The third ticket will be punched to the Final Four in Atlanta on Sunday afternoon, when the Kentucky Wildcats look to dance into the third week of the tourney for the second straight year against the Baylor Bears.
Elite 8 Matchup: #3 Baylor Bears vs. #1 Kentucky Wildcats
Date: Sunday, March 25th, 2:20 ET
Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Elite 8 Odds: Kentucky -7.5
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: CBS
To say that there is a heck of a lot of talent that is going to be on the court on Sunday afternoon is a bit of an understatement. We could really make the argument that there are as many as about eight or nine NBA prospects that will be out there, and though we know that a lot of those players are going to be donning the colors of the Big Blue Nation, Head Coach John Calipari is going to be reminding his team of just how dangerous these Bears really are.
The biggest issue that Baylor is going to have to get past is the fact that it was terrible this year against some of the best teams in the country. Remember that the Bears were swept by both the Missouri Tigers and the Kansas Jayhawks during the regular season, and if not for the fact that they were able to snare a win in the Big XII Tournament over the Jayhawks, they wouldn’t possibly have any confidence that they can win a game like this one. However, we know that Pierre Jackson is going to be as talented as any guard out there on the court, and Perry Jones III, though his stats aren’t always the greatest, is the type of guy that can figure out how to stick around with an Anthony Davis or a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
The Wildcats haven’t had the greatest tournament from a defensive standpoint. They just allowed 90 to the Indiana Hoosiers, and though they do have the talent to get the job done in games like this as well, with sharpshooters like Brady Heslip out on the court for the Bears, this definitely isn’t a game in which they want to be playing in the 80s or 90s. It will be difficult for sure though, because there are five starters on the other side that are all capable of double digit scoring nights, and that really does neutralize the fact that UK has six men that are averaging at least 10.0 points per game. It is the only team in the country that can boast that claim.
Many will probably think right away that the Cats are the right side, even laying so many points. We do think that in the end, the boys in blue are going to use their home court edge in this one to get past the Big XII reps, but we really don’t think that it is going to be all that easy. Head Coach John Calipari will get his team back to the Final Four this year, but it certainly isn’t going to be easy, nor will it be a game that comes without some ugly moments, likely on both sides of the court.
Elite 8 Free Pick: Baylor Bears +7.5
Wisconsin vs. Syracuse Projected Final Score: Kentucky 76 – Baylor 72