Georgetown Hoyas (18-7 SU, 11-10 ATS) vs. Louisville Cardinals (18-9 SU, 8-14 ATS), 7:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, February 23, 2010, Freedom Hall, Louisville, Ky. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Georgetown +3/Louisville -3
Georgetown has been getting a lot of respect this season. The Hoyas are 18-7 overall, 8-6 in the Big East, and ranked No. 11 in the country. But as of late, they are not looking so impressive, especially away from home. The Hoyas have lost two games in a row - at Rutgers and home vs. Syracuse. They are 3-4 on the road in Big East play with wins at Providence, Pittsburgh and DePaul, and losses at Rutgers, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Marquette. Louisville has a slightly worse overall record at 18-9 and is a full game ahead of Georgetown in the Big East standings with a 9-5 conference record.
After a loss at St. John’s on February 11, the Cardinals looked dead in the water as far as the NCAA tournament was concerned. They had home losses to Charlotte and Western Carolina, and their best wins were over UConn, South Florida and Cincinnati, all at home. But in their next game, the Cardinals got the signature victory they needed at Syracuse. Since then, they’ve won two more games in a row over Notre Dame and DePaul, and have now gone from completely out of the NCAA tournament picture to easily in right now.
Georgetown has had its share of unimpressive home losses as well, losing at the Verizon Center to Old Dominion and South Florida. But the Hoyas have stepped up against top-notch competition, defeating six teams ranked in the Top 25 at the time, including wins over Villanova, Duke and Pittsburgh.
In their last game, the Hoyas lost at home to Syracuse on Thursday, 75-71. The Orange led by 13 at the half and by as much as 23 in the second half, but the Hoyas went on a 23-5 run to cut the lead to five. It was a remarkable run to turn a blowout into a close game down the stretch, but the Orange got bailed out on a controversial timeout in the final minute called by Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and the Orange squeezed out a victory. Three different Georgetown players scored at least 20 points, which is quite the feat. Austin Freeman scored 21 points, and Chris Wright and Greg Monroe each had 20 points. Looking at the statistics, it’s remarkable that the Hoyas had a chance to win the game. They only shot 39 percent from the field and 5-for-20 on 3-pointers, while allowing Syracuse to shoot 44 percent from the field and 8-for-15 on 3-pointers. The Orange also made 11 more free throws than Georgetown. But the Hoyas won the turnover battle 18-10 and got back in the game with effort and hustle.
In Louisville’s last game, the Cardinals won 68-59 at DePaul on Saturday. Samardo Samuels scored 14 points and Edgar Sosa had 13 points. Louisville won the rebounding battle by 10 and shot 49 percent from the field and 6-for-17 on 3-pointers. The Cardinals held DePaul to 45 percent shooting from the field and 4-for-15 from 3-point range.
Georgetown is shooting 40 percent from 3-point range and nearly 50 percent from the field in conference play, while Louisville is shooting 34 percent on 3-pointers in conference play and 45 percent from the field. Other than those statistics, the teams don’t really differ too much in conference play. Louisville settles for a ton of 3-point attempts (more than 23 per game), so the Hoyas have to do a good job of defending the 3-point line. The key matchup will be Monroe against Samuels. If either of the two gets in foul trouble, the other team will have a huge advantage.
The Hoyas are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss. The Cardinals are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS loss, 1-4 ATS in their last four games overall, 1-5 ATS in their last five home games, and 0-4 ATS in their last four games as a favorite. The favorite and the road team are both 3-1-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams. The Hoyas are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games against Louisville.
Ryno’s Pick: Look for Louisville to win and cover vs. the helter skelter Hoyas.