NCAA Tournament 2012 Predictions: Davidson Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinals

No. 13 Davidson Wildcats vs. No. 4 Louisville Cardinals
Thursday, 3/15/12, 1:40 PM EST, TV:  TBS
Opening Point Spread:  Louisville -7.5
Current Betting Line:  Louisville -7.5
Opening Total:  135
Current Total:  138.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino is 38-15 SU all-time in the NCAA Tournament

Davidson makes its 11th appearance in the NCAA tournament and earned an automatic bid as champions of the Southern Conference.  The Wildcats are 18-3 in their last 21 contests and are led by two SoCon Players of the Year.  The team ranks ninth nationally in shooting 76.4 percent from the charity stripe and 12th nationally in scoring 78.4 points per game.  Sophomore forward De’Mon Brooks leads the team in scoring 16.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.  Davidson is 1-2 ATS versus Big East Conference opponents the last two-plus years.

The Wildcats are 14-80 all-time when playing a ranked opponent and have lost nine of their last 10 games in that situation.  Davidson is definitely a youthful squad with 98 percent of its scoring and 96 percent of its rebounding coming from juniors, sophomores and freshmen.  Since the 2003-04 campaign, the program is 24-11 in March over that time period.  The winner of this affair will take on the winner of the fifth-seeded New Mexico against 12th-seeded Long Beach State.

Louisville won the 2012 Big East Tournament Championship for the second time in the last four years and has won at least 20 games for the 10th straight season.  The Cardinals battled injuries throughout the season and weren’t able to play their usual style of basketball under head coach Rick Pitino, but now with everything in place he has gone back to his pressure style of defense.  “I told the guys just two weeks ago, we’ve got to get through the last two games and we’ll go change and go back to the way we normally play,” stated Pitino inside Madison Square Garden.  Louisville is 7-4 ATS when playing on a neutral floor the last two-plus years.

The Cardinals were led by guard Peyton Siva during the Big East tournament run, as he averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.8 steals in four games. Over the past eight years, Louisville has a collective 37-17 record during the month of March.  It’s important to note that only four teams: Kentucky (52), North Carolina (43), UCLA (42) and Kansas (41) have more NCAA Tournament appearances than Louisville’s 38.  Pitino has tallied a 38-15 record in the event.

Bettors will likely back the Wildcats due to their 5-1 ATS mark in the NCAA Tournament as an underdog, while the Cardinals are 1-4 ATS as an NCAA Tournament favorite.

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