LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (24-4)
at MEMPHIS TIGERS (21-7)
FedEx Forum - Memphis, TN
Tip-off: Saturday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Louisville -4.5, Total: 143
No. 7 Louisville looks for its eighth straight win on Saturday as it looks to avoid being swept by a hungry No. 21 Memphis squad.
While the Cardinals are riding high after finishing February with a perfect 7-0 SU record (3-3-1 ATS), the Tigers are still licking their wounds after a 77-68 defeat at 7-point underdog Houston on Thursday night, marking their third straight ATS defeat and third SU loss this month. Louisville is 13-12-1 ATS overall this season, including 7-7-1 ATS in conference play and 5-3-1 ATS on the road, while Memphis is slightly better at 14-11 ATS overall, 8-7 ATS versus American Athletic Conference teams, and 5-7 ATS at home. The Cardinals have had the upper hand in this series since 1999, going 9-5 SU, but the Tigers are 8-2-1 ATS in the past 11 meetings, including a 73-67 upset in Louisville as double-digit underdogs on Jan. 9. All five Memphis starters scored in double-figures in that win, as the club outshot the Cardinals 51% FG to 39% FG.
Can Louisville keep rolling with a big victory on Saturday? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a stellar 59% ATS (236-165-13) mark, including a hefty 61% ATS (204-131-7) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 68% ATS (54-25-3) in Best Bets for the season, 85% ATS (22-4-2) since Jan. 17 and 72% ATS (47-18-2) since Nov. 26. StatFox Dave is 60% ATS (50-33-1) for Best Bets this season and 65% ATS (33-18) since Dec. 18, while StatFox Scott is 58% ATS (46-34-3) for the season and 6-2-1 ATS since Feb. 16. StatFox Gary is 56% ATS (45-36-2) on Best Bets for the season, and 59% ATS (39-27) since Nov. 29, while StatFox Zach is 53% ATS (41-37-4) on Best Bets this season, including 54% ATS (35-30-3) since Nov. 22.
Louisville doesn't have a glaring weakness, as the team ranks 12th in the nation in scoring (82.3 PPG) on an impressive 48.0% FG (24th in Div. I). The Cardinals also dish out 15.5 APG (28th in nation) while grabbing 37.8 RPG (48th in Div. I). And they also know how to defend, allowing a mere 61.6 PPG (20th in nation) thanks to a whopping 9.7 SPG (2nd in Div. I) and strong 4.9 BPG (45th in nation). Senior SG Russ Smith (17.7 PPG, 4.5 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.9 SPG) continues to do everything for this team, and makes 46% of his shots, including 38% from three-point range. Smith also stuffed the stat sheet in the Jan. 9 loss to Memphis with 19 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists, but he also had a five costly turnovers in that defeat. PF Montrezl Harrell (13.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG) also played well in that loss with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and has scored 21 points in back-to-back games. But the leading scorer for Louisville in the first meeting with Memphis was SF Luke Hancock (11.7 PPG) who came off the bench to score a game-high 20 points with five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Hancock needs to get his stroke back though, as he has averaged only 5.5 PPG on 3-of-12 FG in the past two games. The Cardinals would also like to see more out of talented PG Chris Jones (10.1 PPG, 3.2 APG), who has just 5.7 PPG on 5-of-18 FG in the past three games, and was 1-for-9 from the floor in the Jan. 9 loss to the Tigers.
Memphis also has a potent offense, as it scores 78.8 PPG (30th in nation) on 48.6% FG (18th in Div. I) with a whopping 17.8 APG (3rd in nation). The Tigers also rebound well (38.1 RPG, 40th in Div. I), and are very active on defense, as evidenced by 8.8 SPG (8th in nation) and 4.9 BPG (51st in Div. I). However, they still allow 70.0 PPG (176th in nation) with three of their past four opponents topping 75 points. PG Joe Jackson (14.4 PPG, 4.7 APG, 3.6 RPG) is the leader of this team, but shoots a woeful 27% from three-point range. He played very well at Louisville on Jan. 9, netting 15 points (7-of-16 FG) with six assists and two steals. PF Shaq Goodwin (12.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG) also made his presence felt in that win with 15 points (6-of-10 FG), eight boards and two steals. Goodwin has also played very well recently with 18.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 2.0 BPG in his past two games. SG Michael Dixon Jr. (11.8 PPG, 2.5 APG) is the only other double-digit scorer on the Memphis roster. He has scored in double-figures in nine straight games, including 19 points and four assists in Thursday's loss at Houston.