NCAA Regional Semi-Final Kentucky vs. Kansas State: Preview and Prediction

Kentucky-Kansas State Preview!

(9) Kansas State vs. (5) Kentucky

Date: Thursday, March 22
Game Time: 9:37 ET
Venue: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Network: CBS

This is a matchup nobody saw coming. Just a week ago, Kentucky fans were complaining about having to play Arizona and Villanova. Now they look like they may have the easiest path of anybody to the Final Four. If the first week of this tournament showed us anything, there’s no sure thing during March Madness.

Keys to Kansas State win?

The Wildcats are a gritty defensive team that find ways to win games. They were dominant on the defensive side of the ball during the first two rounds. On offensive, they were inept at best shooting just 1-12 behind the three-point line against UMBC. How do they win? A suffocating defense is how. But at some point they’ll need  to make some shots to upset Kentucky. The Cats of K-State are 23-11 and went 10-8 in Big 12 play. Kansas State is ranked 38th in KenPom and 53rd in the RPI, so they’re by no means a slouch. They can win this game. The Wildcats best player, Dean Wade, has been out. If he returns to the lineup, Kansas State’s chances of winning will improve significantly.

How Does Kentucky win?

Kentucky, as is their norm, has been improving at the end of the year. This is a by-product of having a young team. The Wildcats might be getting Jarred Vanderbilt back. He missed the entire SEC Tournament. Vanderbilt was Kentucky’s leading rebounder. There an entirely different team with him in the line-up. If Vanderbilt is healthy, the combination of Kentucky’s perimeter defense and Vanderbilt’s rebounding would make this a possible blow out for Kentucky.

Prediction: I think Vanderbilt may see limited minutes in this game. With that being said, I do think Kansas State will keep this game close. It does look like Dean Wade will be back in the Kansas State line-up. But just like in the case of Vanderbilt, the big question will be how healthy is he? With all these factors, I feel the more solid case can be made for Kentucky.

Kentucky 67  Kansas State 60

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