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A great intriguing matchup on Saturday will see the Louisville Cardinals take on the Florida Gators with the winner heading to next week’s Final Four. Louisville came into the tournament on a high after winning the Big East conference tournament.

Louisville Cardinals

That high has carried them to three straight wins at US Airways Center with the hope of a fourth. The Cardinals used tenacious defense to shut down the Michigan State offense and beat the Spartans 57-44, holding the Spartans to their lowest point total of the season.

The Gators were able to out run the Marquette Golden Eagles behind Bradley Beal’s 21 points and an effective smothering defense. They defeated Marquette 68-58 and covered the 1-point underdog spread. They held the Golden Eagles to 18 points under their season scoring average.

Florida will need its outside offense to keep them in this game. Over 44% of all the Gators field goal attempts are from outside the 3-point arc. They are shooting over 38% from that range. However, they will be facing one of the country’s most tenacious defenses and one that is ranked in the top 20 in defense against the 3-point shot. The Gators do not turn the ball over often, but they will have their decision making and poise tested against the tough Cardinals defense.

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One disadvantage Louisville has had all season is clearing the boards on the defensive end. However, against Michigan they were able to hold the Spartans to just six second chances. Offensively the Cardinals have struggled most of the year and will be facing a Florida defense that has improved at the tournament.

The game will pit teacher versus pupil. Louisville coach Rick Pitino coached Florida coach Billy Donovan at Providence College. Donovan helped lead the Friars to a Final Four in 1987 under the tutelage of Pitino. Donovan also was an assistant coach for Pitino later on in his career. Both have won National Championships as head coaches.

The current line has the Gators as 1 ‘-point favorites in this contest. The total is currently at 131. Look for a tight Louisville to throw the Gators off their game with tough, intense defensive pressure.

Pick: Louisville (1 ‘) Total: UNDER

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Saturday, March 24th, 2012 2012, College Basketball Betting, march madness

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