Big East Tournament Championship Betting: UConn vs. Louisville

Big East Tournament Championship
#9 Connecticut Huskies vs. #3 Louisville Cardinals, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Saturday, March 12, 2011, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Louisville -1
Current Line: Louisville -2.5
Opening Total: 135
Current Total: 134.5
Money Line: Louisville -135 / UConn +115

Connecticut Louisville Big East Championship Preview
UConn's Kemba Walker has already scored more points than any player in any Big East tourney.

Two unlikely foes will square off on Saturday night in the Big East Conference tournament championship game at Madison Square Garden, as the ninth-seeded Connecticut Huskies (25-9) meet the third-seeded Louisville Cardinals (25-8).  Neither team was given much of a chance to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, but both have been extremely impressive during their respective runs to the title game, capped by overtime wins on Friday.

The Huskies have been led by junior star guard Kemba Walker, who has already set the Big East tournament scoring record in the first four games.  Walker has 111 points and set the new mark by halftime of a 76-71 win over #4 Syracuse in one overtime.  The last time these teams met two years ago in the tournament, the Orange took out UConn 127-117 in six overtimes.

Walker finished the semifinal victory with a game-high 33 points and also dominated in other phases of the game, grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with six steals.  He was a completely different player than the one who scored a season-low eight points in the last meeting with Syracuse, resulting in a 66-58 home loss back on December 2.  The Huskies had lost four of their last five games both straight-up and against the spread to end the regular season but have bounced back nicely by winning four in a row.

Louisville (-2.5) has covered its last seven games, winning six of them straight-up.  The team’s only loss during that stretch was a 72-70 setback at West Virginia, one of just two games over the past eight that have OVER the total.  The other was an 83-77 overtime victory against #2 Notre Dame in the semifinals, the fifth time in the last eight meetings that required OT.

The Cardinals trailed 46-32 at halftime but rallied back behind Preston Knowles, who scored the game’s final eight points in regulation and two more in the extra session to finish with a team-high 20.  They also held Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough to 13 points on 3 of 16 shooting and made just one less 3-pointer than the Fighting Irish.

Connecticut has struggled against Louisville over the last couple years, losing the last four meetings both SU and ATS.  The OVER is 3-1 in those games and 4-0 in the past four for the Huskies overall.  The Cardinals won the last two home meetings by 13 points apiece and topped UConn on the road in two games by a combined three points.  To make matters worse for the Huskies, no college basketball team has ever won five games in five days of a conference tournament, something they will be trying to achieve against Louisville.

Our Big East college basketball handicappers are red hot heading into the NCAA tournament. Don’t miss out on any more basketball betting winners this season.

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