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Posted at 11:20 AM EST.
Second Round of NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Taco Bell Arena - Boise, Idaho
5:15 PM EST. Before the Retrievers of Baltimore Country stole their thunder, these Buffalo Bulls were primed to be this year's Cinderella story. We backed Buffalo against Arizona and cited those Wildcats commitment to not playing defense as a major reason why the Bulls had a real chance to bust some brackets. While Buffalo's high octane offense can be entertaining to watch, it also leaves the Bulls open to vicious counter-attacks, as turnovers and sloppy play are a trademark of coach Nate Oats' unit, but Arizona didn't play the kind of game that could exploit those weaknesses. If the Bulls were facing another Pac-12 school today, we'd be far more inclined to give them another look, but that is not going to be the case. Reality is about to set in for Buffalo, as they draw an SEC mainstay. Coach Oats could not help himself in the aftermath of his teams win over Arizona criticizing Kentucky coach John Calipari for "whining" about a young team with no experience”. Oats talked a ton of smack before and during the first round, and his team backed it up. However, there are some bears yhou simply do not poke and Calipari and the Wildcats are one such bear.
Kentucky's opening win in this tournament was not your typical Wildcat performance. Sure, UK put up 78 points in a five-point victory over Davidson, but Calipari's crew did not hit a single shot from beyond the arc. That is a streak of 1,047 games, which had been best in the nation, dates back to 1988, which is more than a decade before the players on this year's team were born. On the surface, it might look like Kentucky had its handful with Davidson after failing to cover, but the blue Wildcats toyed with their namesakes in red like a house cat would a wounded mouse. Every once in a while Kentucky would give Davidson a little poke just to see if it still wanted to play and allow it to go on a run to keep it interesting. We faded UK in that game and instantly knew we were in trouble, but thankfully the Wildcats from the Blue Grass State took their foot off the gas and we got a lucky push. Kentucky was never in danger in that game despite what the score might say. A program like Kentucky doesn't make our board very often, as the Wildcats are often overvalued in the market but there are exceptions to every rule, as it is actually UK that is being disrespected here. Unlike Arizona, Kentucky plays defense and will not be suckered into a track meet. UK put up 78 without a three-point shot, and that isn't likely to happen again today. The Wildcats' interior game is playing at a high level and if those outside shots fall, this one could get out of hand but most importantly, the price on UK is short due to the overreaction on Buffalo whacking the last team left from that brutal conference known as the Pac-12 .
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Kentucky -6 -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)