Date and Time: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 7:00 PM EST on CBS Sports Network

Game Line: Louisville -3.5 Game Total (Over/Under): 134.5 (from JustBet)

Wednesday NCAABB analysis: The #11 ranked Louisville Cardinals will try to rebound from a loss to the Memphis Tigers when they travel to Moody Coliseum in Dallas to take on the #18 ranked SMU Mustangs.

The Louisville Cardinals (24-5) are sitting atop the AAC tied with Cincinnati and are coming off a 72-66 loss at Cincinnati. The loss snapped a 7 game winning streak and was their first road loss since losing to Kentucky back on December 28. The Cardinals are led by senior guard Russ Smith, who’s averaging 17.8 ppg and 4.5 assists per game. Louisville is averaging 81.7 ppg while shooting 47.7% from the field. They are extremely efficient on the offensive side of the ball with a 1.50 assist to turnover ratio. Defensively, the Cardinals are exceptional limiting opponents to 39.7 ppg while ranking 4th in the nation in steals (9.7 per game) and are 2nd in the nation in turnover margin (6.7). On the glass they average 37.7 per game. When it comes to rebounding on defense, they rank near the bottom of the conference with 24.2 per game.

Head coach Larry Brown has certainly put his stamp on SMU basketball. The Mustangs (23-6) are ranked for the first time since 1985, and have not lost at home this season. They are led by sophomore guard Nic Moore, who averages 14.1 ppg and 4.5 apg. The Mustangs are averaging 72.1 ppg, while shooting 49.2% from the field (8th in the nation). They are a team that stresses not taking bad shots and are well disciplined. They are averaging 36.8 rebounds per game, yet are tops in the conference in rebounding margin (5.4). Defensively SMU is a handful, as they are allowing 61.2 ppg, while limiting opponents to only 36.9% from the field (2nd in the NCAA).

Apparently the oddsmakers don’t think Louisville can lose 2 in a row. They are currently a 3.5 favorite; this is similar to their last game as they were a 4.5 point favorite at Memphis as a revenging road dog. We all know what the outcome was there, as Memphis made a late run to seal a 6 point victory. Regardless of the talent that Louisville has, I’m taking the points with SMU on Thursday night. Louisville has already taken care of SMU at home by 8 earlier in the year, and have the Connecticut Huskies on deck this weekend. SMU has been dominant at home, not only are they undefeated, but they have some impressive wins at Moody Coliseum this year. They’ve beat Memphis by 15, Cincinnati by 21, and Connecticut by 11. I just can’t possibly fathom laying points on the road against a team that has been so good at home. I’ll take the points, as I see this one going down to the wire and resulting in another SMU home win.

Louisville Cardinals at SMU Mustangs Free NCAABB pick: SMU +3.5 Over 134.5

Louisville Cardinals at SMU Mustangs Game Prediction: SMU 69 Louisville 67

 

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