NCAA Basketball Preview
No. 1 Pittsburgh Panthers (16-0) at No. 21 Louisville Cardinals
Saturday, 6:00PM Eastern
Bookmaker.com betting line –
The top ranked Pittsburgh Panthers travel on the road in the extremely difficult conference of the Big East late Saturday evening to try and keep the undefeated campaign in tact. The Panthers have held off all challengers this season with convincing wins over Georgetown and St. Johns. The Panthers appear to be the class of the nation, but with a brutal schedule ahead upsets in the Big East will likely become regular. Louisville reached the number 3 ranking earlier this season before suffering some heart breaking losses. The Cardinals bounced back strong with two big victories over top 25 teams Villanova and Notre Dame in their last two outings.
Louisville may be back to playing the type of basketball we have expected them to play all season. The Cardinals are one of the best rebounding teams in the land averaging 40.4 boards per contest that ranks in the top 25 in the country. The Cardinals are led by a group of big men that can take control of the paint. Earl Clark, Samardo Samuels, and Terrence Williams are all averaging over 10 points per game and together these 3 standouts combine for 25 rebounds per game. The big men we need to play big and keep sophomore sensation DeJuan Blair off the glass to control the inside game. The Cardinals are known for playing very well at home and they will get a chance at the number 1 team in the land in front of the nation this Saturday.
Pittsburgh has been superb in all aspects of the court this season. The Panthers rank 12th in the country in rebounding with 41.7 boards per game. Add to the fact Pittsburgh is shooting 48% from the floor that is also among tops in the land and you can quickly see why the Panthers have been so successful this season. Pittsburgh dominated a very good Georgetown team two weeks ago 70-54 and they will have to hold off another tough conference opponent. Sam Young and DeJuan Blair have carried the performance for the Panthers this season. Young leads the teams with 19 points per game and Blair is possibly the best inside player in the country. Blair ranks 3rd in the country with 12.7 rebounds per contest and the young sophomore is only getting better as the season progresses. Pittsburgh has had some convincing wins this season and they will get a chance to do the same in a big conference battle.
What to watch for…
Both teams have had a lot of success inside the paint this season. The Cardinals and the Panthers score a lot of inside points and control the boards very well. It will be interesting to see which team continues this path considering the success both have had so far this year.
Pick – Louisville is playing well, and I believe they keep it within the points.