College Basketball Picks: Charleston Cougars vs. Louisville Cardinals

Charleston Cougars at No. 4 Louisville Cardinals
Tuesday, 12/20/11, 9:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPNU
Opening Point Spread:  Louisville -16
Current Betting Line:  Louisville -16
Opening Total:  137.5
Current Total:  138.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Louisville Cardinals will play their eighth straight game inside the KFC Yum! Center Tuesday night

Charleston carries a season-best six-game winning streak into Tuesday night’s game and is 5-2 ATS on the season.  “We are really excited about going up there,” commented Cougars guard Andrew Lawrence.  “We will be ready for Louisville.”  Senior Antwaine Wiggins will need to have a superb game offensively to give the team a shot, leading the Southern Conference in scoring average and his 18.1 points per game is 58th-best in the country.  Charleston is a tremendous 21-8 ATS as an underdog over the past two-plus seasons.

The Cougars will need Lawrence to try to hold his own in the point guard battle in this contest, facing off against Cardinals star Peyton Siva.  Both are current candidates for the 2012 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award.  Charleson is 3-4 all-time against teams ranked in the top 10 and the program should come in with plenty of confidence due to jumping out to the school’s second-best start in the Bobby Cremins era.  Don’t be surprised if this game goes to the wire due to the team posting a 4-0 record against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams already this year.

Louisville is set to play its eighth straight home games inside the KFC Yum! Center and is currently off to its best start in 15 years.  “I think the key to success is humility,” commented Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino.  “It’s obvious that if you’re 10-0 and ranked fourth in the country you’re pretty darn good.”  The Cardinals will be looking to win their 19th consecutive home games, while the squad is 28-2 all-time in Tuesday night’s venue.  Louisville is 0-3 ATS as a home favorite of 15.5 to 18 points the last two-plus years.

The Cardinals are allowing just 56.1 points per game, which is fifth best in the nation and is 13th in the country in outscoring opponents by a 17.8-point margin.  Louisville has collected a 13-6 all-time mark against Southern Conference members, while pikcing up a 78-63 win over Charleston in the only series meeting in the championship game of the 2005 Minardi Classic on Dec. 21, 2005 in Freedom Hall.

Bettors will likely back the Cougars due to their 32-13-1 ATS mark on the road, while the Cardinals are 1-4-1 ATS versus teams with a winning record.

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