Big week for NCAA basketball’s Louisville Cardinals

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We’re going to find out real quick just how good the No. 4-ranked Louisville Cardinals (12-0) are this week as they welcome No. 16 Georgetown (10-1) on Wednesday and then travel to Lexington to face No. 3 Kentucky (9-1).

Unlike previous Rick Pitino coached teams, Louisville relies on strong defense rather than firing 3-point shots from all over. They’re ninth nationally, averaging 41 rebounds per game and 6’11″ sophomore center Gorgui Dieng averages 10 boards, 10 points and three blocks per game. He comes into Wednesday’s game with five straight double-doubles.

The Cardinals are playing unselfish team orientated basketball, perhaps better than any team in the nation. They have six players averaging nine points per game with no players averaging more than 13. Senior guard Kyle Kuric leads with 13.3 ppg.

Should Louisville beat Georgetown, it sets up for a nice in-state battle between two powerhouses. Kentucky has already beat Kansas and North Carolina and is battle tested. Louisville’s toughest competition came at home against No. 19 Vanderbilt in a 62-60 overtime win.

We’ll also find out a lot more about No. 18 Indiana (10-0). The Hoosiers travel to No. 20 Michigan State (11-2) and then welcome No. 2 Ohio State to Bloomington on Saturday. IU has been one of the best stories of the season, averaging 84.8 points per game (No. 7 nationally).

The Buckeyes need a healthy Jared Sullinger (back spasms, sprained tendon in left foot) to compete in this one. They’ll need him to compete with Indiana’s 6’11″ freshman Cody Zeller who has averaged 15 points and seven rebounds.

Predictions:

Louisville 71, Georgetown 63.

Kentucky 87, Louisville 85.

Michigan State 77, Indiana 72

Ohio State 80, Indiana 75.

Bowl Madness

The first two days of the college basketball tournament are always a great time, but I’ll take this time of year with all the bowl games coming rapid fire one. We get to see contrasting styles from different conferences match up with 15 games from Tuesday through Saturday.

The most intriguing is Oklahoma laying -14 against Iowa in the Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium. The Sooners come in losing 2 of 3 with QB Landry Jones throwing five INT’s and no TD’s in that span.

On the other side, Iowa comes in without star running back Marcus Coker who was suspended for violating the student-athlete conduct code. Coker rushed for 1,318 yards this season and will be missed. The key to his success has been the big offensive line opening holes.

Ironically, it was just last season before Iowa’s bowl game that their then starting RB Adam Robinson was suspended. Coker replaced Robisnon and rushed 219 yards and two TD’s in a 27-24 win over Missouri.

I like Iowa in this spot to contend for the win. Oklahoma is not happy to be in this bowl and comes in out of sync while Iowa is thrilled.

 

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