3rd-ranked Virginia welcomes 9th-ranked Louisville to John Paul Jones Arena.
The Virginia Cavaliers’ host the defense-minded Louisville when the Cardinals roll into Charlottesville on Saturday at 7PM ET. The game will be broadcast live by ESPN and streamed by WatchESPN.
The 9th-ranked Cardinals (19-3, 7-2 ACC) feature a potent backcourt combination in guards senior Chris Jones and sophomore Terry Rozier as well as one of the best big men in college basketball, junior forward Montrezl Harrell.
— Kenny Klein (@KKcards) February 2, 2015
Standing in their way will be junior guards Justin Anderson and Malcolm Brogdon, sophomore point guard London Perrantes and junior forward Anthony Gill, who all scored in double figures against 4th-ranked Duke a few short nights ago.
— UVa Men's Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) February 3, 2015
Analyzing The Louisville vs Virginia Odds, My Final Score Prediction & TV Coverage
Matchup: (9) Louisville Cardinals vs (3) Virginia Cavaliers
Date: Feb. 7, 2015
Start Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Stadium: John Paul Jones Arena
TV Info: ESPN
Radio: Louisville Vs Virginia
Click here for Live College Hoops Odds
The only thing keeping Virginia from an undefeated record was a 5-minute collapse against the aforementioned Blue Devils on Jan 31st when the Cavaliers lost 69-63. Louisville makes its first trip to Charlottesville as an ACC team.
This shapes up as a defensive showcase: Virginia leads the nation in scoring defense (50.8 ppg allowed) while the Cardinals are tops in the ACC in blocked shots, steals and turnover margin. Louisville has won four straight since losing to Duke, while Virginia is closing a run of three straight league games against Hall of Fame coaches.
Louisville Will Cover the Spread If
Louisville doesn’t fall behind early.
Sounds easy enough, right? Don’t fall behind early and you’ll have a good shot of beating the third-ranked team in the nation. But, how easy is it, really, for the Louisville Cardinals?
— SI College Hoops (@si_ncaabb) February 5, 2015
They were down 36 to 25 at half-time versus North Carolina before rallying in the second half to tie it and force overtime. Then, Louisville dominated the Tar Heels 18 to 8 in the overtime period for a 78 to 68 victory. Against Miami in their last matchup, Louisville did a good job of building a 36 to 25 half time lead on their way to a 63 to 55 win and cover against the spread.
The Cardinals will need a first half similar to the one versus Miami than the one they had against North Carolina. If Louisville gets down early, Virginia’s smothering defense is likely to push the Cavaliers to a blowout victory.
Virginia Will Cover the Spread If
They take open shots, push the pace on offense, and get more possessions.
Defense is only good if you can get buckets on the other end. Louisville doesn’t mind playing slow; the Cardinals have an excellent defense like Virginia’s, which means that the Cavaliers need to push the pace on offense.
Virginia’s defense is the best in the nation. Opponents average less than 51 points and less than 36% from the field, but Virginia’s offense, even though the Cavs shoot a fantastic 47.2% from the field, only averages 68.3 points per game. The offense might be too efficient versus Louisville because the Cardinals can play defense almost as well as Virginia.
What it means is that there’s a chance that Louisville could keep this close even though Virginia out plays them because the Cardinals and Cavaliers might have close to the same amount of possessions. Push the pace on offense, Virginia, and you’ll cover the spread.