion against the Iowa State Cyclones and Indiana Hoosiers. The Wildcats have covered both games against Big 12 opponents this year, including the 87-71 win over the Cyclones as 12-point favorites in the Round of 32.

Perhaps the most impressive win on the school's resume was its 75-65 victory over the Big 12 regular-season champion Kansas Jayhawks as 6.5-point neutral-site favorites inside Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15.

I anticipate the Bears falling to 0-5 all time when facing the No. 1 team in the nation, which will also get rid of those awful "electricity" uniforms they've been wearing.

Pick: Kentucky Wildcats -7.5

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