Louisville Cardinals at Cincinnati Bearcats, Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati, OH
Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Cincinnati -1
Current Line: Cincinnati -1.5
Opening Total: 129.5
Current Total: 131
Money Line: Cincinnati -125 / Louisville +105
The Cincinnati Bearcats (19-6, 6-6 Big East) are at risk of falling under the .500 mark in conference play with a home loss to the 16th-ranked Louisville Cardinals (19-6, 8-4) on Wednesday. The Bearcats (-1.5) have suffered all of their losses this season against league opponents and could be in danger of missing the NCAA tournament if their slide continues down the stretch.
Cincinnati has dropped three of its past four games and plays three of its last five games on the road, including two meetings with a Georgetown team that is the hottest team in the Big East. However, the Bearcats have played the Cardinals tough recently, winning three of the last seven games between the teams, including a 69-66 victory in last year’s conference tournament.
Yancy Gates led that latest upset with a team-high 16 points for Cincinnati, as the team rallied from a 41-32 halftime deficit. Gates is the leading rebounder for the Bearcats this season with 6.5 per game and one of three players who average double figures in points with 10.6. However, he has seen his minutes decrease since he was suspended earlier this month for violating team rules. Gates played just 13 minutes in a 59-57 home loss to St. John’s on Sunday.
Cincy will need Gates against a Louisville squad that is not completely at full strength yet but got Rakeem Buckles back from injury in a 73-69 home win over Syracuse last Saturday. Depth could be an advantage for the Bearcats, as Dion Dixon averages a team-leading 11.2 points per game, and eight players average at least 15 minutes. Buckles is the leading rebounder for the Cardinals and totaled seven in 14 minutes against the Orange despite going scoreless.
The difference for Louisville against Syracuse was hot 3-point shooting in the first half. The Cardinals became the latest team to find early success against the Orange’s 2-3 zone defense, connecting on nine shots from beyond the 3-point arc en route to a 40-30 halftime lead. They built their lead to 20 in the second half before Syracuse came storming back to pull as close as three late.
Preston Knowles and Kyle Kuric combined for 45 points against the Orange and made 12 of 19 attempts from 3-point range between them. The duo may find it tough to duplicate that success on the road against Cincinnati since the Bearcats are allowing opponents to shoot just 30.3 percent beyond the 3-point arc in their building.
The UNDER is 4-1 in the last five meetings between the teams, and Cincy is 3-1 against the spread in the past four. However, the Bearcats have failed to cover their last four games overall along with eight of their past 10.
Now that you have read this Big East college basketball betting preview featuring Cincinnati & Louisville, check out the NCAA basketball odds on this and all the games to compare the best lines at multiple sportsbooks.