Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Louisville Cardinals
Tip-off: Monday, March 4, 2013 – 7:00 PM ET
KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY
YouWager line makers consider that the Louisville Cardinals‘ offense has been outstanding for most of the season which has brought them to lead the Big East in scoring. However, it’s been Louisville’s defense that has been the main ingredient for the team’s current surge.
Tonight the Cardinals look for a sixth consecutive victory in addition to Rick Pitino’s 300th with Louisville — as they host the Cincinnati Bearcats, whose offense has has serious problems severely in recent weeks.
Both of these college basketball teams will also be looking for their point guards to snap prolonged shooting slumps.
The 10th-ranked Louisville (24-5, 12-4) hasn’t looked back since a five-overtime defeat versus the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Feb. 9, winning five in a row by an average of 15.2 points. However, the first four were versus rivals at .500 or below in Big East play, making Saturday’s 58-53 victory at No. 12 Syracuse Orange the most notable.
The Cardinals, which have held their last five rivals to 35.5 percent shooting, limited the Orange to just 19 first-half points. Louisville also forced 16 turnovers — their fourth straight game with at least that many. Rivals average 18.7 turnovers, the second most in the nation.
The Bearcats (20-9, 8-8) ended a three-game skid with a 61-56 home win over the Connecticut Huskies on Saturday, but its offense continues to be inefficient. Cincinnati is shooting 34.9 percent over the last 11 games while going 5-6, only shooting better than 40 percent once over that stretch.
The Bearcats took serious advantage of Connecticut’s mistakes, amassing a 21-1 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Cardinals are also going through shooting difficulties with point guard Peyton Siva. A 38.6 percent 3-pointer shooter in his first 16 games, Siva is 6 for 37 (29.8 percent) from beyond the arc over his last 13 games and was 0 for 8 while being shut out by the Orange. It was sufficient for Pitino to bench Siva with the game tied at 48 and 1:39 remaining.
According to the college basketball odds Louisville has won six of the series’ last seven games at home and also took the previous matchup in last year’s Big East Championship title game in New York City.