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Selection committee shows sense of humor with Louisville vs Minnesota matchup

Richard Pitino Minnesota vs Louisville Betting Odds Preview NCAA Tournament March Madness

Golden Gophers head coach Richard Pitino faces a Louisville program that fired his father back in 2017 amid a federal bribery investigation. The NCAA gets a lot wrong, but they do know March Madness drama. Pitino’s Minnesota squad enters the tournament 21-13 overall and 17-17 against the spread. After missing the 2018 tournament, first-year head coach Chris Mack helped lead Louisville to a No. 7 seed. The Cardinals finished the regular season 20-13 SU and 17-14-2 ATS.

Although it has lost eight of its last 12 games, Louisville played the eighth-toughest schedule according to Sagarin’s strength of schedule rating. The Cards opened as 6-point favorites, but the line dipped to Cardinals -5, while the point total opened at 133.5 before it jumped to 136.

Minnesota vs Louisville Game Center

STANDOUT STATS

  • Minnesota shoots just 67.9 percent from the free-throw line, which ranks 283rd out of 353 D-I programs and could be exposed if the game is tight down the stretch. Louisville possesses the nation’s eighth-best FT-shooting team at 77.5 percent.
  • While neither of these teams is overly gifted on the offensive end of the floor, the Gophers’ 70.8 points per game ranks outside the nation’s top 200 and their effective field-goal rate ranks 284th.
  • Minnesota’s leading scorer, Amir Coffey, is averaging 16.3 points per game this season, but has boosted his production to the tune of 23.8 ppg over his past six contests. Michigan’s stout defense held him to 14 points and the Gophers lost to the Wolverines by 27 points in the Big Ten tournament.
  • According to KenPom, the Cardinals boast a Top 20 adjusted defensive efficiency and opponent effective field-goal percentage. Despite the challenge, Minnesota will have to connect at a high rate because Louisville also ranks 10th in the nation in defensive rebounds per game. If that trend continues, the Gophers won’t earn a lot of second chances on the offensive glass.
  • Combined the UNDER has hit in 16 of 22 Cardinals and Gophers away games this season.
  • Louisville is 4-1 SU and ATS over its past five games when favored by 5 or more points.
  • Minnesota is 6-1 on neutral courts this season, while Louisville is 1-3.
  • The No. 7 seed is 16-4 straight up over the past 20 games.
  • The No. 7 seed is 9-2 SU and 6-5 ATS when favored by 5 or more points all-time.
  • The OVER has hit in five consecutive and seven of eight No. 7 vs No. 10 tournament matchups.
  • The UNDER has hit in seven of Louisville’s last 10 games in the first round of the tournament.

MY LEAN

Louisville -5 and UNDER 136

While Louisville may have lost eight of its past 12 games, those losses have been to elite ACC teams like North Carolina, Duke, Virginia and Florida State. Meanwhile, the Gophers’ 12-2 non-conference record was muted by the fact they finished a pedestrian 9-11 in the Big Ten Conference. Plus, they are just 3-7 straight up against teams with winning records.

Even if the game is close down the stretch, which we know many tournament games tend to be, Minnesota’s Achilles heel at the charity stripe is going to cost it a cover. I’ll take Louisville -5 and with the way the Cards and Gophers have struggled to put up points away from their home court this season, UNDER 136 looks delicious.

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