NCAA Tournament | Previewing 5-Seed UK vs. 13-Seed Buffalo

03/16/2018 07:18 PM

The fifth-seeded Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team (25-10) held practice Friday prior to their second-round NCAA Tournament match-up against the Buffalo Bulls (27-8). The round of 32 game between the two will be played in Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. on the campus of Boise State University.

The Bulls already beat the Wildcats one as they pulled off the biggest upset not just in the South Region, but in the entire bracket at that point, beating Sean Miller’s fourth-seeded Arizona Wildcats and their star freshman forward- future first-rounder Deandre Ayton. The Bulls defeated the Wildcats 89-68 in the final game of the night in Boise, following Kentucky’s win over Davidson.

The Kentucky Wildcats handled the 12th-seeded Davidson Wildcats as the were projected to- 78-73 Thursday night.

ESPN’s match-up predictor gives Kentucky a 75.7 percent chance to win it all, despite only being favored by five-and-a-half points.

Freshman forward Kevin Knox leads UK in scoring, averaging 15.9 points per game, shooting 44.5 percent from field goal range and 77.2 percent from the free-throw line. For the Bulls, it’s junior guard CJ Massinburg who averages 16.9 PPG and shoots 47.1 percent from FG range, 74.1 percent from the charity stripe.

On the boards, Massinburg leads Buffalo as well. he averages 7.3 rebounds per game- 5.1 on the defensive end. For the Cats, it’s freshman forward PJ Washington. He averages 5.4 RPG- 3.7 on defense.

As a team, the two show similarities statistically. Buffalo averages 84.9 PPG, while Kentucky averages 76.8. Buffalo shoots 47.6 percent from the field to UK’s 47. Buffalo barely holds the edge on the glass- 38.8 RPG versus Kentucky’s 38.7. The Bulls share the ball- notching 16.8 assists per game. UK averages 13.5. The Wildcats’ size advance gives them the edge in blocks per game- averaging 4.8 to 4.1. The veteran Buffalo squad averages 6.3 steals a game, while the Cats average 5.6. Buffalo is riding a seven game winning streak into the round of 32, while UK has four and counting.

The two blue and white squads square off Saturday at 5:15 p.m. eastern inside Taco Bell Arena. The game will be broadcast on CBS and winner gets a trip to the Sweet 16 and will face either No. 1 Virginia, 16-seed UMBC, eight-seed Creighton or nine-seed Kansas State in Atlanta’s Phillips Arena.

Prior to their closed practices at Taco Bell Arena, both locker rooms were open to the media. The Kentucky players explained what they’ve seen from Buffalo last night and on tape:

The Buffalo Bulls, while they’re a lower seed, don’t feel like they’re the underdogs in the match-up:

Lyndsey Gough

Lyndsey is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News. You can catch Lyndsey’s work on Sports Night, the only nightly show dedicated to covering everything from high school to college sports in Kentucky. She loves covering all sports but it’s the personal stories that really stand out to Lyndsey, like the story of a community coming together to remember high school track start Trinity Gay who was killed. Lyndsey came to Spectrum News from WBKO in Bowling Green where she was an Anchor, Reporter and Producer covering news and sports. She’s a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of UK. Sports Night airs at 6:30 and 10:30 weeknights on Spectrum News. If you have a story idea for Lyndsey email her at Lyndsey.gough@charter.com.

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