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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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NCAA Final Four Odds Louisville Cardinals vs Wichita State Shockers

The 2013 Final Four is here and we will see the Louisville Cardinals take on the Wichita State Shockers at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The game is scheduled for a 6:05 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised on CBSCurrently the Odds for the game have Louisville favored by 10.5 points while the total sits at 133.

Analysis: The ninth-seeded Shockers have not only won four straight games to make the Final Four, but they have done so in blowout fashion. They have topped their opponents by an average of 10.5 PPG, and have held four NCAA tourney opponents under 36% FG.  The Shockers are a stellar 9-1 SU (7-3 ATS) on a neutral court this season, outscoring these opponents by 9.7 PPG. Wichita State continues to win with a hard-nosed defense that allows only 60.9 PPG on 39.3% FG and 32.1% threes for the season. NCAA Tournament foes have scored 62.3 PPG against the Shockers, but have made just 34.3% of their shots. WSU has outrebounded six of seven opponents in the postseason and now ranks 7th in the nation in rebounding margin (+8.0 RPG). The Shockers offense has been pretty strong as well in the tourney, averaging 72.8 PPG despite a subpar 42.7% FG clip. But three-point shooting has been outstanding over their past three wins, as they are 27-of-60 (45%) from downtown. Their three double-digit scorers are junior SF Cleanthony Early (13.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG) and seniors PF Carl Hall (12.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG) and PG Malcolm Armstead (10.9 PPG, 3.9 APG, 3.8 RPG).

Louisville also knows a thing or two about defense, winning 14 straight games (11-3 ATS) by holding all 14 opponents to under 70 points, including limiting 10 of those opponents below 60 points. The Cardinals are now 18-1 SU (17-1-1 ATS) in their past 19 games in the month of March over the past two seasons. Louisville is 10-1 SU (8-3 ATS) on a neutral court this season, outscoring its opponents by 16.5 PPG. Louisville ranks fourth in the nation in scoring margin (+16.2 PPG) with 74.3 PPG of offense (31st in nation) and 58.1 PPG allowed on defense (16th in D-I). The Cards outshoot opponents 45.6% FG to 39.2% FG (28th in nation), but they do not rely on the three-point shot like most Rick Pitino-coached teams do. Louisville makes just 5.6 threes per game (231st in D-I) on a subpar 32.8% clip (217th in nation). This team thrives on full-court pressure, using 10.9 steals per game (2nd in D-I) and a +6.1 turnover margin (also 2nd in nation) to get plenty of easy baskets. This defense has forced 17.8 TOPG in the NCAA's, which is a big reason why the team is scoring a hefty 80.8 PPG on 55.1% FG in the Big Dance. Nobody has been scoring quite like SG Russ Smith (18.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG), who is averaging 26.0 PPG on 54.1% FG in the NCAA Tournament. He's gotten a ton of points by driving to the hoop and drawing fouls, as he's 32-for-40 (80%) from the line in the NCAA's. Senior PG Peyton Siva (9.7 PPG, 5.8 APG, 2.2 SPG) is coming off his best NCAA Tournament game against Duke when he scored 16 points (6-of-10 FG) with four assists and zero turnovers in 33 minutes. This talented backcourt did not play well in last year's Final Four loss to Kentucky though, combining for 8-of-26 shooting (31%) with four assists and six turnovers.  The Cards rallied against the Blue Devils after sophomore SG Kevin Ware (4.5 PPG) suffered a horrific broken leg late in the first half, beating Duke 50-31 after halftime, and are using Ware's misfortune as further motivation to capture the NCAA Championship.

Pick: I really like Louisville in this one. I feel that Cinderella is done here. Wichita has had a nice run and really pulled some shockers (Pun intended) along the way, but this Louisville team is the best team in all of basketball and they will prove it here. Louisville is 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games and they should have covered vs Oregon. They have outscored their opponents by 21.8 ppg in the tourney and 8 of their last 9 wins overall have been by at least 12 points. This is a dominating team with very few flaws, if any. Wichita State comes from the Missouri Valley conference and just havent played may games of this caliber through the year. Yes the beat Pitt, Georgetown and Ohio State in the tourney so far, but how much does this team have left. I also give a big coaching edge to Pitino. He has had 5 days to breakdown game film of this team and you give him that much time and he will have his team more than ready. We also have to look at the Ware situation. This game is in his home town and you can bet that his mates will be going all out for him, just like the 2nd half of the Duke game. Not just the taleny gap is working against the shockers, but the coaching gap and emotional gaps as well. Look for the Cardinals to win by 17 + here. 

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