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Kentucky battles WVU: Sweet 16 Matchup

The top-seeded Kentucky Wildcats will face the fifth-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in six years when they square off Thursday in the second Sweet 16 matchup of the Midwest Region in Cleveland.

The Wildcats were the No. 1 seed and led by John Wall, Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins when they were upset by the second-seeded Mountaineers 73-66 as 4-point favorites in the East Regional Final back in 2010. West Virginia went on to lose to the eventual NCAA champion Duke Blue Devils in the national semifinals.

This year, Kentucky has remained unbeaten at 36-0 by topping the 16th-seeded Hampton Pirates and the eighth-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats in the first two games but did not cover the spread against either opponent. They remain even odds to win it all over at Bovada, who took four times as many futures bets on UK than any other team.

The Wildcats are coming off a 64-51 victory against the Bearcats in the Round of 32 on Saturday and fell just short of covering as 15.5-point favorites after Cincy scored the last six points of the game. Kentucky is allowing an average of 53.5 points per game so far in the Big Dance.

The Mountaineers knocked out the fourth-seeded Maryland Terrapins 69-59 in impressive fashion to advance on Sunday, getting four players to score in double figures, led by Devin Williams with a game-high 16 points and 10 rebounds. West Virginia has covered seven of its last nine games after failing to beat the number in four straight. (Watch for the best WVU dog line at BetOnline before tipoff.

West Virginia Mountaineers vs Kentucky Wildcats Odds and Stats.

Team Betting Records & Power Rankings

The Kentucky Wildcats sit at 36-0 (19-15-2 ATS) on the college basketball season. By comparison, the West Virginia Mountaineers are currently 25-9 (20-13 ATS). Looking to bet on the total points scored? Kentucky is 15-21 OU, and West Virginia is 16-12 OU.

The Power Rankings at Odds Shark show No. 69-rated West Virginia Mountaineers taking on the No. 2-rated Kentucky Wildcats in this contest.

How West Virginia Mountaineers vs Kentucky Wildcats Stats Matchup

Rebounding is always a key handicapping betting consideration and West Virginia is ranked No. 52 in NCAA basketball at 36.47 per game. Contrast that with Kentucky's No. 10 mark in the paint. When it comes to three-point shooting, Kentucky is the No. 203-ranked team in the country at 5.33 per game, while West Virginia rates No. 103 at 6.62 per game.

Recent Outings Betting Recap

The Mountaineers grabbed a 69-59 win over the Terrapins on Sunday, behind a 16-point effort from Devin Williams at Nationwide Arena.

Kentucky got 13 points from Aaron Harrison en route to a 64-51 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday at KFC Yum! Center.

Sweet 16 Betting Trends:

5 seeds just 6-19 SU vs top seeds since 1996, but 2-1 past three times

West Virginia 7-2 ATS past nine games, 4-1 ATS in Sweet 16 round

West Virginia just fourth time since 2004 as underdog of 13 or more

Kentucky 8-2-1 ATS past 11 as double-digit favorite

Kentucky is 10-2 SU, 9-3 ATS in Sweet 16 since 1996

West Virginia 9-2 ATS as Madness underdog