College Basketball AAC Betting Preview: (14) Louisville Cardinals at Connecticut Huskies

Shabazz-Napier-connecticut-12-3(14) Louisville at UConn
Time: 9 PM ET, Jan 18, 2014
Spread: LOU -2.5

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The No. 14 ranked Louisville Cardinals are 15-3 on the season and 4-1 in AAC play. The Cardinals will travel to Connecticut to face the Huskies in a game that college basketball oddsmakers are favoring Louisville by 2.5-points.

The line on this game is tricky, and there’s a couple reasons for that. The Cardinals are without its starting point guard Chris Jones, and UConn’s guard Ryan Boatright is questionable for the game after his cousin was fatally shot on Monday. Boatright appeared listless, and understandably so, in the Huskies win over Memphis on Thursday night, scoring just seven points while wearing his cousin’s initials written on his cheek.

The Cards also played on Thursday night and destroyed Houston 91-52. The Cardinals have been putting up big offensive numbers and rank 16th among D-1 schools in scoring (83.4 points per game). The three losses the Cardinals have suffered this season all came at the hands of ranked opponents; and Louisville is in fact 0-3 vs ranked opponents.

Russ Smith has been sensational again this season for the Cardinals. Last year as a junior he averaged 18.7 points per game and he’s on about the same pace this season (18.1). His biggest improvements in this senior season have come in his efficiency and playmaking. Smith is shooting nearly 4 percent better from the floor (45.3 this season) and 6 percent better from three (38.8) while also dishing out nearly five assists per game. He struggled somewhat in the loss to then-No. 24 Memphis on Jan 9, hitting just 6-of-15 from the floor, but he’s been very consistent for the most part and will be a tough matchup for the Huskies.

UConn is riding a three-game win streak and coming off a win over Memphis. Despite facing a ranked opponent, the Huskies can remain confident. It’s already knocked off a tough Florida team on Dec 2 and is 2-0 (including the Memphis game) vs ranked opponents. The losses to Stanford, Houston and SMU highlight the inconstancy of the team but Shabazz Napier and the Huskies are a tough matchup for Louisville and this game should prove every bit as close as the college basketball odds predicted it would be.

Louisville Trends: OVER 8-2 in last 10 Saturday games; OVER 18-6 in last 24 overall.

UConn Trends: UNDER 7-1 in last 8 home games; 9-3 ATS in last 12 Saturday games.

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