Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#673 Virginia 114 vs.
#674 Louisville -7.5
Saturday, February 8, 2020 at 4:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes

This article covers a past game!

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Virginia takes on No. 5 Louisville on Saturday from the KFC Yum! Center at 4pmET. Louisville is in first place in the ACC at 11-1 (20-3 overall), while Virginia is 7-4 (15-6 overall). The Cardinals have won nine straight games, while UVa has won three consecutive games.

These teams met twice last season with the Cavs winning both games on the road and at home.

Getting back on track

Virginia may not be ranked, but they are a dangerous team right now. That's because their defense is on point. They've won three straight and while beating Wake Forest on the road in overtime by two is not impressive, taking out No. 8 Florida State (61-56) and Clemson (51-44) at home is. Senior Braxton Key (10.7ppg, 7.4rpg) has been the KEY in the last two games, scoring 13 against FSU and 19 in their win over Clemson. Key will rebound the ball, but getting some points from him is a bonus. Guard Kihei Clark dished out 10 assists against the Tigers, but had four turnovers. He's had a solid season with 9.8 points and 6.0 rebounds. He scored just one point against Clemson, but had averaged 12.5 points in his previous three games.

But Virginia is not going to outscore many opponents. Their defense is still ranked number one in points allowed per game (50.4ppg) and field goal percentage defense (35.7%). They also rank 17th in three-point defense and they outrebound teams by 4.7 per game. They rank 352nd out of 353 teams in pace of play at 63.2 possessions per game. That might explain the low scoring output on offense (56ppgI though poor shooting hasn't helped (40.1% FG, 27.6 3pt).

At 56 in the latest Net Rankings, Virginia shouldn't think they are automatically in the NCAA Tournament, just because they have a winning record or won the whole thing last season. KenPom doesn't love them either, as he has them ranked 54th overall, 276th in adjusted efficiency offense and 1st in adjusted efficiency defense.

Flat against Wake Forest

I should have known that Louisville would finally throw in a stinker and it really wasn't that bad. They beat lowly Wake Forest 86-76 on Feb. 5, but they didn't cover the 15 at home. They certainly didn't show up for the contest as they were down by 12 at the break and then outscored the Deacs by 22 in the second half and shot 57% to get the win. The Cards received big games from Jordan Nwara (21 points, 7 rebs) and Dwayne Sutton (15pts, 11 rebs., 4asts). Louisville shot 48% from the field for the game and 50% (14-28) from beyond the arc. They struggled some defensively, allowing Wake Forest to shoot 45% from the field.

Louisville averages 75.9 points per game with an average scoring margin of +12.9 and an effective field goal percentage of 53.9%. They allow 63 points per game with an opponent effective field goal percentage of 43.3%. KenPom has them ranked 8th overall, just behind No. 2 Duke for top ACC teams. They also rank 15th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 19th in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Nwora leads the Cards in scoring with 19.3 points per game and adds 7.4 rebounds per game. Sutton, a 6-5, 220 pound forward, leads in rebounds with 8.5 per game.

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Tony Bennett just seems to have Louisville's number. They've won nine straight in this series and that's due to the style of play. Uptempo teams don't want to play Virginia. Most teams don't want to play Virginia period. Since the Boston College road loss, they've played much better on the road, winning two of three and covering the Florida State game (54-50). Take the points with the road dog.

Prediction: Virginia

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Virginia plays the second-slowest pace in the nation. In the last 10 games, they've yet to score over 65 points. On the road, they averaging just 53.2 points per game on 39.9% shooting. But defensively, they are allowing just 56.3 points per game on the road. Teams are shooting just 38.3% from the floor against them away from home. Louisville's defense is outstanding at home, as they allow just 36% from the field.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!