20* Louisville/Kentucky Final Four No-Brainer on Louisville +8.5
Louisville vs. Kentucky,
03/31/2012 18:09 EDT,
Score: 61 - 69
Point Spread: +8½/-101 Louisville
The Louisville Cardinals are simply catching too many points against the Kentucky Wildcats in the Final Four Saturday. While John Calipari is the better recruiter with more talent on the floor, he's not the better coach. I'll back Rick Pitino with this much time to prepare almost every single time.
Pitino and the Cardinals actually have an extra day to get ready for Kentucky. Louisville played last Saturday, while Kentucky played on Sunday. I have no doubt that Pitino will use his time to prepare to come up with a better game plan than Calipari will.
Louisville has been on an absolute tear since finally getting healthy. They won four games in four days to win the Big East Tournament, beating three NCAA Tournament teams along the way. They then won four straight games in the big dance to get here, including a 57-44 victory over top-seeded Michigan State.
These teams played once already this season back on December 31st. Louisville came in as a 10-point underdog at Kentucky, yet only lost 62-69 while covering that huge number. That was back when the Cardinals weren't healthy, with guys playing through injury, while missing other players. Now healthy, and on a neutral court this time around, the Cardinals have an excellent chance to pull off this upset.
In that game back on December 31st, the Cardinals used their press to near perfection. Louisville limited Kentucky to 17-of-57 shooting (29.8 percent) for the game, including 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) from 3-point range. The Cardinals only shot 20-of-62 (32.3 percent) themselves, but this game was won at the free throw line. Louisville simply fouled too much, and Kentucky took advantage by making a whopping 32-of-43 from the free throw line. That allowed the Wildcats to overcome their 20 turnovers.
Look for the Cardinals to be smarter about the fouls this time around, while continuing to keep the Wildcats out of rhythm offensively. Louisville is 6-0 ATS in road games versus good rebounding teams - outrebounding opponents by 4+ per game this season. The Cardinals are 8-0 ATS in all neutral court games this season. Louisville is 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. These three trends make for a perfect 22-0 system backing the Cardinals. Take Louisville Saturday.