College Basketball Picks: Long Beach State 49ers vs. Louisville Cardinals

Long Beach State 49ers at No. 7 Louisville Cardinals
Monday, 11/28/11, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPNU
Opening Point Spread:  Louisville -10.5
Current Betting Line:  Louisville -9.5
Opening Total:  134.5
Current Total:  133
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Louisville Morehead State NCAA Tournament Preview
The Louisville Cardinals are off to a 5-0 start for the second consecutive year

Long Beach State suffered a 73-71 loss to the Montana Grizzlies as three-point road favorites on Saturday, continuing one of the toughest non-conference schedules in school history.  The 49ers will be playing five teams ranked in the top 17 of this week’s AP poll.  The school made some serious noise in the national landscape by handing the Pittsburgh Panthers an 86-76 home loss on Nov. 16.  Long Beach State is 17-13 ATS as an underdog the past two-plus years and the ‘over’ is 15-10 in that situation.

The 49ers brought in an experienced group this season, with active Big West Conference leaders in points, rebounds, assists, steals and field goals made.  Senior point guard Casper Ware has been named to the John Wooden Award Top 50 List, while also joining Larry Anderson on the 2011-12 Lou Henson Preseason All-America Team.  Ware leads the team in averaging 18.8 points per game, but has missed 16 of his last 21 field-goal attempts over the past two games.

Louisville is set to play its third straight game in the KFC Yum! Center and comes off a 59-54 win over the Ohio Bobcats as 16-point home favorites.  The Cardinals have been hampered by injuries for most of the season thus far, as five players have missed time on the floor.  “We’re in survival mode right now is all we’re trying to do,” stated Cardinals coach Rick Pitino.  It hasn’t stopped the program from starting 5-0 for the second consecutive season for the first time since the 1954-55 and 1955-56 campaigns.  Louisville is 24-25 ATS as a favorite the last two-plus seasons.

The Cardinals have tallied 13 consecutive home victories and gone 23-2 in the second year inside their new venue.  Louisville has been led by a defense that has limited opponents to 54 or fewer points in all five outings.  The unit has allowed 60 points or fewer in seven straight home games and nine of ten dating back to last season.  Senior forward Kyle Kuric is leading the team as the only double-digit scorer, averaging 13.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

Bettors will likely back the Cardinals due to their 7-3 ATS run as a home favorite, while the 49ers are 5-11 ATS as a road underdog of 7 to 12.5 points.

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