East Tennessee State Vs Kentucky Prediction

Ray MonohanContributor IMarch 16, 2010

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 14:  Perry Stevenson #21 and Darnell Dodson #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrate after Kentucky won 75-74 in overtime against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the final of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena on March 14, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

East Tennessee State vs Kentucky – Thursday, March 18, 7:15 PM ET

NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament- First Round
East Tennessee St. +19.5 (-110)
Kentucky -19.5 (-110)
Over/Under 136

March Madness 2010 odds for Thursday’s contest between Kentucky and East Tennessee State are banking on a blowout for the Wildcats in their East region opener, but they should watch tape of the Buccaneers from last year, when they gave Pitt a scare.

The Buccaneers are dancing for the second straight year after winning the Atlantic Sun conference, and they get by with a defense that forces turnovers.

Tommy Hubbard, Micah Williams and Justin Tubbs are a trio of juniors that lead the Bucs in scoring, but ETSU isn’t going to get into a track meet with Kentucky.

The Bucs will look to draw off previous history as well, as they narrowly missed the first 1-16 upset in NCAA history in 1989, when they lost a 17-point lead before falling by a single point to Oklahoma, and then last year, the Bucs lost to Pitt by 10 points after keeping the game close for the majority of it.

The Wildcats needed a miraculous DeMarcus Cousins put back to force overtime in their SEC championship win over Mississippi State, but Kentucky would have been a No.1 seed regardless of the outcome. John Wall may be the sportsbook favorite for the No.1 pick in the NBA draft, but Cousins won’t be far behind if he leaves Lexington after a year like Wall most likely will.

The Wildcats are wildly talented, but they can be prone to lapses in concentration.

However, they snap out of it, and there’s no team more likely to go on a run to blow a game open.

Sportsbook odds are favoring the Wildcats by 20 points, and they’re 2-0 in previous meetings with the Bucs, the last of which came in 1984.

The Wildcats have been favored by 20 or more four times this year, going 1-3, and the Bucs will give them all they can handle, and more. Kentucky can get frustrated easily because of their youth, and the Bucs’ 2-3 zone will do their best to keep the Wildcats on the perimeter, where Kentucky thinks they’re a better three-point shooting team than they really are, and off the boards, where they are sixth in the country.

The Wildcats would do well to just pound the ball inside to Cousins and Patrick Patterson, but sometimes they fall in love with the three-pointer.

The Wildcats will win this game, but the Bucs have players that remember last year’s game with Pitt, and that toughness will keep them in the game. Kentucky just has too much talent, but remember: John Calipari’s Memphis team were given a run by Cal State Northridge, so take the Bucs against the spread.

Betting Trends:

Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games
Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games
Wildcats are 39-19 ATS in their last 58 games following a ATS loss
Buccaneers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a SU win
Buccaneers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning SU record
Buccaneers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall
Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a SU win
Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning SU record

Buccaneers vs. Wildcats Free Pick: 
March Madness odds pick: East Tennessee State +20

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