Kentucky Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinals
The Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals face off on Friday in Indianapolis in a Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament matchup for the right to go to the Elite 8. The Cardinals are -5 point favorites over the Wildcats with an over/under point total set at 138.5
The Kentucky Wildcats were ranked number one to start the season and finished the season unranked but they look to be playing their best basketball of the season after narrowly losing to Florida in the SEC Tournament Championship Game. Kentucky held off Kansas State in their first round NCAA Tournament game and then won a war with number one seed and previously unbeaten Wichita State in the second round. Julius Randle leads the Wildcats averaging 15.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. James Young is averaging 14.3 points, Aaron Harrison is averaging 14.1 points, and Andrew Harrison is averaging 11 points. Kentucky is averaging 75.4 points and they are shooting 45.2 percent while defensively they are allowing 66.4 points and their opponents are shooting 40.6 percent. Kentucky beat Louisville by seven points on December 28th as an underdog. While UK doesn’t have a ton of experience there may not be another team in the nation with as much talent.
The Louisville Cardinals have been on a roll losing just once since February and looking very much the part of defending National Champions. Louisville started their title defense y beating Manhattan by seven points and then beating St. Louis in dominating fashion by 15. Russ Smith leads the Cardinals averaging 18.1 points per game. Last season’s NCAA Tournament MVP Luke Hancock is averaging 12.1 points, Montrezl Harrell is averaging 14 points and 8.4 rebounds, and Chris Jones is averaging 10.4 points. Louisville is averaging 81.4 points and they are shooting 47 percent while defensively they are allowing 60.8 points and their opponents are shooting 39.5 percent. Louisville was a fourth seed in March Madness but they very much are playing the part of a one seed.
Kentucky is 5-0 against the spread in their last five games, 5-0 against the spread in their last five neutral site games, and 6-1 against the spread in their last seven NCAA Tournament games. Louisville is 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games, 18-8 against the spread in their last 26 non-conference games, and 5-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record. The underdog has covered the point spread in the last five meetings of these two.
With the total set at 138.5 the odds makers appear to be dialed in but I like the under in what should be an outright war.