High seeds Kentucky and Kansas State will complete a full day of Round 2 action after dark in locations east of the Mississippi River. Each of these Wildcat squads are favored, but not by large amounts as they seek to avoid the upset and move on to Sweet 16.
Wake Forest will have to play big
Wake Forest (20-10, 16-11 ATS) played their most complete game in a month in taking down Texas 81-80 in OT as five-point underdogs. Guard Ishmael Smith’s last shot was a swish, which helped him finish with 19 points, 12 boards and a victory. The next task will be far more daunting and you can forgive coach Dino Gaudio for inquiring about what eligibility the Ivan Brothers have left after watching tape on Kentucky (33-2, 18-15 ATS).
The Wildcats are the biggest team in college basketball, having NBA-size in the frontcourt and they looked similarly imposing in handing East Tennessee State its exit papers 100-71 as 18.5-point favorites. Though Wake Forest’s strength is its baseline players like Al-Farouq Aminu, Kentucky is 6-0 ATS on the road versus teams who average 40 or more rebounds a game on the season. The Demon Deacons are nine-point underdogs, but that might work for them since Wake is 12-4 ATS catching points the last two seasons, losing by one point a game in that situation.
K-State out to tames Cougars offense
The other Wildcats had a similarly easy time with first round foe North Texas, as Kansas State (27-7, 20-9 ATS) turned the Mean Green into Gumby with 20-point thumping. The Wildcats guard tandem of Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen will have to not only score, but play defense against BYU (30-5, 19-13 ATS) who can match points with any team in the country.
The Cougars need two overtimes to finally frustrate Florida 99-92 and grab a fairly remarkable cover. Remarkable only begins to tell the story of Jimmer Fredette, who finished with 37 points. Fredette is the heart and soul of BYU and his point total matched Danny Ainge from 29 years ago, for tournament school record. The junior guard was clutch, with 29 of his points scored after halftime. The Kansas State guards are not dutiful defenders and the Wildcats are only 5-14 ATS when out of Manhattan versus teams outscoring opponents by eight or points a game.
K-State is 4.5-point favorite at Bookmaker.com with total of 155 and they are exquisite 7-1 ATS facing teams who make eight or more three bombs a game on the year. The Cougars will try and force the pace of the game even higher, as they are 6-0 ATS in road games when they score 81 to 86 points.