George Mason Patriots (1-0) vs. #16 Louisville Cardinals (0-0)
NCAAB: Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 2:00pm EST
Line: Louisville -17.5
The 16th ranked Louisville Cardinals will open their season against the George Mason Patriots Sunday afternoon from the KFC Yum Center. The Patriots went 20-14 last season and won their season opener against Lafayette by a 67-65 score on Friday night. The Cardinals went 25-9 last year, and posted a 12-6 record in ACC play.
Patriots Grind Out Win in Season Opener
The George Mason Patriots will be looking to open their season with two straight wins in this contest. They edged Lafayette by a 67-65 score in their season opener on Friday night. Otis Livingston II collected 14 points on 6 for 12 shooting in the win. The junior guard averaged 14.3 points per game last season and will be leaned on heavily this season. Jaire Grayer is also back in the fold this season after an encouraging sophomore year. The junior forward posted an average of 11.4 points and was second in team rebounding with 5.4 per game. Grayer played well in conference play and could be in for a breakout season. Ian Boyd will now move into a starting role this season after averaging 5.9 points in an average of 19 minutes of playing time. The Patriots experienced a large roster turnover from last year with five players transferring out, however they still return a decent core from last season. They will need several players to progress nicely this season and their front court could be a weakness.
The Patriots were ranked down at 10th out of 14 teams in the A10 in the preseason media poll. Last season George Mason averaged 74.1 points per game, ranking them 157th overall. The Patriots allowed an average of 71.7 points per game, placing them 161st overall.
Cardinals Enter Season Ranked 16th in the Country
The Louisville Cardinals will be glad to put their offseason drama behind them. Rick Pitino is out as head coach and David Padgett has been named interim head coach. The Cardinals did lose their leading scorer from last season in Donovan Mitchell but still feature plenty of talent returning. They will be counting on Quentin Snider along with Deng Adel to pace the offensive attack. Snider averaged 12.4 points per game and led Louisville with 4.1 assists last year, and should be in for a big season. Junior forward Deng Adel will be a key component in both ends of the court. Adel posted an average of 12.1 points and 4.5 rebounds last season, and plays solid defense. Many are predicting a breakout season from V.J. King. The 6-foot-6 sophomore forward did not log many minutes last season, scoring an average of 5.5 points in 13.5 minutes, and shot a solid 42% from three-point range. Defense will likely be Louisville’s greatest strength similar to last season.
The Cardinals were ranked fifth out of the 15 teams in the ACC in the preseason media poll. Louisville averaged 77.3 points per game last season, ranking them 80th overall. Their defense was outstanding last year, allowing an average of only 66 points per game, good for 41st in the Country.
The George Mason Patriots are:
- 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 road games.
- 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog.
The Louisville Cardinals are:
- 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games as a home favorite of 13 or more points.
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite of 13 or more points.
I am taking Louisville in this contest. The Cardinals will again be a very strong defensive team and are up against a George Mason team that only managed 67 points against the Lafayette Leopards in their season opener on Friday night. The Cardinals held opponents to 40% shooting from the field last season, and I can’t see the Patriots doing much offensively. The Patriots do not feature a lot of depth as five players transferred out in the offseason, and scoring points could be an issue this season.
Pick: Louisville Cardinals
The Cardinals are a defensive-minded team that should stifle the Patriots offensive attack. The Patriots will not be a high scoring team this season, and Louisville plays a high pressure defense that will be their strength again this season, plus the under is 4-1 in the Patriots last five games. Louisville lost a lot of scoring from last season, so I don’t expect big points from them.