Midwest Region Second Round Betting Preview: #13 Manhattan Jaspers vs #4 Louisville Cardinals

2014 NCAA Tournament
Midwest Region – Second Round

Amway Center – Orlando, Florida
#13 Manhatttan Jaspers vs #4 Louisville Cardinals
Thursday, March 20, 2014, 9:50 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Louisville -15 1/2
Current Line: Louisville -16 1/2
Opening Total: 144 1/2
Current Total: 142 1/2
Opening Money Line: Louisville -2500 / Manhattan +1300
Current Money Line: Louisville -3000 / Manhattan +1500 

Louisville is a 16 point favorite over Manhattan in the Midwesst Region second round in Orlando Thursday.
Louisville is a 16 point favorite over Manhattan in the Midwesst Region second round in Orlando Thursday.

Many thought the 29-5 Louisville Cardinals who have won 12 of their last 13 games would be in the discussion for one of the four #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals tied with Cincinnati for the American Athletic Conference regular season title and beat UConn 71-61 in the AAC Championship game. Most experts thought Louisville would be no worse than a 2 or a 3 seed. Everyone was shocked when the brackets came out Sunday and the Cardinals were the #4 seed in the Midwest region. It was because of thee perceived weakness of the AAC, which has 5 good teams and 5 mediocre to bad teams. Louisville is making their 8th straight tournament appearance and won the national championship last season.

The angry Cardinals must put the disappointment behind them as they face the #13 seed Manhattan Jaspers in the second round Thursday night in Orlando. The winner will face either #5 seed Saint Louis or #12 North Carolina State in Saturday’s third round. Manhattan is 25-7 this season. The Jaspers finished second in the MAAC at 15-5 two games behind regular season champ Iona. The Jaspers beat Iona 71-68 in the MAAC Championship game to clinch the auto bid. Manhattan is making their 7th NCAA appearance and first since 2004.


Louisville leads the series against Manhattan 6-2. The Cardinals have beaten the Jaspers 5 straight times, including 79-51 in Louisville in 2012. Manhattan hasn’t beaten Louisville since 1953.

Manhattan is coached by Steve Masiello. Masiello both played for Louisville coach Rick Pitino when he was the head coach at Kentucky and was a Pitino assistant coach at Louisville before taking the Manhattan job. The Jaspers have losses to George Washington, Fordham, Quinnipiac twice, at Fairfield, at Iona, and at Siena. Manhattan has won 11 of the last 12 games including 5 straight games. Manhattan has key wins at LaSalle, at Columbia, at Illinois State, at Hofstra, at South Carolina, Buffalo, Canisius twice, and Iona twice. The Jaspers are 15-14-2 ATS and the total is 15-12 this season.

Manhattan is outscoring teams  77-70. The Jaspers are #38 in scoring nationally. Manhattan is shooting 45% from the field and 36.7% from 3 point range. The Jaspers are #289 out of 351 teams nationally in free throw shooting at 66.2% from the line. Manhattan opponents are shooting 41% from the field and 32.7% from 3 point range. The Jaspers average 37.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 32. Manhattan averages  13.2 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 8.3 steals and 6.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.9 assists, 15.7 turnovers, 6.1 steals and 4.7 blocks per game.

Guard George Beamon averages 1.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game. Guard Michael Alvarado averages 12 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Forward Rhamel Brown averages 10.1 points, 6 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. Forward Shane Richards averages 8.5 points, and 1.8 rebounds per game. Forward Emmy Andujar averages 8.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Ashton Pankey, RaShawn Stores, Rich Williams, Donovan Kates,  and Tyler Wilson also get significant minutes. Guard C.J. Jones is out for the season for undisclosed reasons, but has only played in 9 games.

Louisville is coached by Rick Pitino. The Cardinals have losses to North Carolina in a tournament in Connecticut, at Kentucky, Memphis twice, and Cincinnati. Louisville has key wins over College of Charleston, Hofstra, Cornell, Southern Miss, Louisiana, Western Kentucky, Missouri State, Florida International, Central Florida twice, Temple twice, Rutgers three times, SMU twice, Houston three times, Connecticut three times, and South Florida twice. Louisville is 19-13 ATS and the total is 15-15 this season.

Louisville is outscoring teams 82-61 this season. The Cardinals are #8 in scoring and #15 in points allowed nationally. Louisville is shooting 47.4% from the field and 37.1% from 3 point range. The Cardinals are #33 in field goal percentage. Louisville is #299 out of 351 teams in free throw shooting at 65.9% from the line. Cardinal opponents are shooting 39.4% from the field and 29.1% from 3 point range. Louisville is #16 in field goal defense and #5 in three point defense nationally. The Cardinals average 38.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 32.4. Louisville is #37 nationally in rebounding. The Cardinals average 15.7 assists, 10.3 turnovers, 10.1 steals and 4.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.5 assists, 17.4 turnovers, 4.3 steals and 2.8 blocks per game.

Louisville guard Russ Smith averages 18.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Forward Montrezl Harrell averages 14.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. Forward Luke Hancock averages 11.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Guard Chris Jones averages 10.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2.3 steals per game. Guard Wayne Blackshear averages 8.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. Terry Rozier, Mangok Mathiang, and Stephan Van Treese will also get significant minutes in the rotation. Forward Chane Behanan was kicked off the team earlier in the season for violating team rules. Guard Kevin Ware is out for the season with a shin injury.

Manhattan is 6-1 ATS in neutral site games, 5-1 in Thursday games, 4-1 after a cover, and 6-2 after a straight up win.

Louisville is 5-0 ATS overall, 4-0 against teams with winning records, 9-2 in NCAA Tournament games, 21-6 in neutral site games, 17-7 in non-conference games, 37-17 after a cover, and 52-24 after a straight up win.

Louisville could come out flat if they are disappointed with such a low seed, but I don’t Pitino will let that happen. I think it is more likely the Cardinals take their frustrations out on the Jaspers, even though Masiello is a friend of Pitino’s. I like the Cardinals to win handily.

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