The NCAA Tournament continues on Saturday with third round action. In the West Region we will see the No. 5 seed New Mexico Lobos take on the No. 4 seed Louisville Cardinals. The game is scheduled for a 9:40 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on TBS. Currently the odds have Louisville favored by 1.5 points with the total sitting at 128.5 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: Fifth among active coaches in career victories in the NCAA Tournament, Louisville's Rick Pitino tries to get the Cardinals to the Sweet 16 for the 18th time as the program clashes with New Mexico in the third round of the West Regional at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon tonight. Pitino, who is 39-15 during his career in the NCAA Tournament, moved to 13-3 in initial games thanks to a 69-62 triumph over Davidson in the second round on Thursday. Since 1975 only four programs have made it to the round of 16 more often than Louisville, the fourth seed in the region this year, those teams being UNC, Kentucky, Duke and Kansas. In terms of shooting the ball, it was a tail of two halves for the Cardinals against Davidson in the first game of the tournament as Louisville when from shooting 51.9 percent from the floor through the first 20 minutes to connecting on a mere 7-of-25 (.280) after the break. The same went for the team at the free-throw line, although in reverse as the Cardinals connected on just 4-of-7 at the stripe in the first period and 22-of-29 in the second in order to secure the seven-point win. Before fouling out, Peyton Siva tallied 17 points and six of his team's eight assists, while Chane Behanan recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards and Kyle Kuric 13 points for a squad that made just a single three-pointer on five attempts. The defense for the Cardinals has been ramping up the pressure this season, limiting 21 of 36 opponents to 60 points or less, the 62 points tallied by Davidson being the team's second-lowest effort of the year. Foes have shot just 37.9 percent from the floor and 30.5 percent behind the three-point line, while Kuric and Russ Smith boost the offense with 13.1 and 11.2 ppg, respectively. As for the Lobos, a fifth seed, they have never been to the Sweet 16 in the modern format of the tourney, but they have a shot at that goal thanks to a 75-68 win over Long Beach State in the second round two days ago. The good news for head coach Steve Alford and his Lobos is that they have already faced off against six ranked teams this season and are 4-2, winning the last four such outings. In terms of experience in the NCAA Tournament, the Lobos first showed up in 1968 with a win over Santa Clara in Albuquerque, but since that triumph the program has won just seven of 20 opportunities. In a game that saw eight ties and nine lead changes, the Lobos had their hands full against Long Beach State a couple days ago but managed to pull out the win thanks in part to an 18-8 scoring edge at the free-throw line. Drew Gordon led four players in double figures with 18 points, converting 7-of-10 shots from the floor while also pulling down 13 rebounds, followed by Kendall Williams with 16 points and five of the unit's 19 assists. Gordon, who was in the running for Mountain West Conference Player of the Year honors, is still averaging a double-double after all this time with his 13.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per contest, adding 38 steals and 35 blocked shots to his stat line as well. Williams checks in with 12.1 ppg and a team-best 137 assists to keep teammates like Tony Snell (10.7 ppg) productive. The Lobos have gone 6-1 on Neutral courts this year, while the Cardinals are a perfect 5-0. ATS wise the Lobo come in 23-8 overall and 6-0 in their last 6, while the Cardinals are 19-13-1 ATS overall and 5-0 ATS in their last 5.
Free Pick: Last night on Pregame's Podcast i Indicated that I was looking at the Under in this game, well upon further review I have gone the other way. Both of these teams can play excellent defense as the Lobos have allowed just 59.3 ppg on the year, while the Cardinals have allowed just 61.3 ppg, but I see the offenses having a good showing in this one. The Lobos come in hot offensively as they have averaged 76 ppg in their last 6 games, plus they average a solid 69.6 ppg away from home this year. Louisville's offense has been playing well of late as they have averaged 66.8 ppg in their last 4 games, compared to 54.8 ppg in their previous 5 games. This should be a close game through out with just a bit more offense that defense as both teams score in the mid to upper 60's in this one. Go with the Over here.
Betting Strategy - NCAA Bracket Picking TipsPregame host RJ Bell and Pregame Pro Marco D'Angelo discuss the NCAA Bracket Picking rules, and the rules you should NOT break, and give their insights on how to setup the best NCAA March Madness bracket.