Superior Athleticism Makes Kentucky -14 The Tournament Pick vs. Stony Brook

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 7:41 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2016 7:41 PM GMT

Our NCAA Basketball analyst provides us with a betting preview on Thursday’s NCAA Tournament East Region first round game between Stony Brook and Kentucky. Go inside for everything you need to know before making a bet on this contest.

#13 Stony Brook (26-6) vs. #4 Kentucky (26-8) 9:40 PM ET
Stony Brook will makes it first ever NCAA Tournament appearance on Thursday night, and will do so against arguably the most storied college basketball program when they take on Kentucky. At the time of this wiring (3/15), NCAA Tournament odds at The Greek indicate that Kentucky is a 14.0 point favorite, and the posted total is 144.0. The winner of this first round matchup will play either #12 UT-Chattanooga or #5 Indiana on Saturday.

 

Level of Competition Factor
I certainly don’t want to make light of Stony Brook’s stellar record this season, nor diminish their accomplishments in getting to this point. However, the reality of the situation is this will be a mammoth step up in class. They’ve squared off with only two power conference schools this season, losing to both Vanderbilt by 7 and suffering a 25 point blowout defeat at Notre Dame. As a matter of fact, there’s been only six lined games involving Stony Brook this season, and they went 0-5-1 ATS on those occasions. Contrarily, Kentucky has played six games this season against power conference teams outside of the SEC, and went 4-2 in those contests.

The strength of schedule ratings that I use shows Kentucky with a massive +13.4 advantage. Putting that number into perspective, anything +5.0 or above is considered to be a large advantage. Considering we’re talking about a NCAA Tournament game, I would be remiss not to weigh this specific handicapping aspect heavily into the equation.

 

Peaking at the Right Time
Kentucky enters “The Big Dance” having gone 5-0 SU&ATS in its last five games. They won those contests by an average of 14.0 points per outing, and each of those SEC opponents had a winning overall record. During this current win streak, the Wildcats have averaged a robust 88.4 points scored per game, shot 51.7%, converted on a spectacular 48.4% of their three point tries, and had an excellent 17/10 assist to turnover margin. Basically, they’re clicking on all cylinders, and doing so at the most opportune time. Don’t get caught up with Stony Brook holding opponents to 40.4% shooting this season. Kentucky has gone a very profitable 14-6 ATS (70%) this season when facing an opponent with a 42.0% or less defensive field goal mark.

 

Final Take and Analysis
Kentucky is just way too big and athletic for Stony Brook. Although this is an experienced Seawolves team, their basketball program has never been under the bright lights of this magnitude. I’m going to lay the sizable number for one of my NCAA Tournament picks. Play on Kentucky -14.0 (-110) over Stony Brook.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Kentucky -14
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

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