2011 NCAA Tournament Predictions – West Virginia Mountaineers vs Kentucky Wildcats Preview
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#5 West Virginia vs. #4 Kentucky
NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET – EAST REGION
Date/Time: Saturday, March 19, 12:15 p.m. ET
Venue: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Kentucky Wildcats Betting Lines from Sportsbook.com
Money Line: West Virginia +145, Kentucky -165
Spread: Kentucky -3.5
Check Out Our Indepth CBB ATS Betting Stats For This Game —>
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West Virginia Mountaineers (21-11)
West Virginia will try to knock off Kentucky for a second straight season on Saturday but things have really changed since these two teams met last year with a Final Four berth on the line. This year’s West Virginia team isn’t a hot pick to win it all; these guys barely escaped Clemson in the first round on Thursday.
The Mountaineers fell behind by double digits before storming back to win a wild one over the Tigers 84-76. It was real team effort for West Virginia, with five different players scoring in double figures. Interestingly, one of those guys wasn’t top scorer Casey Mitchell. He had just four points on 2 of 6 shooting in 16 minutes. He continues to see limited action as he works his way back into good graces with the team after being suspended for violating rules earlier this season.
Kentucky Wildcats (26-8)
Tied for the all-time lead in NCAA Tournament wins and joining the big dance for the 19th time in 20 years, Kentucky always has high expectations. But the Wildcats’ 59-57 squeaker over Princeton, their smallest-ever victory margin in the round of 64, was telling.
John Calipari has done a phenomenal job with Kentucky this season. Enough to make many of us forget that it lost three elite starters, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe, to the NBA. And enough for us to forget that the Wildcats have relied on freshman to be crucial contributors all season.
It finally came back to bite Kentucky against Princeton. Look what happened to the freshman trio of Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, who were the top three scorers for Kentucky this season. Knight scored a crucial bucket late against Princeton – but those were his only two points in the game. Jones had 10 points and Lamb had seven. Not good enough.
Over is 7-1 in WVA last 8 neutral site games.
Over is 9-2 in WVA last 11 non-conference games.
Under is 6-2 in WVA last 8 overall.
KENTY are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 vs. Big East.
Kentucky has a bright future with its superb freshman class but it seems pretty clear that this team is green. It was fine to get past Princeton – barely. But the more experienced West Virginia may be too big of a hurdle to climb. Watch out for Kentucky next year, though.
West Virginia vs Kentucky Prediction: West Virginia 60, Kentucky 55
Money Line: West Virginia +145
Spread: West Virginia +3.5
Over/Under: UNDER 132