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St. Louis Billikens vs. Louisville Cardinals Betting Line & NCAA Handicapping Prediction

Billikens vs Cardinals Pick – NCAA Tournament

Entering the 2014 NCAA Tournament, the fourth-seeded Louisville Cardinals were looked at as one of the most underrated teams in the field (by both fans and analysts alike). [ad-4468020]

2014 NCAA Tournament Free Picks
Midwest Region – Third Round
No. 5 St. Louis (27-6, 13-3 A 10) vs. No. 4 Louisville (30-5, 15-3 AAC)
Saturday, March 22 2:45 PM ET CBS
Spread: Louisville -9.5
Over/Under: 133

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Their No. 4 seed was considered unjust by many people across the country, but as it turns out, it took a narrow escape to get past a tough Manhattan team en route to a matchup in the third round against No. 5 St. Louis.

St. Louis

Speaking of narrow escapes, the St. Louis Billikens epitomize close victories from Round 2.

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They took down No. 12 North Carolina State 83-80, and if it weren’t for poor free-throw shooting on the part of the Wolfpack, it likely would have gone the other way.

The big concern for St. Louis is free-throw shooting. It’s true that the Wolfpack made just 20 of 37 free throws, but the Billikens were equally unimpressive, knocking down just 12 of their 26 (46.1 percent compared to 70 percent on the year).

It took a 14-point second-half comeback to force overtime, and luckily for St. Louis and its fans, the team came through in the end.

Looking forward, the Billikens have an offensive juggernaut on their hands in Louisville.

The Cardinals are averaging 82.1 points per game—the eighth-best scoring average in college basketball—but luckily for St. Louis, defense has been its specialty all season.
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Louisville

The St. Louis Billikens are averaging just 70 points per game on the year. That’s the 204th-best mark in the nation—nothing to worry about if you’re the Louisville Cardinal—but it’s St. Louis’ defensive production that will pose a problem.

On the year, the Billikens are giving up just 61.8 points per contest. It’s true that the NC State Wolfpack managed to drop 80 points on them in Round 2, but it took overtime to do it.

This is going to be a battle of offense versus defense; however, Louisville brings both to the table.

The Cardinal, while averaging the eighth-most points per game this season, are allowing just 61.1 points per game, which is the 15th-best mark in college basketball.

If Louisville can get back on track defensively against St. Louis, it shouldn’t have a problem holding it below its season average. It’s scoring on the defense that will be a much more difficult task, which will keep this game close up until the clock strikes zero.

Prediction: Louisville 73 – St. Louis 68

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