NCAA Bracket 2012: New Mexico Lobos vs. Louisville Cardinals

No. 5 New Mexico Lobos vs. No. 4 Louisville Cardinals
Saturday, 3/17/12, 9:40 PM EST, TV:  TBS
Opening Point Spread:  Louisville -1
Current Betting Line:  Louisville -1.5
Opening Total:  127
Current Total:  128
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Louisville Cardinals PG Peyton Siva has been tremendous over the last five games heading into Saturday's third-round NCAA Tournament matchup against the New Mexico Lobos

New Mexico has won six games in a row and captured a 75-68 win over the Long Beach State 49ers as four-point favorites in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.  “This team just wants to continue doing special things, and that is the next step,” commented Lobos head coach Steve Alford.  The program is now 8-13 all-time in the Big Event and Alford improved his career mark to 10-8.  Alford has led the squad to a 12-5 record against ranked opponents during his time on campus.  New Mexico is 6-1 ATS on a neutral floor this year with the “over” being 4-3 in those contests.

The Lobos are 12-2 on Saturdays this season and have tallied a 17-2 mark on the weekend overall.  New Mexico has registered a 126-45 record in five days under Alford’s direction, which is the most wins in school history in any five-year period.  It’s important to note that the program is 0-2 all-time against Louisville in the NCAA Tournament, while going 4-20 against current Big East Conference members.

Louisville is a step away from reaching the Sweet 16 for the 18th time in school history, coming away with a 69-62 win over the Davidson Wildcats as six-point favorites in the second round.  The Cardinals are 4-1 when facing a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament and head coach Rick Pitino has garnered an impressive 31-6 mark in this event when his team is the higher seed.  Louisville is 10-6 ATS in March the last two-plus seasons and the “under” is 13-3 in those contests.

The Cardinals recent five-game win streak has been led by the play of point guard Peyton Siva, who has averaged 14.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.6 steals over that span.  Louisville has also been getting after it defensively, holding opponents to 60 or fewer points in 21 of 36 games.  The team has ranked among the nation’s top 35 in field goal percentage defense in eight of the past 10 years, including this season’s 37.9 percent which ranks third nationally.

Bettors will likely back the Cardinals due to their 5-0 ATS mark on a neutral site, while the Lobos are 1-2 ATS in tourney games the last two-plus years.

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