College Basketball Picks: UConn at Louisville Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 2/18/2011
I would like to argue that tonight’s Big East matchup between Top-16 teams UConn and Louisville carries some special significance, but it probably really doesn’t. Well, a potential Top-4 seed for the Big East Tournament carries some weight in terms of byes, but other than that both of these teams are headed to the Big Dance no matter what happens from here on out.
But this is about the first Friday night in weeks where there has been a big-time matchup -- no offense to tonight’s BracketBusters matchup between VCU and Wichita State, which might be vital to both clubs’ chances at an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. Thus we felt obligated here at Doc’s to give you the lowdown.
How the Teams Enter
Both teams played Wednesday so there’s no rest advantage for either.
No. 12 Connecticut (20-5, 8-5 Big East) played one of its best games of the year, beating visiting Georgetown, 78-70. That ended the Hoyas’ eight-game winning streak. UConn star Kemba Walker, the leading Big East Player of the Year candidate, blew up in that one with 31 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. How rare was that? According to ESPN.com, Walker was just the third player this season to post a 30-point, 10-assist game. Walker had been averaging 17.3 points in his past eight games but had 21 in the second half alone against Georgetown. He's averaging 26.5 points, 8.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds over the last two games. The Huskies shot 54.2 percent from the field against the Hoyas, their highest field goal percentage in a Big East game this season.
No. 16 Louisville (19-7, 8-5) fell at Cincinnati 63-54, the Cards’ third loss in five games. UL had just one player in double figures – Terrence Jennings with 14 – and was just 4-for-17 from three-point range; the Cards average nine made three-pointers a game. They never led in the game Wednesday.
Connecticut at Louisville Betting Storylines
These two are in a four-way tie with Villanova and St. John’s for third in the conference, and a top-four finish would be very beneficial. The top-four teams receive a two-round bye in the Big East Tournament, which begins March 8 at Madison Square Garden.
UConn and Louisville played one of the better games of the season back on Jan. 29, a 79-78 Cardinals win in double overtime in Storrs. The Cardinals came back from a nine-point second-half deficit and tied the game in regulation on a Peyton Siva layup with 29 seconds left, and sent the game into a second overtime on a Siva dunk. Walker had 20 points, but missed a jumper at the end of regulation and a long three-pointer at the end of the second overtime. He was outplayed by Siva overall. UConn really should have won the game. It led by seven with less than five minutes remaining and by four with less than 30 seconds left in the first overtime. Overall the Huskies missed three buzzer-beaters to win the game.
This UConn team might be different even though is has only been a few weeks. The problem the Huskies have had is finding a No. 2 scorer to complement Walker. They may have found it in forward Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, who has scored a combined 48 points in wins against Providence and Georgetown. His high was 10 points before this recent explosion. He had two points in the first meeting.
The Cardinals will have third-leading rebounder and stud shot blocker Gorgui Dieng available after he missed the first meeting with a head injury. UL has taken three straight and five of seven in the series.
Connecticut at Louisville Betting Odds and Trends
The Cardinals opened as 3.5-point favorites, according to college basketball odds, with the total at 139. UL is 16-2 at home and 8-6-1 ATS. UConn is 4-3 on the road and 4-3 ATS.
UConn is 6-1 ATS in its past seven as a road dog.
The road team is 4-1-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
UConn is 1-6-1 ATS in the last eight meetings.
The ‘under’ is 8-3 in UConn’s past 11.
The ‘under’ is 6-2 in UL’s past eight home games.
College Basketball Picks: Connecticut at Louisville Predictions
With Walker finding his stroke and Coombs-McDaniel hot, I love the ‘over’ here. Siva has been struggling since outdueling Walker last time. But UConn laid an egg in its last road game, getting blown out at St. John’s. Take Louisville and give the points.
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