College Hoops Big East Betting: Cincinnati Bearcats at #8 Louisville Cardinals

Cincinnati Bearcats at #8 Louisville Cardinals
Monday, March 4, 2013, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
KFC YUM! Center – Louisville, Kentucky
Opening Line: Louisville -10
Current Line: Louisville -10 1/2
Opening Total: 122
Current Total: 120 1/2
Opening Money Line: Louisville -600 / Cincinnati +475
Current Money Line: Louisville -700 / Cincinnati +550

Louisville is a 10.5 point favorite at home against Cincinnati Monday night.
Louisville is a 10.5 point favorite at home against Cincinnati Monday night.

Although both Cincinnati and Louisville are safely in the NCAA tournament according to most experts, both teams are trying to improve their seeding for next week’s Big East tournament. The 24-5 Louisville Cardinals are 12-4 in the Big East. The Cardinals are tied with Marquette for second, and both teams are a game behind 13-3 Georgetown. Cincinnati is 20-9 overall and 8-8 in conference. The Bearcats are tied for 9th with St. John’s and Providence.

Louisville leads the series 54-42 against Cincinnati, including 30-15 in Louisville. The Cardinals won the last meeting last season in the Big East Championship game 50-44 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This is the only scheduled meeting between the schools unless they meet in the post-season.

Cincinnati is led by coach Mick Cronin. After a 12-0 start, the Bearcats have gone 8-9 since then. Cincinnati has losses at home to New Mexico, St. John’s, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and Georgetown along with road losses at Syracuse, Providence, Notre Dame and Connecticut. All losses except for Notre Dame are by 10 points or less. and 4 of them were by 4 points or less.  Cincinnati has key wins over Iowa St and Oregon in a tournament in Las Vegas, Alabama, Marshall, Xavier, at Pitt, at Rutgers, at Depaul, Marquette, Rutgers, at Seton Hall, Villanova and UConn Saturday 61-56. The UConn win snapped a 3 game losing streak for the Bearcats.  The Bearcats are 10-15 ATS and the total is 4-18 this season.

Cincinnati is outscoring teams 68-59. The Bearcats are #27 in points allowed. Cincinnati is shooting 40.4% from the field and 31.7% from 3 point range. The Bearcats make 64.3% of their free throws. They are #274 or worse in the country out of 347 teams in all three shooting categories. Cincinnati is sixth in rebounding nationally with 40.6 per game, and the Bearcats give up 29.9 per game to opponents. Cincinnati opponents are shooting 38.4% from the field and 30% from 3 point range. The Bearcats are #16 in the former and #26 in the latter. Cincinnati averages 13 assists, 7 steals, 6 blocks, and 12 turnovers.

Bearcats’ guard Sean Kilpatrick averages 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Guard Cashmere Wright averages 12.6 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Guard JaQuon Parker averages 11 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. Forward Titus Rubles averages 6.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Jeremiah Davis III, Cheikh Mbodj, Justin Jackson, David Nyarsuk, Shaquille Thomas, Jermaine Sanders, and Ge’Lawn Guyn make up the rest of the rotation. Jackson is out with a foot injury, and Davis is out indefinitely with a broken wrist.

Louisville is coached by Rick Pitino. The Cardinals have losses to Duke in a tournament in the Bahamas, at home to Syracuse, and at Villanova, Georgetown, and Notre Dame. Louisville has won 8 of their last 9 games including 5 in a row since the Notre Dame loss in five overtimes. The Cardinals have key wins over Northern Iowa & Missouri in the Bahamas, Illinois St, College of Charleston, at Memphis, Western Kentucky, at Kentucky, Providence, South Florida twice, Seton Hall twice, at UConn, Pitt, Marquette, at Rutgers, St. John’s, at Depaul, and at Syracuse Saturday 58-53. The Cardinals are 15-14 ATS and the total is 10-13 this season.

Louisville is outscoring teams 74-58 this season. The Cardinals are 44th or better in both categories. Louisville is shooting 44.3% from the field and 32.2% from 3 point range. The Cardinals make 70.6% of their free throws. Louisville averages 38.2 rebounds per game and allows 30.9. Louisville is #35 nationally in rebounding. Cardinal opponents are shooting 38.9% from the field and 31.3% from 3 point range.

Guard Russ Smith averages 18.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Forward Chane Behanan averages 10.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Center Gorgui Dieng averages 9.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.4 steals, and 2.6 blocks per game. Guard Peyton Siva averages 9.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals per game. Guard /forward Wayne Blackshear averages 8.4 points, and 3.4 rebounds. Luke Hancock averages 7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1 steal per game. Montrezi Harrell, Kevin Ware, and Stephan Van Treese make up the rest of the rotation. Center Mangok Mathiang and guard Mike Marra have missed the entire season.

Cincinnati is 16-7 ATS in road games, and against teams with winning home records, 2-7 after a straight up win, 1-4 after failing to cover, 0-4 against teams with winning records, overall, and against Big East teams. The road team is 6-2 ATS in this series recently. The Bearcats are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 against Louisville, and 4-1 in Louisville.

Louisville is 7-2 ATS in Monday games, 28-11 after a straight up win, 20-9 after a cover, and 1-4 at home. The last 5 games in this series have gone under the total, and so have the last 4 games in Louisville in the series. The favorite is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 in the series.

Louisville has a shot at both the Big East title and perhaps even a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. While Cincinnati has a solid shoot at making the NCAA tournament, a road win over a top ten Louisville team would almost certainly punch their ticket.  Still I think Louisville wins at home.

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