Busting Brackets

Kentucky vs. Kansas State: NCAA Tournament game preview, TV schedule

BOISE, ID - MARCH 17: Hamidou Diallo
BOISE, ID - MARCH 17: Hamidou Diallo /

Many expected neither Kentucky nor Kansas to be here at the Sweet Sixteen, yet both have a good shot at getting to the Final Four now. Which team gets one step closer?

TV Schedule: Thursday, March 22, 9:37 p.m. ET. (subject to change based on ending of previous game) CBS

Arena: Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia

When the South Region was announced on Selection Sunday, there were two teams that were considered the heavy favorites to come out of the group – Virginia and Arizona.

But after Buffalo stormed a sleeping Wildcats team on opening night, 16-seeded UMBC made history and upset the Cavaliers. To make things even better for the underdogs, both Cincinnati and Tennessee bowed out in the second-round, leaving this group up for grabs.

Kentucky 26-10 looks to take advantage of the mayhem, with a much clearer path for them now. They defeated Davidson and Buffalo to get this point, with both mid-major teams not having the athletes to beat the five-star filled Wildcats.

Their best player originally came off the bench to start the season in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander but has grown into an elite freshman point guard, scoring 27 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out six assists in the win over the Bulls.

While the Wildcats are the healthiest they’ve been all season, Kansas State 24-11 has been without their leading scorer Dean Wade so far in the tournament. He’s been dealing with a nagging foot injury, that’s sidelined him against both Creighton and UMBC.

This Wildcats team from the Big 12 has had to rely on their defense to advance, giving up a tournament-best 51 ppg so far. The good news for Kansas State is that Wade will be available for Thursday’s game, albeit somewhat limited off the bench.

Next: Ranking the 4 South Region teams

Kansas State does not have the offense to keep up with Kentucky in this game. Their only hope is to make this as ugly as possible, giving them a chance in the last minutes. But the SEC Tournament champs have been playing their best basketball on both ends as of late, and will be going to the Elite Eight.

Prediction: Kentucky 77 – Kansas State 61