State has earned its way to Sweet 16 game vs Kentucky

State has earned its way to Sweet 16 game vs Kentucky

Kentucky is listed as a 5.5-point favorite and has the most talent of any team left in the South after the top four seeds were all eliminated over the weekend.

But the Wildcats would prefer to have their leading scorer and best all-round player back in the starting lineup when they play Kentucky on Thursday in Atlanta.

First up, Kansas State because they sent UMBC back to Baltimore in a "defensive" struggle that ended with a 50-43 KSU win.

The Kentucky Wildcats have faced the KSU Wildcats nine times, winning every game. The Sagarin Ratings has published a end of season ranking based on how teams have finished, and Sagarin has Kentucky sitting atop the list of all the sweet 16 members.

No one could have predicted the bracket-busting carnage that enveloped the South Region in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. But many fans were still wary about a coach who was contemplating a job with the College of Charleston when Kansas State called. Knox averages 15.6 points and 5.3 rebounds and is a true inside-out threat.

On the season, Kentucky basketball averages 77.3 points, 38.8 rebounds and 13.5 assists per game. Defensively, Kansas State yields 66.9 points per game against the opposing teams.

Under is 5-1 in Wildcats last 6 neutral site games.

My goodness, the NCAA Tournament landscape changed for the Kentucky Wildcats over the course of four days. "That's pretty much where coach was coming from on that", said Kansas State junior guard Kamau Stokes.

Dean Wade says he's "98 percent" sure he'll play against Kentucky in the Sweet 16.

McCarty played for the Wildcats from 1993-96 and averaged at least 10 points per game in two separate seasons. Kentucky enters Friday night's matchup riding a five-game winning streak. They believed they had stacked the deck and placed sufficient obstacles to Kentucky's progress in place, but the best laid plans of mice and men are often taken apart by providence. If Gilgeous-Alexander can control the tempo and attack the rim the way he did in those games, Kansas State will have a tough time finding a way to counteract it.

Indeed, the Sweet 16 trip is the first for Kansas State since 2010, when Martin and Jacob Pullen led the second-seeded Wildcats to the Elite Eight before falling to Butler.