John Calipari is the master of the one-and-done era but his Kentucky Wildcats have raised just one national championship banner since the recruiting guru showed up in Lexington in 2009. Davidson is fresh off its upset win in the Atlantic 10 tournament and is looking to make noise in the Big Dance for the first time since some kid named Stephen Curry was on campus.
NCAA Tournament Odds and Betting Analysis
UK was a top 5 ranked team in the preseason but didn’t hit its stride until a few weeks ago. Big Blue Nation went 7-8 straight up in its first 15 conference games but recovered by winning seven of its last eight games including all three SEC tourney games. Kentucky won the SEC tournament for a fourth consecutive year. The Wildcats enter this March Madness matchup with a 24-10 SU record and an even 17-17 mark against the spread. The over is 7-1 in their last eight contests and 20-13 overall on the season. Kentucky is 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS in neutral site matchups, and 10-2 SU and 6-6 ATS against non-conference foes this year.
Davidson recovered well after a shaky start to its campaign. The Wildcats (yes, they’re Wildcats too) lost seven of their first 12 games but they saved their best for the last by beating the top teams in their conference en route to the school’s first Atlantic 10 tournament title. The mid major program is 21-11 SU and 18-12-1 ATS with a 13-18 over/under record on the year. Davidson went 5-6 SU and 4-6 ATS in non-conference battles, and 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS in neutral site games.
March Madness betting odds have the Wildcats set as 6-point favourites.
Davidson sports its own dynamic duo in Peyton Aldridge and Kellan Grady. The pair averaged a combined 39.5 points per game and Aldridge led the A-10 in scoring at 21.5. The Wildcats shoot better than 39 percent from 3-point land and they sport the best assist to turnover ratio in the conference. They’re a smallish team that can get beat up on the boards.
Kentucky took longer than most seasons to find its identity with a new crop of freshman leading the charge. Coach Cal let the offense run through talented wing Kevin Knox for most of the year, but the insurgence of Hamilton, Ontario native Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in late February was when Kentucky’s offense started to click. Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 18.4 points and 7.0 assists over his last seven games.