A pair of well coached and dangerous teams square off Saturday at the Rose Garden in Portland, as Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals square off against Steve Alfords New Mexico Lobos. Where are we placing our money?
Sportsbooks first opened the NCAA basketball odds with Louisville listed at -1.5 with a total of 127. Early college basketball betting action has since moved the spread to one point, while the matchup's total has risen to 128.
Lets preview this matchup and decide where us bettors should lay our NCAA Basketball picks.
The past two seasons, Rick Pitino's team
was one and done in the NCAA Tournament. In 2010 it was a 77-72 loss against
Cal that sent them packing. Then last year, the Cardinals were eliminated 62-61
by longshot Morehead State.
Thursday, the fourth-seeded Cards (27-9
SU, 20-13 ATS) said goodbye to two long years of grief, going wire to wire to
dominate a Davidson team like few have this season. They won, 69-62, and earned
another game Saturday against New Mexico (26-8 SU, 24-8 ATS), the No. 5 seed.
With the 10-ton tournament gorilla finally off its back, it will interesting to
see how Louisville performs.
Against the Wildcats, the Cards put on a
clinic on how to do all the little things right to win a basketball game.
They survived serious foul trouble by
center Gorgui Dieng and point guard Peyton Siva. They made free throws (72.2
percent). They shot the ball with wisdom and shared the basketball without
guys looking to take extra shots.
What the Cardinals did on defense
deserves a separate paragraph. Davidson scored 16 fewer points than their
season average. This was the same Wildcats team that scored 83 against
Vanderbilt and 80 against Kansas, had to work hard to score 62 against Pitino’s
squad. Davidson’s De’Mon Brooks, the Southern Conference player of the year,
scored five points, less than a third of his average.
Siva was super
Siva took the coaching. He made seven of
12 shots. Over the last five games, Siva has made 49 percent of the 59 shots he
has attempted. Before the Big East Tournament, Siva’s season field-goal
percentage was 38.8 percent.
Siva, missed 15 minutes because of foul
trouble, as well as Dieng, who sat the final 10:15 of the first half after
earning his third foul and playing only 19 minutes.
Ware is Caspar?
New Mexico guard Kendall Williams made
life miserable for Caspar Ware and the Long Beach State 49ers who were beaten
by the Lobos 75-68 in their West Region opener in Kentucky, Ware struggled to a
5 of 19 shooting performance and as it’s been throughout the year, Long Beach
goes as far as Caspar goes and this time he just ran out gas.
Williams scored 14 of his 16 points after halftime to go along with 18
points and 13 rebounds from Drew Gordon.
Against Long Beach, the Lobos shot 50
percent from the field (25 of 50) and were 33 percent from beyond the arc
(seven of 21) while hold LBSU to 4 of 16 (25 percent) from downtown.
Overall, New Mexico is sixth in the
nation in field goal percentage allowed (38.2) and 29th against the
It was definitely a day for squares on
opening day at the dance with the favorites going 11-5 overall.
It's hip to square at the NCAA basketball
tournament as favorites won the first nine games on the first full day of the
tourney, going 11-5 overall ATS. Ironically two of the three No. 1 seeds that
played on Thursday (Syracuse and Kentucky) failed to cover while No. 1 seed
Ohio State escaped with a narrow 1/5 point ATS victory over Loyola Maryland.
The total favored the ‘under’ by a
margin of 9-6-1.
Free College Basketball Pick: By winning on Thursday, the
Cardinals had a ton of pressured lifted off their shoulders. Now they should be
able play a little more carefree and I’m willing to spend a little on the new
U. It’s a small play for me and I’m going to split it between L-Ville and the