Kentucky Wildcats (26-7) vs. Saint Peter's Peacocks (19-11)
March 17, 2022 7:20 pm EDT
The Line: Kentucky Wildcats -17.5 / Saint Peter's Peacocks +17.5 ; Over/Under: 132.5
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The Kentucky Wildcats and Saint Peter’s Peacocks do battle Thursday in the college basketball First Round NCAA Tournament from the Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
The Saint Peter’s Peacocks come into the conference tournament as the #15 seed, repping the MAAC as the conference tournament champion. The Peacocks finished the year 19-11 overall and 14-6 in MAAC conference play, taking down Fairfield, Quinnipiac and Monmouth on their way to the conference tournament title. Daryl Banks III leads the Peacocks in scoring with 11 PPG and Fousseyni Drame also has 7.2 PPG with a team-high 6.8 RPG while KC Ndefo has 10.6 PPG with 6.2 RPG as the only other double-digit scorer for the Peacocks this season. Doug Edert also has 9.3 PPG and Matthew Lee leads the Peacocks with 2.9 APG as well on the year. As a team, Saint Peter’s is averaging 66.9 PPG on 42.9% shooting from the field, 35% from three and 68.1% from the foul line while allowing 62.4 PPG on 39.1% shooting from the field and 30% from three this season.
The Kentucky Wildcats come into the NCAA tournament as the #2 seed, finishing the year at 26-7 overall, including 14-4 in conference play. The Wildcats took down Vanderbilt in the quarters before losing to Tennessee in the semifinals. Oscar Tshiebwe leads the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding with 17 PPG and 15.1 RPG, averaging a monster double-double per game while TyTy Washington Jr. has 12.8 PPG with 3.5 RPG and 4 APG. Kellan Grady has 11.5 PPG and Sahvir Wheeler has 10 PPG with a team-high 6.9 APG to lead Kentucky in assists this season. Keion Brooks Jr. also has 10.9 PPG to make up the group of double-digit scorers for Kentucky so far this season. As a team, Kentucky is averaging 80.1 PPG on 48.9% shooting from the field, 35.5% from three and 72.9% from the foul line while allowing 65.7 PPG on 41% shooting from the field and 29.8% from three this season.
Saint Peter’s is 11-2 ATS in their last 13 neutral site games and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600 while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 games as an underdog. Kentucky is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games as a favorite and 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS loss while the under is 4-1 in their last 5 NCAA tournament games.
I get the case to be made for Saint Peter’s and the points, as I’ve rode this Peacocks team through MAAC play and the Peacocks have made me a pretty penny to say the least. However, Saint Peter’s style of play can cut it against MAAC opposition, but the lack of made shots will hurt the Peacocks against strong opposition like Kentucky. The Peacocks struggled against high-scoring teams like Providence and St. John’s early on this year and while it’s a sizeable number, I think they could struggle here. Give me Kentucky by 20+.