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CBB Preview Connecticut at Louisville

January 31, 2009

College Basketball Preview - (2) Connecticut Huskies at (7) Louisville Cardinals (Monday 7:00 ET)

The Connecticut Huskies have been making their backers a lot of cash on the road this season. 

UConn is 5-1 against the spread (ATS) in road games with lines this year. They had a huge win at Notre Dame that snapped the incredible 45-game home winning streak the Irish were on.

Their only ATS loss was a 67-55 win at St. John's where they failed to cover the spread by a measly half a point. 

On Monday, the Huskies' road prowess is again being put to the test they play a fellow Top 10 team, the Louisville Cardinals.

This is the featured matchup on ESPN at 7 pm ET and you can get the odds at Sportsbook.com.

With all due respect to the teams UConn has faced on the road, including West Virginia and Gonzaga, this is their hardest game of the year.

Rick Pitino's bunch came within a hair of making the Final Four last year and they have played great after suffering some early season non-conference losses. 

The Cardinals started out the Big East schedule a perfect 7-0 straight-up and ATS. That stretch included road wins over Villanova and Syracuse and home wins over Pittsburgh and Notre Dame.

All four of those teams were ranked in the Top 25 of the ESPN poll last week which shows just how incredible this conference is.

Louisville has been able to excel despite some inconsistent play from freshman big man, Samardo Samuels. Samuels will be matched up against Huskies center Hasheem Thabeet and needs to stay out of foul trouble while staying aggressive on the offensive end so Thabeet isn't able block shots at will.  

What Pitino can rely on every night is big performances from junior forward Earl Clark and senior forward Terrence Williams. They are averaging over 27 points and 18 rebounds between them and have been making up for the inexperience in the middle.

These teams mirror each other in the backcourt where four guards crack the Top 8 rotations for each. The Huskies starting tandem of A.J. Price and Jerome Dyson is more explosive on paper, but Louisville won't having trouble matching up at home with Jerry Smith and company.

Overall, Connecticut averages about three more points per game and that's because they are better shooters from the field (49% vs. 43.5%) and behind the arc (37.5% vs. 34%).

The Cardinals are able to offset those deficiencies somewhat by getting off more shots and allow one-point less per game than UConn, despite giving their opponents more possessions.

Overall, this is a classic battle between two teams playing great basketball. This is the only meeting between the teams this year and last year Louisville lost by two points in Storrs, Connecticut. The game ended up as a push. Pitino would love to return the favor.

Pick: Louisville Cardinals -2.5 (-110)

Check out the college basketball betting forum for more picks and information or to post your own predictions. 


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