#2 Duke Blue Devils vs. #1 Louisville Cardinals College Basketball Preview
Date/Time: March 31, 5:05 pm EST
College Basketball Gambling Odds from BetDSI
College Basketball Betting Favorite: Louisville -3.5
The Midwest Region has played out exactly the way you would have expected with the top two seeds meeting for a trip to the Final Four. While there were some minor upsets in this bracket throughout the first couple rounds, the Duke Blue Devils and the Louisville Cardinals beat back all opponents to form what is a terrific Elite Eight matchup. Coach K and the Blue Devils against Rick Pitino and the Cardinals. This is must see television.
The Duke Blue Devils didn’t necessarily have an easy trip to the Elite 8. Duke played Creighton in the Round of 32, and the Blue Devils shut down Doug McDermott en route to a comfortable win over the Blue Jays. On Friday night, Duke’s defense starred again as they held Michigan State to just one field goal in the span of more than 15 game minutes. The Blue Devils were led by Seth Curry, who had six made three-pointers in that contest. Duke downed Michigan State 71-61.
Duke actually beat Louisville 76-71 back in November on a neutral floor in Nassau. The Blue Devils knocked down 23 out of 27 free throws in that game, while Louisville made just 9 of 14 from the line. One thing Duke needs to improve on is their rebounding. Louisville grabbed 14 offensive boards in that game, while Duke had only 8. Duke shoots the three better than any team left in the tournament, but their defense will have to be great to advance to the Final Four against a team as good as Louisville.
Louisville is the overall top seed in the tournament, and they are the only number one seed left. The Cardinals haven’t been tested all that much by anyone so far in the NCAA Tournament. Russ Smith is playing his best basketball of the season at the right time for Louisville. Smith is averaging 27 points per game in the NCAA Tournament. He put up 31 points in their win over Oregon on Friday. Peyton Siva is the floor general for this team, and he is a perfect point guard for Rick Pitino’s team. Louisville has lots of depth, and nine guys consistently see a lot of playing time.
The Cardinals aren’t bad on the offensive end, but it is their suffocating defense that wins them a ton of basketball games. Louisville uses full court pressure to create more turnovers than any other team in the nation other than VCU. The difference with Louisville is that they are also a tremendous half court defensive team. Most teams that press in the full court give up a lot of easy buckets, but Gorgui Dieng anchors a terrific back line for the Cardinals. Opponents are averaging just 57.9 points per game against Louisville.
Free Pick: Louisville -3.5
Duke may have won the first game between these two, but I like the Cardinals to win this one. Louisville has the much better defense, and I think that is the difference here.
Louisville 73 Duke 67
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