LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (13-1)
at SETON HALL PIRATES (12-3)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Louisville -11, Total: 138
No. 3 Louisville looks for its ninth straight win when it visits a strong Seton Hall squad on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals' only loss this season was on a neutral court to No. 1 Duke, but they will likely be without starting PF Chane Behanan (11.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG), who is out 1-to-2 weeks with a high ankle sprain. Seton Hall is 8-0 SU at home, and has lost just two regulation games all season, falling at LSU and at No. 17 Notre Dame. But the Pirates are now carrying just seven healthy scholarship players, something that could be a big factor against a deep Louisville team. The Cardinals have won each of the past three meetings, prevailing by 19, 9 and 6 points over Seton Hall.
Can Louisville cover the big road spread at Seton Hall? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts are a collective 52.1% ATS (200-184-8) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who sits at 59.3% ATS (48-33) for the season, while Dave is at 53.3% ATS (73-64-3) on the year. StatFox Scott is an even 50% ATS after going 2-0 ATS since Monday.
Louisville averages 78.4 PPG (31st in nation) and makes 46.2% of its shots (55th in D-I). The Cardinals have scored at least 78 points in each of the past seven contests. But this is also a stellar defensive team, giving up just 57.5 PPG on 40.2% FG this season. Nine players average at least 14 MPG, led by PG Peyton Siva's 29.4 MPG. Siva scores 11.9 PPG, shoots a team-high 37.3% threes, and produces 6.0 APG and a 2.21 Ast/TO ratio. He is also quick on the defensive end with 2.1 SPG. Siva had 14 points and six steals in the last meeting with Seton Hall, a 61-55 win in last year's Big East Tournament. The team's top scorer is SG Russ Smith (20.0 PPG) who has at least 13 points in every game this season, and 20+ points in each of the past three contests. Smith also leads Louisville with 2.6 SPG, which ranks 13th in the nation. C Gorgui Dieng (8.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG) has been slowed by injuries this year, but he certainly looked healthy in Wednesday's win over Providence with 11 points (5-of-6 FG), 11 rebounds and four blocks. In the two meetings with Seton Hall last year, Dieng averaged 8.5 PPG, 12.0 RPG and 5.5 BPG. Another player coming on strong is freshman F Montrezl Harrell, who has 8.3 PPG and 4.5 RPG in just 21.5 MPG in the past four games. He should see plenty of action on Wednesday night as the likely replacement for Behanan in the starting lineup.
Seton Hall will try to hang in this game with long-range shooting, as the team has made 9+ three-pointers in each of the past six contests, and leads the conference in made three-pointers (133) and ranks second at 38.2% 3-pt FG. The team is usually carried by versatile swingman Fuquan Edwin who leads the team with 17.9 PPG, making 52% FG and 50% of his threes (32-of-64). He also has 3.5 SPG (T-19th in D-I), but like most of his teammates, he struggled against Louisville last season with just 9.5 PPG on 7-of-20 FG and 1-of-6 threes. F Eugene Teague (12.9 PPG) provides the muscle down low with 8.5 RPG, but his FG Pct. (57%) is nearly equal to his poor FT Pct. (58%). PG Aaron Cosby (12.7 PPG, 41% 3-pt FG), a Louisville native, hasn't always taken great care of the basketball this year (39 Ast, 33 TO), but he was outstanding in South Bend on Saturday with 21 points, seven assists and zero turnovers in 36 minutes of action. Cosby was 9-for-16 from three-point land on the just-completed road trip to start 2013. Six-foot-9 F Brandon Mobley (9.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG) is a big body in the paint, pulling down 10 rebounds in back-to-back games before being limited to 20 minutes at Notre Dame due to foul trouble. With the lack of healthy scholarship players on this roster, he can't afford to get into foul trouble on Wednesday.