Northern Kentucky vs. Kentucky - First Four, South Region

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 7:05 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 15, 2017 7:05 PM UTC

While coach John Calipari has publically stated he is fretting about Northern Kentucky in Kentucky's first-round matchup, the sportsbooks have posted the Wildcats as chalky 20-point favorites.

  Northern Kentucky vs. Kentucky

First Four, South Region
Friday, March 17th - 9:40 pm E.T

Northern Kentucky Breakdown

Northern Kentucky (24-10 , 20-10 ATS) is a great feel good story, finishing tied for third place in the Horizon League and winning the tournament in first year of eligibility. The Norse have four double-digit scorers, led by forwarding Drew McDonald and guard Lavone Holland II. Honestly, Northern Kentucky is virtually out-manned at every position and they will have to hit 10 or more three's to keep this game close and out-hustle the Wildcats to stay in the contest. Besides making lots of shots, the defense has to get back quickly, because Kentucky can get up the floor off a rebound or steal in just seconds and have somebody dunking the ball.


Kentucky Breakdown 

John Calipari will have spent the week preaching to his team they have to win six games to be national champions and if his players are unfocused for the opener, it could be a precursor of things to come. Kentucky (29-5) has the ability to smoke their brethren from the Commonwealth, however, a 16-17 ATS record proves the Wildcats are sometimes overvalued and not locked in mentally. The closest Northern Kentucky has come to facing a team oozing with ability was West Virginia in Morgantown and they lost by 31. If freshmen Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo come to play, there will be ample Sports Center highlights.


What to Watch For 

Look for Calipari to have his team ready to play very hard man to man defense and be disruptive, with the idea of running at every opportunity to bury and intimidate Northern Kentucky with their superior talent. For college basketball picks, a lean with the 'Cats at this high price.

Free NCAAB Pick: Kentucky -20Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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