March Madness 2012: Louisville Cardinals vs. Michigan State Spartans

No. 4 Louisville Cardinals vs. No. 1 Michigan State Spartans
Thursday, 3/22/12, 7:47 PM EST, TV:  TBS
Opening Point Spread:  Michigan State -4.5
Current Betting Line:  Michigan State -5
Opening Total:  124
Current Total:  125.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino is 9-0 SU all-time in the Sweet 16

Louisville is certainly one of the hotter teams in the 2012 NCAA tournament after capturing the Big East Conference tournament and winning its first two games in the Big Dance.  The Cardinals covered both of their wins over the Davidson Wildcats and New Mexico Lobos as six and two-point favorites respectively.  Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino will put his perfect 9-0 record in this round to the test, while hie teams are a dominating 107-39 overall in the month of March.  “He’s a Hall of Fame coach,” commented Cardinals point guard Peyton Siva.  Louisville is 6-0 ATS on a neutral court this year and the “under” is 1-5 in that situation.

The Cardinals have really defended the three-point area during the postseason, as they allowed the Lobos to connect on just 5-of-23 shots from beyond the arc in the Round of 32.  Louisville has held its other five opponents since the Big East tournament to 12 to 21 percent in that category.  Siva is certainly the team’s catalyst offensively despite averaging just 9.2 points per game, as his 191 assists are second all-time in the school record book.  Pitino enters this affair with a tremendous 40-15 record in the NCAA tournament.

Michigan State is making its 10th trip to the Sweet 16 in the last 15 seasons under head coach Tom Izzo, as Big Ten Player of the Year Draymond Green looks to lead the program to the Elite 8.  He comes in averaging 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, while combining to score 40 points and grab 25 rebounds in the first two games of the tournament.  Izzo will rely on his big guy on both ends and hopes to push his Sweet 16 record to 8-2 with a victory inside the US Airways Center in Phoenix.  Michigan State is 1-5 ATS as a neutral court favorite of 3.5 to 6 points.

The Spartans are 3-4 all-time against the Cardinals, with Izzo posting a 2-1 mark in the series.  Michigan State is a No. 1 seed for the fifth time in school history and has advanced to the Final Four in four opportunities under its current leader on the sidelines.  The Big Ten Conference has enjoyed quite a tournament up to this point and has four schools still alive.  Michigan State is shooting 57.0 percent from the field, which leads all NCAA tournament teams through two games.

Bettors will likely back the Cardinals due to their 8-3 ATS mark as an underdog, while the Spartans are 3-8 ATS as a neutral site favorite.

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