LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (7-0)
vs. INDIANA HOOSIERS (7-1)
Jimmy V Classic
Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
Tip-off: Tuesday, 9:30 p.m. ET
Line: Louisville -11, Total: 143
No. 4 Louisville takes on Indiana on Tuesday night at the Jimmy V Classic in New York City.
The Cardinals (2-3-1 ATS) are looking to move to 8-0 on the season, while defeating their second consecutive Big Ten opponent as Louisville took down Ohio State 64-55 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 2. The Cardinals have been dominant against the Big Ten, as they have not lost to a team from that conference since falling to Michigan State in the 2009 Elite Eight. They have also done a great job defensively this season, and are 7-0 ATS on the road after allowing 60 points or less in four straight games under head coach Rick Pitino. After having a horrible 17-15 campaign last season, Indiana is off to a great start this season at 7-1 SU. The Hoosiers (4-4 ATS) had to play a lot of ranked teams last season, going 4-6 against teams in the Top 25. Since a tough loss to SMU, Indiana has won its past three games by an average of 22 points, including a 95-49 win over Savannah State on Saturday. Although they are a horrific 1-12 ATS on the road after a blowout win by 30+ points since 1997, Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean is 40-21 ATS versus teams with 40+ RPG in his coaching career. There are no significant injuries for either school in this game.
Can Louisville cover the huge spread on Tuesday night? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks. The experts have begun the 2014-15 season with a bang, posting a collective 57% ATS mark (57-43) in Best Bets. The five experts are led by StatFox Gary's stellar 75% ATS mark (15-5), while StatFox Brian and StatFox Zach are both 60% ATS (12-8) to open the season.
Louisville enters the game as the second leading rebounding team in the country (46.3 RPG), as five guys are averaging at least 5.7 RPG. The offense is where the team has been up-and-down, ranking 57th in the nation in scoring (76.0 PPG), 129th in assists (13.6 APG) and 142nd in shooting (44% FG).The Cardinals had struggled sharing the ball this season, but the past two games have been much better, as they are averaging 18.0 APG. The backcourt of SG Terry Rozier (13.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.9 APG) and PG Chris Jones (11.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.3 APG) are starting to play much better together, as Rozier did not see the court a lot last season. Both guys are fully capable of getting by their defender off the bounce, but can be a little out of control when driving. The past few games, they have not forced things nearly as much, and the Cardinals have become a much more balanced offense. Louisville has one of the best big men in the country in C/F Montrezl Harrell (16.6 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 1.3 APG). He has not been blocking a ton of shots, but his athleticism and length makes it very difficult for opponents to score in the paint. SF Wayne Blackshear (12.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.0 SPG) has emerged as another scorer for Louisville. This depth makes the team very difficult to beat, and gives Indiana a very difficult challenge.
The Hoosiers have been fueled by an explosive offense, ranking 4th in the nation in scoring (88.4 PPG), 9th in shooting (52% FG) and 27th in assists (16.5 APG). One thing to look for in this contest will be how Indiana rebounds the ball, as the Hoosiers rank 98th in the country on the glass (37.4 RPG). That will be Louisville’s biggest advantage in this game. Freshman James Blackmon Jr. (19.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 54% threes) was supposed to come in and give the Hoosiers a solid scoring threat. However, he has been even better than advertised, as he is the leading scorer on the team. Hailing from Fort Wayne, Blackmon is a great spot-up shooter, which complements one of the best point guards in college basketball in PG Yogi Ferrell (17.5 PPG, 5.8 APG, 45% threes). At times last season, Ferrell was expected to do nearly everything on offense for Indiana, but a more balanced attack this season has made Indiana a much better team. PF Troy Williams (12.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 61% FG) and SF Robert Johnson (11.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.9 APG) are two young players who are contributing to the team. Indiana has a win against a top-25 team in SMU, but this game against Louisville will show just how good this team really is.