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No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Saint Peter’s: Preview, picks for first round of 2022 NCAA Tournament

The Kentucky Wildcats and Saint Peter’s Peacocks meet at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Post-game update: The St. Peter’s Peacocks upset the Kentucky Wildcats to become the 10th No. 15 seed to upset a No. 2 seed in history. See also: your bracket is probably busted.

The No. 2 seed Kentucky Wildcats are among the favorites to win the national championship, and they will begin their potential run with a East region matchup with No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s Peacocks on Thursday, March 17th. The game will get started at 7:10 p.m. ET and can be watched on CBS. Oddsmakers suggest Kentucky should pull away with an easy victory in first round.

No. 2 Kentucky: 26-7 (14-4 SEC): At-large

KenPom rating: 3 Overall, 4 Offense, 27 Defense
NET ranking: 5, (9-7 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Oscar Tshiebwe (17 ppg)
Key stat: Oscar Tshiebwe is the nation’s leading rebounder with 15.1 boards per game.

The Kentucky Wildcats have the third best odds to win it all according to DraftKings Sportsbook with one of the best offenses and best players in college basketball with Oscar Tshiebwe, who continues to put up monster numbers.

Watch for Kentucky to get the ball to Tshiebwe as often as possible as Saint Peter’s does not have a player anywhere that size in the regular rotation.

No. 15 Saint Peter’s: 19-11 (14-6 MAAC): Auto Bid

KenPom rating: 118 Overall, 259 Offense, 34 Defense
NET ranking: 124 (0-3 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Daryl Banks III (11 ppg)
Key stat: Saint Peter’s led the MAAC in opponent 3-point shooting percentage.

The Saint Peter’s Peacocks claimed the MAAC title and is riding a seven-game winning streak. They missed nearly a month between games that were postponed or canceled midway through the season but came back strong and find themselves in the NCAA Tournament since 2010-11.

Watch for Saint Peter’s to put up a fight on the glass as the Peacocks were the conference’s No. 1 team in rebounding margin.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Kentucky -18
Point total: 131.5
Moneyline: Kentucky -3800, Saint Peter’s +1600

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Saint Peter’s +18
Point total pick: Under 131.5
Pick to Win: Kentucky

Saint Peter’s is just seven spots behind Kentucky in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency, and they will need to play their best defensive game of the season to hang with Kentucky. The Peacocks play a slower style of offense, and they should run off more clock than usual to keep the number of possessions down. Their defensive intensity and style should keep Saint Peter’s within the 18 points with the under hitting as well.

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