HAS SLUMPING LOUISVILLE FALLEN OUT OF THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP DISCUSSION?

Heading into Monday Night’s “Big Monday” road game at Georgia Tech, many pundits and handicappers are wondering what’s happened to the Louisville Cardinals. They used to be on the short list of teams who could beat Kentucky. Now, they’re playing like a bubble team!

LOUISVILLE VS. “BUBBLE CALIBER” TEAMS
Louisville (-8.5) barely beat Miami 55-53
Louisville (-2.5) lost at Syracuse 69-59
Louisville (-10.5) lost to NC State 74-65

Sorry…they’re playing worse than bubble teams! That listing represents Louisville’s last three outings. Syracuse has already suspended themselves from postseason play. They’d be on the bubble if they hadn’t. Miami and NC State may or may not make the Dance. Louisville just missed going 0-3 straight up against that trio, missing the spread by 6.5, 12.5, and 19.5 points. The average result was a loss by 5.7 points…even though two of the three games were at home.

The good news is that Georgia Tech isn’t a bubble team. Monday’s host is only 3-12 in ACC play. Maybe this is just what the doctor ordered in terms of getting the Cardinals back on track. Or, maybe this is the game where everyone realizes Louisville officially doesn’t matter any more. Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about this ACC battle.

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
Louisville: 105.9 per 100 possessions (#86 in the nation)
Georgia Tech: 101.2 per 100 possessions (#182 in the nation)

Both teams have struggled on offense this year. Louisville’s clearly not a serious championship threat with that ranking. Media coverage has been way to slow to mention this glaring weakness. Georgia Tech’s “struggling” has been way down at a whole different level though. Tech is inept by major conference standards.  Amazing that Louisville can struggle so badly shooting, while still ranking almost 100 spots higher than Tech.

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
Louisville: 88.9 per 100 possessions (#6 in the nation)
Georgia Tech: 93.4 per 100 possessions (#30 in the nation)

Both teams are much better on this side of the ball. The only reason Louisville is a threat to upset good teams is that they can shut them down and stay close. A problem has been developing recently though in terms of fatigue. The team is looks to be playing tired. When that happens, their defense wilts and their offense just gets worse. We’ve seen a lot of ugly basketball this year. This statistical matchup is suggesting another wrestling match grinder may be on the way. These defenses are MUCH better than these offenses.

Pace Ranking
Louisville: #127
Georgia Tech: #214

Differences in approach, though not to extreme degrees. Louisville’s pace would be faster if they didn’t have so many extended possessions off their own missed shots. That’s part of what’s causing their fatigue. They played too fast for their own good. Georgia Tech grades out slower than average…though they probably also have an issue where extended possessions off misses is creating the illusion of “slow” basketball.

Against the Spread
Louisville: 9-15-2
Georgia Tech: 12-11-2

Louisville has been priced like a Final Four team much of the season, which is why they’ve been so horrible against the spread. They were a disappointing 9-12-2 before that three-game ATS skid vs. bubble teams we documented above.  Georgia Tech has been priced fairly accurately for the most part. Though, teams near the bottom of the standings can be prone to erratic swings. Handicappers will have to determine whether or not Louisville is still overpriced…or if this is an opponent they can bully with their defense.

Given the relatively light Monday schedule (only four college games on the board, with eight NBA games), there’s a good chance this matchup will show up on the NETWORK slate. You’ll be able to purchase the final word for Monday right here at the website with your credit card in the hours leading up to tipff. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 Monday or any weekday during normal business hours. Hey, we’re less than a week away from March! Get your ducks in a row!

Back with you tomorrow for one of the most anticipated games of the year in the Big 10. In fact, we have blockbusters almost every night this week!

Tuesday: College Basketball…Wisconsin at Maryland in the Big 10
Wednesday: College Basketball…Baylor at Iowa State in the Big 12
Thursday: NBA Special…Golden State at Cleveland on TNT
Friday: Early Look…Syracuse at Duke in the ACC
Saturday: College Basketball…Arizona at Utah in the Pac 12
Sunday: College Basketball…Michigan State at Wisconsin in the Big 10
Monday: College Basketball…Oklahoma at Iowa State in the Big 12

That’s two big tests for Wisconsin at the top of the Big 10 That’s two big tests for Iowa State as they try to chase down Kansas in the Big 12. That’s the game of the year in the Pac 12. And, that’s a potential NBA Championship preview in special pro hoops edition on Thursday!

It’s time to attack the baskets! Too many of you have been taking a rest break after the Super Bowl waiting for March Madness to arrive. Did you see that schedule? The madness is already here! Every dollar you earn this week will multiply itself over several times between now and Championship night. Jump on the BIG MONEY BANDWAGON with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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16
Aug

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