Virginia (15-6) at Louisville (20-3)
When: Saturday, February 8th, 2020
Where: KFC Yum! Center,
Time: 4:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Louisville -8/111
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It’s hard to believe that a 15-6 team in one of the toughest conferences in the country, that’s coming off a national championship, can be on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Well, that’s exactly where the Virginia Cavaliers find themselves as they prepare to take on the ACC’s best in the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at the KFC Yum! Center. According to ESPN Bracketology expert Joe Lunardi, the Cavaliers are one of the ‘Last Four In’ teams and could really bolster their resume with an upset win on the road. Virginia does have two wins against top 10 teams this season, but one of those was early against then-No. 7 North Carolina, who have fallen off the face of the Earth. The difference in this game could be from beyond the arc, where the Cavaliers are a conference-worst 27 percent, while Louisville sits at the top at 45.3 percent during ACC contests. The Cardinals lead Duke by 1.5 games in the standings and have won nine games in a row after a 87-76 victory over Wake Forest on Wednesday. Virginia is 15-4 all-time versus Louisville and have beaten them nine times in a row, going 7-1-1 ATS in that span.
The Cavaliers held Clemson to 14 points in the first half and limited the Tigers to 32.7 percent shooting overall in Wednesday’s 51-44 victory. We know how good Virginia plays defense as they rank No. 1 in the country in both points allowed (50.4) and field goal defense (35.7 percent). The offense is the issue. There are 353 Division I basketball teams and the Cavs rank 350th in scoring (56.0), 333rd in shooting (40.1), and 347th from 3-point land (27.6 percent). Leading scorer Mamadi Diakite (13.5) recorded 13 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, while Braxton Key scored a season-high 19 points as the Cavaliers posted a three-game winning streak for the first time since starting the season 7-0. Virginia’s remaining schedule is not that daunting, but they do play Louisville again in their regular season finale.
Louisville has a great mix of offense and defense, ranking sixth in defensive field goal percentage (37.3) and fifth at shooting the three (40.3). Leading scorer Jordan Nwora (19.3 points), who had 21 points including five 3-pointers in the win over Wake Forest, is also averaging 7.4 rebounds per contest. Louisville made a season-high 14-of-28 3-pointers in the win and Ryan McMahon made 3-of-5 off the bench, while Dwayne Sutton added 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Cardinals will be at Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
I just don’t see how this game will be close. Yes, Virginia plays defense, but the Cardinals can shoot and they won’t allow the Cavaliers to do anything. This has all the makings of a 65-50 game.
Pick: Louisville -7
Cavaliers are 21-7 ATS in their last 28 games as a road favorite.
Cavaliers are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
Cavaliers are 38-18 ATS in their last 56 road games.
Cavaliers are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games following a ATS loss.
Cavaliers are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Cavaliers are 5-14 ATS in their last 19 games overall.
Cavaliers are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games as a favorite.
Cavaliers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Cavaliers are 2-11 ATS in their last 13 games following a straight up win.
Cavaliers are 0-8 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 50 points in their previous game.
Cardinals are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 Saturday games.
Cardinals are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
Cardinals are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Cardinals are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Over is 5-1 in Cavaliers last 6 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Under is 6-2 in Cavaliers last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Under is 23-9-1 in Cavaliers last 33 Saturday games.
Over is 5-2 in Cavaliers last 7 games following a ATS loss.
Under is 35-15-1 in Cavaliers last 51 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
Under is 37-16-1 in Cavaliers last 54 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Under is 38-17-1 in Cavaliers last 56 road games.
Over is 4-0 in Cardinals last 4 games as an underdog.
Under is 4-0 in Cardinals last 4 games as a home underdog.
Over is 5-1 in Cardinals last 6 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Over is 4-1 in Cardinals last 5 games following a ATS loss.
Over is 6-2 in Cardinals last 8 Saturday games.
Under is 29-10-2 in Cardinals last 41 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Over is 5-2 in Cardinals last 7 overall.
Over is 5-2 in Cardinals last 7 games following a straight up win.
Under is 39-16-2 in Cardinals last 57 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.