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A trip to the Elite Eight is on the line when No. 5 seed Kentucky squares off against ninth-seeded Kansas State at 8:40 p.m. ET on Thursday. UK (26-10) opened as 5.5-point favorites in this 2018 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 showdown. The over-under, or total points Vegas believes will be scored, is 138.5.
Before you make a pick on this matchup that determines who heads to the Elite Eight, you need to see what SportsLine’s advanced simulations have to say.
This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, enters the 2018 Sweet 16 on a blistering 15-3 run on its NCAA Tournament picks.
That wasn’t a fluke, either. Their model crushed college basketball last season, producing a 755-636-20 record on its A-rated picks and returning a massive profit of $6,529 for any $100 player who followed them. Anybody who has followed it is up huge.
The Wildcats returned just about every key player from a team that won 21 games and reached the NCAA Tournament last season, winning a first-four game against Wake Forest. Yet when the preseason poll was released in October, the Wildcats were picked to finish eighth in the Big 12.
A week after griping about Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament draw, coach John Calipari’s team is the highest seed left in the South region, and the Wildcats have a great opportunity to get to their fifth Final Four under Calipari.
Kansas State is the next in their path after a favorable first-weekend draw, and coach Bruce Weber has a team in the Sweet 16 for the first time since leading Illinois to the national championship game in 2005. Kentucky is a 5.5-point favorite in this one, and that number could move up before Thursday’s game.