Looking extremely worthy of that number one overall seed, the Cardinals next face the surprising Wichita State Shockers in the Final Four. Will they cash as double-digit favorites?
Wichita State vs. Louisville
The college basketball odds for Saturday's festivities have
been out for quite a while now and there hasn't been much movement.
Pretty much everywhere you look, the Cardinals are favored
by 10.5 points, while the total has been locked in at 131.5.
Wichita State Shockers
Give credit where credit is due. The Shockers have turned up
the heat in the Big Dance, winning straight up and against the spread in all
four of their tournament games thus far.
It started with a 18-point dismantling of Pittsburgh in the
opening round. Then, Wichita State sent #1 seed Gonzaga packing (76-70) in the
next round, setting up a date with La Salle, another surprise Sweet 16
participant. The Shockers cruised to a 72-58 win to book their spot in the
Elite Eight against Ohio State.
Many felt it was to be the end of the road for Wichita
State, but the team had other ideas. They jumped out to a 36-22 halftime lead
and survived a second-half run from the Buckeyes to win by four.
A balanced scoring effort was key in the Shockers' success.
They got 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals out of
Malcolm Armstead, but five other players ended up with at least eight points
Obviously these guys are doing everything well at the
moment, which is why they are where they are. They're getting quality looks on
offense, playing high-level defense, and are rebounding at a great rate. But
will they meet their maker on Saturday?
As if the Cardinals didn't have enough motivation, a
horrific injury to Kevin Ware has added even more fuel to the fire.
Ware broke his leg in gruesome fashion in Louisville's
dominant Elite Eight win over Duke, and while that game took an emotional toll
on Rick Pitino's guys, they've had a full week to recover and prepare for this
Final Four showdown.
The Cardinals, as everyone knows, are the absolute cream of
the crop right now. They've won 14 straight games dating back to the regular
season, including a sweep of the competition in the NCAA Big East tournament.
Louisville has been making great teams look pedestrian, and
that was especially true in the win over the Blue Devils. Russ Smith and Peyton
Siva totaled 39 points between them and Gorgui Dieng had 14 points, 11 rebounds
and four blocks, as the Cardinals shot 52.7 percent while holding Duke to 36.5
At this point, it truly is difficult to envision any other
team winning the national championship.
College Basketball Pick
What a dream run it's been for the Shockers, but we have to
side with the favorites to come through this weekend.
No team has looked as dominant as the Cardinals, and now
they have even more emotion on their side after the injury to Ware. This is a
team on a mission and they're blitzing through every obstacle that's been in
We like what Wichita State brings to the table, with
Armstead showing supreme confidence on the perimeter and Hall and Early
combining to cause havoc everywhere, but Louisville matches up extremely well.
They've got both Smith and Siva playing at an amazing level, while Dieng is going
to cause a lot of problems down low.
So, when it comes down to making our final NCAA basketball
picks, we have to roll with Louisville to cover, in spite of the high spread.
This team has just been too good.
Free Pick: Louisville Cardinals -10.5 at Pinnacle