5 IND vs. 4 UK
Time: 5:15 PM CT
Spread: UK -4
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Kentucky Wildcats took care of business in its opening game, winning 85-57 over Stony Brook to advance to the round of 32. Kentucky will now face the Indiana Hoosiers and college basketball oddsmakers at 5dimes favor the Wildcats by 4 points with an over/under of 157.
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In the win over Stony Brook, Kentucky placed all five starters in double figures, led by Jamal Murray’s 19 points on 7 of 16 shooting. The Cats shot 52.4 percent from the floor as a team and held Stony Brook to just 26 percent shooting. Murray has had a fairly huge season for Kentucky, averaging 20.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and two assists per game while playing a team-high 35 minutes per game. He has averaged 3.4 made threes per game over his past five games while scoring 17 points or more in all five.
Kentucky also got a powerful game from freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe who scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while also coming up with a block and a steal. Briscoe averaged 9.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game and he has scored in double-figures in Kentucky’s past three games. In the win over then no. 17 Texas A&M on Mar 13, he had 10 points, six assists and five rebounds while playing 41 minutes in the OT thriller. He had 12 points and seven boards against Georgia prior to that as Kentucky won 93-80. The Cats may have fallen off a notch since last season due to graduating so many talents, but Kentucky is still a loaded team and rightful 4 point favorites over Indiana.
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Kentucky will need Tyler Ulis’ shooting in this game. He hit just 4 of 10 from the floor in the win over Stony Brook while failing to make any threes. He entered that game with a streak of five consecutive games with a made three. Ulis was huge in the win over Texas A&M with 30 points, five assists and three rebounds. He shot 10 of 17 from the field and knocked down 3 of 5 from three-point range.
Ulis shot just 33.8 percent from three this game, but he attempted 4.5 per game and is a vital scorer and outside shooter for Kentucky, even if he is not an elite shooter all things said. Ulis connects on 85.8 percent of his free throws, giving Kentucky a safe ball handling option late in games when teams turn to fouling.
Indiana took care of business by dispatching No. 12 seeded Chattanooga its tournament opener, winning 99-74. 6’1” senior guard Yogi Ferrell had 20 points on 6 of 13 shooting while knocking down four threes and dishing out 10 assists.
Ferrell had averaged 4.4 assists per game over the Hoosiers’ previous four contests, and he has now scored 20 points or more in three of the last five games. Ferrell shot 42.3 percent from three point range the season while averaging 17.1 points per game. The Hoosiers hit 10 of 16 from three as a team against Chattanooga, and Indiana shot 64.9 percent from the field overall.
Troy Williams came up big in the win over Chattanooga too. He had 12 points and eight rebounds and he has now scored in double figures in his past four games. Williams averaged 13 points and six boards per game this season for the Hoosiers and the 6’7” junior forward is capable of playing big. He works it inside on the offensive end to shoot 52.4 percent from the field while also knocking down 32.8 percent of his threes (1.9 attempts per game).
Freshman center Thomas Bryant is also huge for Indiana. The 6’10” 245 pound beast averaged 11.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks/steals per game for IU and he had 13 points and a pair of boards in just 18 minutes of play against Chattanooga.
Expect Williams and Bryant to be heavily involved because Ferrell is going to need their help to defeat a tough Kentucky team. NCAA basketball oddsmakers may favor Kentucky by just four points, but it is a big four because this Wildcats team seems significantly more talented than Indiana. The Hoosiers simply may have a better team concept. Either way, this should be a fantastic game in the round of 32.