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Louisville vs. Arizona Preview

December 05, 2006

NCAAB Louisville vs. Arizona (-4.5) 9:30pm EST

A rare matchup of two coaching legends will conclude the doubleheader at The Garden for the Jimmy V Foundation. Lute Olson brings his 14th ranked Arizona squad to the Big Apple with a date with a youthful Louisville team, coached by Rick Pitino. The Wildcats are a 4.5-point favorite at sportsbook.com, which is justified by experience alone.

Arizona made an impressive comeback against Illinois after trailing by 16-points in Phoenix, to win going away 84-72. The Wildcats rally was helped in large part to an eye-opening 37-9 edge in free throw attempts. Arizona like Olson himself never lost their poise, with senior point guard Mustafa Shakur and senior forward Ivan Radenovic leading the way. Arizona received a scintillating performance from freshmen sensation Chase Budinger who had 22 points and eight rebounds in the 'Cats victory. All five starters for Arizona average in double figures and the team is scoring 92.0 points per game, which is second in the nation.

Coach Pitino is an East Coast guy and loves playing on the big stage. He brings four New York area recruits into this game who are excited to be on this floor. The most well known is heralded freshman Derrick Caracter. The 6'9 youngster will be making his debut after he was suspended for the first three games of the season by the NCAA for rules violations while still in high school. Caracter has lost 56 pounds as he tries to meets Pitino's demands and get ready to play. In the backcourt, the Cardinals could hardly be any younger, yet are still more then getting by. A pair of freshmen, Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa has held up thus far, being Louisville's first and third leading scorers, while contributing seven assists a game.

Neither team has shown much defense in the early part of the season, with both allowing opponents to score in the mid-70's. Arizona comes in with a 6-1 ATS record in their last seven neutral site games when favored. The Wildcats are just 2-5 against the spread vs. Big East teams. Without much upperclassmen leadership Louisville could be in a bind, matching their recent 0-7 ATS mark when an underdog by 6 or less points.


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