Stony Brook was looking like a possible Cinderella to keep an eye on, but then the bracket came out and the Seawolves drew a Kentucky team coming in off five-straight wins including the SEC Tournament title. The Wildcats are scoring for fun right now and are a legitimate threat to reach the Final 4, which is nothing new for them.
Stony Brook has faced some high-level competition this year, but fell short in all of those instances. They only lost by seven at Vanderbilt early in the year, but had no answers in a 25-point loss at Notre Dame. Kentucky presents a similar attack as Notre Dame did on the offensive end, with a great backcOurt and multiple guys that can be thrown at Jameel Warney.
Kentucky is a much different team than it was earlier in the season and John Calipari has his team rolling at the right time as usual. Their main focus will be on stopping Stony Brook’s Jameel Warney, who averages 19.8 points and 10.7 boards per Game. Warney is a monster and has had success in every Game this year, no matter the result for his team. The problem, as seen in the America East Tournament, is that he doesn’t have enough help to take down a team like Kentucky.
In the final against Vermont, Warney went for 43 points and 10 boards with guard Carson Puriefoy scoring 23. OUtside of those two, no one had more than six points and they didn’t get any scoring from the bench. Doing that and winning is possible against the America East, but doing that against Kentucky won’t bring a win. The Seawolves have a solid defense, but much like that Notre Dame Game, they will be completely outmatched on that end and this Game could get out of hand.
Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray haven’t been stopped by anyone in the SEC so it’s hard to see how Stony Brook will do so. Ulis dropped 30 points last Game against Texas A&M and is in the conversation for National Player of the Year, while Murray has become one of the best pure scorers in the country. In addition, freshman Skal LAbissiere has become more of a factor and could be an important piece in this Tournament. Alex Poythress and Derek Willis are two more guys that will have advantages in this Game. Kentucky scored 93 points against George in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament and could easily hit that number here.
But will the Seawolves be able to keep up and cover? Even if Warney and Puriefoy get 20 apiece, where will the rest of the scoring come from? Third-leading scorer Rayshaun McGrew struggled in the America East Tournament, scoring just 18 points in three Games, while Ahmad Walker does a little bit of everything. The Seawolves will need someone like LUcas Woodhouse to catch fire from deep, otherwise, Kentucky is going to Scoretoo many points for them to stay competitive.
Warney and Puriefoy are a great duo, but the Wildcats can match them with Ulis and Murray in the scoring department and have much better supporting pieces. If Puriefoy isn’t hitting shots, this Game could be over early.
Our Pick – Kentucky -14.5