Big East Tournament Pick: Cincinnati vs. Louisville Preview
The Big East is always known for its wild results, and so far, this tournament has been no exception. That being said, the No. 4 and No. 7 seeds are the two that are left to fight it out in NCAA basketball betting action on Saturday night at MSG, as the Louisville Cardinals take on the Cincinnati Bearcats.
We warned yesterday that Cincinnati might have the ability to take down the Syracuse Orange, and that’s exactly what it did in quite fine form. The Bearcats are just playing with a tremendous sense of energy right now, and it was the energy that came from playing a two OT game on Thursday that carried into the upset on Friday. OF course, there is still a real question about this situation. History tells you in the Big East Tournament, that the team that goes on a run like this one involving a slew of close, gritty games, ends up eventually losing… but then again, the exception came last year when the UConn Huskies won five games in five days and eventually won the whole enchilada in shocking fashion. Yancy Gates continues to put on a show here in this tournament, and his 18 points against the Orange were a tremendous contribution. It was the sixth game in a row in which Cincinnati has covered, and the team has gone from one that was probably in the tournament, but potentially a bubble squad, to one that might be in the Top 5 lines when it is said and done.
The Cardinals are in basically the same boat as the Bearcats. They are playing well right now, and they seemingly always do in this tournament, and they are going to hope to take down the league title and move as far up in the bracket as possible for Selection Sunday. Thus far in the Big East Tournament, since a win over the bubble bound Seton Hall Pirates, the games have been fairly easy for the ‘Ville. There was never really a doubt about dismissing the Marquette Golden Eagles in a game that was never close, and the win against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the semifinals was a tremendous effort as well on both sides of the court. This is absolutely the best run that Louisville has been on all season long, and Head Coach Rick Pitino knows that he has a side that is capable of doing a heck of a lot of damage in the dance this year as well. The question that we are going to have for Cincinnati in this one is whether it has anyone that can really guard Gorgui Dieng, who is a double-double waiting to happen virtually every single night.
The Final Word: If Louisville plays defense like it did against Notre Dame, it is going to be the team that gets through this tournament and ends up with the league’s automatic bid. The Bearcats have to run out of steam eventually, and though it is the Cardinals that have played three games in three days already and not UC, they haven’t used up nearly as much effort and emotion to get to this point.
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Louisville Cardinals Free Pick: Louisville Cardinals