Kentucky vs. Providence: 2023 NCAA Tournament Odds, Preview & Predictions

Mar 12, 2023 - 11:39 PM

March Madness is officially here! The 2023 NCAA Tournament Bracket has been announced, and the teams are lining up for the Big Dance. Let’s take a look at the early odds, preview, and predictions for the 2023 NCAA Tournament Round 1 game: Kentucky vs. Providence.

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2023 NCAA Tournament Guide (March Madness)

2023 March Madness Odds, Preview & Predictions: Kentucky vs. Providence

Kentucky vs. Providence Odds, Spread & Match Up Overview

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Kentucky 2023 NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

Ranking fourth in the preseason AP poll led to high expectations for John Calipari and Co. Oscar Tshiebwe was returning, and with the surrounding cast of talent, the sky seemed to be the limit after last year’s disappointing first-round exit. But this season has been anything but great for Kentucky. The Wildcats struggled early, dropping games to Michigan State, Gonzaga and UCLA, and failing to earn a victory against a top-25 KenPom team until after New Year’s Day. Losses to South Carolina and Georgia are awfully concerning for Kentucky’s tournament hopes, especially considering the question marks the Wildcats have on the injury front with Cason Wallace and Sahvir Wheeler banged up.

Still, I see this team having a higher ceiling than its same-seeded counterparts. Kentucky’s interior scoring and physicality on the glass — it ranks in the top 10 in offensive rebound rate — gives me confidence the Wildcats can hang tough against any team, even if they struggle with their shooting. Antonio Reeves is a sharpshooter, and Jacob Toppin is a dynamic forward. Defensively, this team has some holes. Kentucky rarely forces turnovers and doesn’t exactly excel anywhere on the defensive end.

When Kentucky is playing its best basketball, it can play with the best of them. But we have rarely seen that happen this season, if at all. There isn’t much evidence to make us believe Kentucky will suddenly start playing like a Final Four team now — especially not with the injuries that have hit this team.

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Providence 2023 NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

Ed Cooley has done it again, leading Providence to yet another March Madness appearance. The Friars aren’t a 5-seed like they were last season, but this is an offensively powered team that has wins over some of the best teams in the Big East.

Bryce Hopkins is awesome but Providence is really powered by the quartet of Hopkins, Devin Carter, Ed Croswell and Jared Bynum — all high-usage options who propel a high-powered offense. Providence gets a lot of looks in the interior and is physical on the boards with a top-25 offensive rebound rate. The Friars have a strong record in close games and avoid foul trouble, but they allow a lot of near-proximity looks.

Providence ranks in the top 100 in both the consistency metric and the away-from-home metric, so I feel comfortable with this experienced team and experienced coach in a quick-turnaround game in the second round of the tournament. The Friars’ ceiling isn’t too high due to a defense that ranks outside the top 100, but they are easily capable of a win or two in the tournament.

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