2015 NCAA Tournament
East Region Third Round
#5 Northern Iowa Panthers vs #4 Louisville Cardinals
KeyArena- Seattle, Washington
Sunday, March 22, 2015, 9:40 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Louisville pick
Current Line: Northern Iowa -2
Opening Total: 116
Current Total: 119
Opening Money Line: Northern Iowa -120 / Louisville +100
Current Money Line: Northern Iowa -145 / Louisville +125
The 31-3 Northern Iowa Panthers take on the 25-8 Louisville Cardinals in the East Region Third Round Sunday in Seattle. This is the second ever meeting between the teams. Louisville won 51-46 in 2012 in the Bahamas. The winner will face #8 seed North Carolina State in the regional semifinal next week in Syracuse.
Northern Iowa finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference at 16-2, a game behind Wichita State. Both the Panthers and Shockers were in the top 20 for most of the season. Northern Iowa won the MVC Tournament by beating Illinois State 69-60 in the Championship game. The Panthers were given the #5 seed in the east region and beat #12 Wyoming 71-54 in the second round Friday. UNI is making their seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament and the first since 2010 when the Panthers made the Sweet 16. The Panthers went 4-2 against NCAA Tournament teams.
Louisville finished fourth in the ACC at 12-6. Louisville lost to North Carolina 70-60 in the ACC quarterfinals last Thursday. The #4 seed Cardinals escaped with a 57-55 win over #13 seed UC-Irvine in the second round Friday. Louisville is playing in their 41st NCAA Tournament with 3 national titles. The Cardinals went 4-7 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.
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Northern Iowa is coached by Ben Jacobson. The Panthers have road losses at VCU, Evansville and Wichita State. UNI has gone 20-1 in their last 21 games including 4 straight wins. UNI has home wins over North Dakota, North Florida, Richmond, George Mason, South Dakota State, Loyola-Chicago, Southern Illinois, Missouri State, Indiana State, Wichita State, Drake, Illinois State, Bradley and Evansville, neutral site wins over Virginia Tech and Northwestern in Cancun, Iowa in Des Moines, Bradley, Loyola-(Chicago) and Illinois State in the MVC Tournament, plus road wins over Stephen F. Austin, Denver, Drake, Bradley, Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Indiana State, Missouri State, and Loyola-(Chi). UNI is 20-9-3 ATS and the total is 16-12 this season. The Panthers were 6.5 point favorites against Wyoming and the total was 110.5
Louisville is coached by Rick Pitino. The Cardinals have home losses to Kentucky, Duke, NC State, and Notre Dame, road losses to North Carolina, Virginia, and Syracuse plus a neutral site loss to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. Louisville has neutral site wins over Minnesota in Puerto Rico and Indiana at Madison Square Garden, home wins over Marshall, Cleveland State, Ohio State, Florida International, CS-Northridge, Long Beach State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Miami, and Virginia, plus road wins over Western Kentucky, Wake Forest, Pitt, Boston College, Miami, Georgia Tech and Florida State. Louisville is 11-19-2 ATS and the total is 12-17 this season. The Cardinals were 8.5 point underdogs against UC-Irvine and the total was 123.5.
Northern Iowa is outscoring teams 66-54 this season. The Panthers are #4 nationally in points allowed. UNI is shooting 48.2% from the field and 40.1% from 3 point range. The Panthers are #16 or better in both categories nationally. UNI makes 73.1% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 39.3% from the field and 39.8% from 3 point range. The Panthers are #57 or better in both categories nationally. UNI averages 30.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 25.7 per game. The Panthers are #7 nationally in rebounds allowed but #320 out of 353 teams in rebounding. UNI averages 11.9 assists, 10.4 turnovers, 6 steals and 2.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.4 assists, 11.3 turnovers, 4.9 steals and 2.3 blocks per game.
Seth Tuttle averages 15.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Wes Washpun averages 7.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1 steal per game. Nate Buss averages 7.6 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Deon Mitchell averages 7.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. Five other players average at least 13 minutes a game in the rotation. Matt Bohannon is questionable with a finger injury.
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Louisville is outscoring teams 69-60 this season. The Cardinals are #20 nationally in points allowed. Louisville shoots 42.9% from the field and 30.4% from 3 point range. The Cardinls are #312 out of 353 teams in three point shooting nationally. Louisville makes 68.3% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 38.8% from the field and 29.3% from 3 point range. The Cardinals are in the top 20 nationally in both categories. Louisville averages 38.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 33.1 per game. The Cardinals are #22 nationally in rebounds but #303 in rebounds allowed. Louisville averages 11.7 assists, 11.8 turnovers, 8.3 steals and 5.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.7 assists 14.5 turnovers, 6 steals and 2.7 blocks per game.
Terry Rozier averages 17.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2 steals per game. Montrezl Harrell averages 15.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1 steal and 1.2 blocks per game. Guard Chris Jones was dismissed from the team earlier in the season. He averaged 13.7 points, 4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2 steals per game. Wayne Blackshear averages 10.9 points, 4.3 assists, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Three other players will also get significant time in the rotation.
UNI is 3-0-1 ATS in Sunday games, 4-1 in NCAA Tournament and in non-conference games, 14-4-3 after a cover, 16-5 against teams with winning records, 17-6-3 overall, 21-8 in neutral site games, and 18-7-3 and after a straight up win.
Louisville is 24-10 ATS in neutral site games, 11-5 in Sunday games, 2-6 against teams with winning records, 2-7 overall, 1-4 after a straight up win, and 1-8-2 in non-conference games.
This should be a rock fight as both teams are very physical. Louisville sometimes struggles to score especially after the loss of Jones. I think Northern Iowa pulls off the win in a low scoring game.