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Kentucky Looks for First Cover in NCAA Tournament

March 26, 2015

The West Virginia Mountaineers did everything they way they were supposed to – they won and covered each of their first two games in the NCAA Tournament to reach the Sweet 16. However, their prize for doing so is a game on Thursday against the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats. Odds makers have Kentucky as 13.5-point chalk with the point total sitting comfortably at 136.5.

West Virginia this season is 25-9 straight up and 19-13 against the spread. The Mountaineers ended their regular season losing three of their final four games, but things changed last week.

Buffalo gave the Mountaineers a fight, but ultimately the Big 12 school won 68-62 to cover a favorite spread of 4.5 points in the round of 64. Then playing as short chalk against Maryland, the aggressive Mountaineers defense took control of the game and West Virginia went on to win by 10 to reach the Sweet 16.

West Virginia on the season is 21-0 when holding its opponents to less than 70 points.

Kentucky is 36-0 SU and 19-15-2 ATS. The Kentucky offense was held under 70 points against a tough Cincinnati defense in the round of 32.

Kentucky holds onto the ball very well, but the West Virginia defense forces the most turnovers of any team in the nation. However, Kentucky is averaging just 10.6 per game. Andrew Harrison has lowered his turnovers this season from last and Tyler Ulis a freshman just does not turn the ball over.

Combined West Virginia and Kentucky games are 3-1 on the UNDER over the first four games.

Kentucky has yet to cover in its first two games of the tournament. The Wildcats just missed a cover as 15-point chalk versus Cincinnati and Hampton was able to easily stay within the 34-point spread in Kentucky’s first game.

Kentucky is too talented for the defensive minded Mountaineers. Nevertheless, the 13.5-point line looks inflated. With the West Virginia struggling in its half court offense and Kentucky’s overall strong defense, the lean is towards the UNDER.