Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium (Durham, NC)
Game Time: Noon, 2-8-2016
Line: Duke -3.5 (opened as a PK)
Series History: Duke leads 6-4 (1-1 in Durham, 1-2 in Louisville, 2-3 neutral)
Last Time: Duke 63, Louisville 52 (1-17-2015 KFC Yum! Center)
TV: ESPN with Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas, and Kaylee Hartung
Louisville Radio: 790 WKRD with Paul Rogers and Doug Ormay, Sirius 84, XM 84
Game Officials: Michael Roberts, Michael Stephens, Roger Ayers

My Prediction

This should be a high-scoring & fun game for the Cards & Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor tonight.  Both teams are very good offensively with the big difference here:  DUKE SHOOTS A LOT MORE THREES THAN LOUISVILLE.  On the season, the Cards have shot 382 three-pointers (16.6 per game, 311th in the nation) while Duke taken 534 three-pointers (23.2 per game 58th in the nation).   UofL has just 2 players that have attempted 100+ 3 pointers, Duke has 4.  And thus, guarding the 3-point line is a HUGE emphasis for tonight’s game.

Both teams can score and while Duke has an edge offensively it is slight.  Rebounding & Defense Louisville has a DECIDED advantage.  The Cards are #7 in the nation in grabbing available rebounds and are a full 6 percentage points better defensively than Duke…..and where it counts the most in 3-point defense UofL is one of the best programs in the country at defending the 3.

There are three factors at play here that can’t be measured statistically but will have a big impact on the game:

  1. Cameron Indoor – This is one of the most difficult atmospheres in College Basketball.  Duke has a lot to play for and this is a Big Monday game on ESPN.
  2. Recent Mood After Post-Season Ban – It’s natural to see a let down when the ultimate goal is no longer in front of a team.  Especially immediately after it happens.  Boston College is no Duke and going on the road is tough. It will be interesting to see how this team responds to tough moments that the Blue Devils will give the Cards and whether not UofL digs down and
  3. Health of Damion Lee – Damion Lee will play vs. the Blue Devils.  But how sharp will he be?  How much has he practiced since last Monday?  This will be a huge factor in whether or not the Cards can keep pace with Duke.

Louisville has a regular season conference championship still to play for and I definitely think that is a factor of motivation for the Cards….but I don’t think it is enough.  Even though Louisville’s 3-point defense statistically is one of the best in the country the games in which the Cards have lost has been because opponents have been able to get hot from outside and Duke stays hot from deep.

Ultimately I think Duke wins this one.  There are too many external factors that could affect the Cards mindset in an environment that requires mental toughness.  If UofL pulls it off I’ll be extremely impressed but I always try to keep my assessments honest:

Duke 83, Louisville 75

Team Stats

Louisville Duke
Strength of Schedule (KenPom) 118th 31st
Points Per Game 79.0 (39th) 84.8 (4th)
Avg Scoring Margin +19.1 (1st) +13.3 (13th)
Field Goal % 48.3% (18th) 47.8% (24th)
2-point FG% 52.8% (37th) 53.2% (32nd)
3-point FG% 36.6% (83rd) 39.1% (24th)
Free Throw % 68.8% (205th) 72.5% (78th)
Rebound Rate 57.0% (7th) 51.9% (85th)
Blocks Per Game 5.0 (30th) 4.9 (39th)
Steals Per Game 7.4 (46th) 6.1 (146th)
Assists Per Game 13.5 (148th) 13.9 (124th)
Turnovers Per Game 12.2 (113th) 9.9 (8th)
Opponent Turnovers Per Game 14.7 (43rd) 12.0 (235th)
Team Fouls Per Game 19.3 (153rd) 16.8 (24th)
Opponent Shooting % 37.6% (5th) 43.6 (176th)
Opponent 2-point FG% 41.5% (11th) 47.1% (120th)
Opponent 3-point FG% 30.1% (18th) 35.3% (210th)
Opponent Block Per Game 3.1 (100th) 3.2 (125th)
Opponent Steals Per Game 5.7 (104th) 4.9 (24th)

CrumsRevenge & Duke

10th Final 4: Cards top Duke, Kevin Ware Inspires from @CrumsRevenge on Vimeo.

2013 BB: “R I 5 E” Paul Rogers & Bob Valvano from @CrumsRevenge on Vimeo.

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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