The Kentucky Wildcats and Oakland Golden Grizzlies will face off in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Basketball Tournament. Despite losing their first SEC Tournament game, Kentucky enters March Madness as a 3-seed, thanks to winning four Quad 1-A games in the last month of the season. Oakland won the Horizon League Tournament and will represent that league for the first time since joining in 2014. With both teams flying high as of late, here is our Kentucky vs Oakland prediction for this first-round matchup.

Below, we will preview this NCAA Tournament college basketball game, giving a Kentucky vs Oakland prediction using trends, data, and analysis. Which school will win and keep their hopes of winning the championship trophy alive?

Kentucky vs Oakland Prediction and March Madness Expert Picks

2024 NCAA Tournament
No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats (23-9) vs. No. 14 Oakland Golden Grizzlies (23-11)
Date: Thursday, March 21, 2024
Time: 7:10 PM EST
Venue: PPG Paints Arena — Pittsburgh, PA
Coverage: CBS

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Kentucky vs Oakland March Madness Odds

All college basketball betting odds for Kentucky vs Oakland can be found at BetUS Sportsbook.

Moneyline: UK: (-1100) | OAK: (+700)
Point Spread: UK: -13.5 (-110) | OAK: +13.5 (-110)
Total: Over: 163.5 (-110) | Under: 163.5 (-110)

KenPom Rankings | Bracketology

KenPom Rankings are from

Kentucky19122.7 (5)102.7 (108)72.6 (11)
Oakland137108.6 (135)105.8 (165)66.7 (232)

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  • Kentucky is 10-3 in non-conference college basketball games this season. 
  • Oakland is 5-6 in non-conference college basketball games this season. 
  • The OVER is 23-9 Kentucky’s games. 
  • The OVER is 21-13 in Oakland’s games.  
  • Kentucky is 10-1 in the Round of 64 under John Calipari.
  • Oakland is 21-13 against the spread.

Kentucky vs Oakland Prediction | March Madness Expert Picks

John Calipari’s Wildcats enter this year’s NCAA Tournament as maybe the most “low-floor, high-ceiling” teams in the field. There are nights where everything just looks easy for Kentucky’s offense, evidenced by their six games over 100 points. Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham are maybe the two best freshmen in the country and are future lottery picks, and Antonio Reeves has been a consistent presence, scoring over 20 points per game. There’s also the other side of the ball, where there are nights when Kentucky’s defense looks like one of the worst units in the country. They struggle defending ball screens, are often lost in rotations, and struggle finishing possessions with defensive rebounds. On any given night they can look like the best team in college basketball or an NIT team.

As for the Golden Grizzlies, this is a team that has for the most part been competitive against the Power-6 opponents that they’ve faced. They beat Xavier, lost by six to Ohio State on the road, and led Illinois with under 10 minutes left in Champaign. They often mix in a variety of zone defenses to slow games down and give the opposing offense different looks. Trey Townsend leads the team in scoring at 16.9, and put up 38 in the Horizon League Championship game against Milwaukee. They also have one of the most unique players in the nation, Jack Gohlke, who has attempted 327 threes to only eight shots from inside the arc.

If you are looking for a shocking upset to put on your bracket, this may be one to consider. Kentucky’s defensive woes combined with Oakland’s ability to slow games down could make this one interesting. However, there’s just too much talent and scoring ability on the Wildcats’ roster to pick against them versus a 14-seed. For our Kentucky vs Oakland prediction, we are picking the Kentucky Wildcats to win and move on in the NCAA Tournament.

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