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CBB Marquette at Louisville

January 15, 2007

College Basketball - Marquette at Louisville (-3, 133) 7:00 PM EST

In the Big East, two teams will collide hoping that they have straightened out recent problems that caused them to lose games that were not really anticipated. Now each will try and build on the momentum they have collected over the last week and move up further in the conference standings.

These former Conference USA foes will be meeting for the 58th time with Louisville holding a 34-23 edge in the all-time series. The Cardinals troubles start on the offensive end of all places for a Rick Pitino coached team. It has been evident right from the start this will not be among the best shooting teams Pitino has had. The bottom fell out when they shot 27% in home loss to in-state rival Kentucky who is not a national power themselves this season. At that point the Cardinals were 5-4 and heading nowhere. Coach Pitino made the determination that defense, not offense was going to be this team's calling card. Louisville has only allowed more these 63 points once in last eight games and that was at hot-shooting Notre Dame.

Marquette started on fire with 8-0 record including wins over Texas and Duke. A shocking loss to North Dakota State eroded the team's confidence as did losing at home to a very good Wisconsin team. The next four contests were all against "bunnies" and left the Golden Eagles unprepared for the rigors of Big East play. A humiliating loss to Providence was followed by dismal effort at Syracuse. Coach Tom Crean is thought to be in the upper echelon of college coaches and he regrouped his squad for a fine effort in at Connecticut, handing the Huskies first home loss of the season. That was followed up by spirited blowout of ranked West Virginia at home.

Louisville is a short 3-point favorite at sportsbook.com, with an opening total of 133. Some might question why the Cardinals would be such a small betting choice at home. To start Marquette is 15-6 against the spread against Big East opponents since joining the conference. The Golden Eagles usually follow up strong showings with another in accumulating 29-15 against the spread record in road games after a win by 10 points or more.

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