Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals visit the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday for an epic college hoops ACC showdown that will be a great pre-game game to bet on before the explosive AFC divisional playoff between the Ravens and Patriots.
Predicting the final score in this ACC showdown between the Cardinals and Tar Heels was almost as fun I expect watching this game will be as both teams are fighting to claw their ways up in the rankings.
A Closer Look At My Louisville at North Carolina College Hoops Final Score Prediction
Matchup: No 5. Louisville Cardinals at No. 19 North Carolina Tar Heels
Date: Jan. 10, 2015
Start Time: 2:00 p.m. ET
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Stadium: Dean E. Smith Center
TV Info: ESPN
Radio: Louisville vs North Carolina
Fifth ranked Louisville (13-1 SU, 3-8-2 ATS) has bounced back nicely since suffering their first loss of the season at home on Dec. 27th at the hands of the top ranked Kentucky Wildcats, who face the Aggies earlier in the day. The Cardinals have won two straight games since that loss, most recently taking out ACC rival Wake Forest 85-76 on Sunday.
HISTORY MADE Louisville picks up their 1st ACC win! Cards faced a tough Wake Forest team but finished on top 85-76. pic.twitter.com/USR1PAq3r4
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) January 5, 2015
Louisville is led by bruising big man Montrezl Harrell. The sure-fire NBA performer ranks second on the team in scoring (16.7 ppg) to sophomore guard Terry Rozier (17.1 ppg) and leads the Cardinals in rebounding (9.5 rpg) and shooting percentage (60.4%).
The bad news for Cardinals fans is the fact that Louisville has failed miserably when it comes to covering the spread. Louisville is 0-3 ATS over their last three games and a woeful 0-5-1 ATS over their last six games. The Cardinals host Clemson tonight before facing the Tar Heels on Saturday.
North Carolina (11-4 SU, 10-5 ATS) has been an inconsistent mess for most of the season in my estimation. Over their last 10 games, the Heels have recorded quality wins over Florida, Ohio State and Clemson, but Carolina has also suffered home losses to Iowa (60-56) and Notre Dame (71-70) while getting man-handled in their 84-70 road loss against Kentucky on Dec. 13.
While the Tar Heels are coming off the aforementioned home loss to Notre Dame on Monday night, Carolina will be well-rested for this affair as they don’t play again until this contest. Not only that, but North Carolina has been one of the best teams in the nation when it comes to covering the spread.
Carolina did fail to cover the spread as an 8-point home favorite against the Fighting Irish, but the Tar Heels cashed in for their betting backers in each of their previous five games while going 7-2 ATS over their previous nine games.
The Tar Heels are led in scoring by sophomore shooting guard Marcus Paige (13.5 ppg) while sophomore center Kennedy Meeks leads the Heels in rebounding (8.8 per) and field goal percentage (58.6 %).
I’m expecting North Carolina to be a home underdog between 4-7 points. While I have no doubt that Louisville is going to win this game, something tells me that widely-respected head coach Roy Williams is going to have his young team put forth a really good effort in this nationally-televised matchup.
I know Carolina is ranked 16th in the nation in scoring (80.1 ppg) but Louisville can score the ball as well, (74.9 ppg), plus the Cardinals’ 12th-ranked defense (55.7 ppg) blows Carolina’s 146th-ranked defense out of the water.
I’m expecting Montrezl Harrell to school the talented but inexperienced Kennedy Meeks in this one while Terry Rozier outplays Carolina counterpart Marcus Paige as well.