Louisville Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Preview
Where: Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh
When: Tuesday, January 24 7:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ESPN
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Betting on the Louisville Cardinals (16-4, 4-3 ACC)
It was all fun and games for Louisville until leading scorer Donovan Mitchell got anemic on Saturday, when the Cardinals saw its win streak end at four games with a 73-68 road loss to Florida State.
Mitchell, who averaged 18.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in the previous six games, coughed up just six on a salty 2-for-10 shooting from the field against the Seminoles.
Mitchell will look to bounce back strong against the Panthers defense that has been nothing but an embarrassment for the team. Pittsburgh is 157th in KenPom’s defensive efficiency rating, allows 50.5 effective field goal percentage to opponents, and surrenders 76.3 points per game.
More than that, the Cardinals will lean on their defense and rebounding to suffocate Pittsburgh’s offense. Louisville is ranked seventh in the nation with 41.5 RPG. The Cards’ offensive rebounding, in particular, has been topnotch, hauling down 13.2 per game—fourth in Division I—largely explaining why they get 7.2 extra scoring opportunities per contest.
Louisville is 3-1 ATS in its last four road games.
Betting on the Pittsburgh Panthers (12-7, 1-5 ACC)
The Panthers are going as far as where the dynamic tandem of Jamel Artis and Michael Young takes them. They’ll also sink as deep as where their pathetic defense bring the team. Unfortunately for the team, the crappy defense has spoiled most of what Artis and Young have done this season.
Just take for example the Panthers’ 79-74 loss to NC State on Tuesday, when they let the Wolfpack drill 11 threes on 27 attempts, thus offsetting Artis’ 16 points and Young’s 25.
Pittsburgh, however, could worry less of Louisville’s outside shooting, as the Cards average just 6.5 treys per game on 19.1 attempts—both figures are just 244th in the nation per Teamrankings.com.
Artis and Young, who average 22.0 PPG and 21.1 PPG, per game, will have targets on their backs against the Cardinals’ tenacious defense, so there’ll be a louder need for the team’s reserves to step up. The Panthers got zero points from their bench against NC State. Cameron Johnson, the only other guy besides Artis and Young who average in double-figure scoring (11.8), got 17 points on the strength of five threes in the NC State game.
Pittsburgh made 12 threes against the Wolfpack and it could go trigger-happy again from the outside given how tough it is to score inside on the Cardinals, who are sixth in the nation in blocks with 6.3 a game.
Pittsburgh is 4-2-1 ATS in its last seven games as an underdog.
Louisville (-7) wins, 75-66.
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