Duke, Louisville in Mouthwatering Tourney Clash
Louisville and Duke will meet in the Midwest Regional final on Sunday, each looking to secure the last remaining berth in this year’s Final Four.
Tip-off is scheduled for 5:05 PM ET from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.
Whilst the rest of the NCAA tournament brackets have been obliterated by upsets, the Midwest will feature a final between the No. 1 seeded Cardinals and the No. 2 seeded Blue Devils.
Louisville – the last remaining No. 1 seed – has been on a roll since February, demolishing all opposition on the way to a share of the Big East regular season title, a Big East tournament championship and now three straight wins in the NCAA tournament.
The Cardinals will look to advance to a second straight Final Four appearance.
A few hiccups on the road, most notably a poor performance in the ACC tournament, prevented the Blue Devils from obtaining a No. 1 seed, so Duke will look to ride its No. 2 seed all the way to the National Final, a feat the school achieved back in 1994.
Louisville and Duke are the top preseason picks remaining in the tournament. The Cardinals began the season with 17/2 odds to win the tournament (3rd overall) while the Blue Devils opened at 20/1 (8th). Now only one side will be able to enter the Final Four with a shot at winning it all.
Betting Straight Up
Duke (30-5, 14-4 ACC) handed Louisville (32-5, 14-4 Big East) a 76-71 defeat in the final of the Battle 4 Atlantis in Nassau back on Nov. 24. That win however was the first time in four attempts the Blue Devils had topped the Cardinals.
Louisville was victorious in the most notable game the two schools have ever played, winning the 1986 National Final 72-69.
Louisville enters Sunday’s game on a 13-game winning streak that dates back to Valentine’s Day. After opening conference play with a 4-3 record, the Cardinals went 10-1 to close out the season and then went on to a Big East tournament title.
Louisville defeated Florida 72-68 in last year’s Regional Final round, ending a two-game skid at this stage of the competition. The Cardinals are 9-3 all-time in the final round of the regionals.
Duke has won eight of the last 10, but those two losses proved huge. Losing at Virginia put the ACC regular season title out of reach while a defeat to Maryland prematurely ended the team’s ACC tournament hopes.
Coach K’s side isn’t about to lick its wounds though. After all, Duke has built its reputation at this time of the year.
Duke is 15-3 all-time in Regional Final games, including wins in the school’s last three attempts. The most recent of these came in 2010 and 2001, both years in which the Blue Devils went on to win the National Championship.
Betting the Spread
The spread opened at 3.5 in favor of Louisville.
Louisville recorded a 17-13-1 ATS record during the regular season before going 3-0-0 ATS during the Big East tournament. The Cardinals are 2-1-0 ATS so far in the NCAA tournament.
Louisville failed to cover the spread (-10.5) against Oregon on Friday. That marked the first time in 10 games the Cardinals had failed to cover.
Overall, Louisville is 22-14-1 ATS this season.
Duke was 17-14-0 ATS during the regular season. The Blue Devils failed to cover in an upset loss to Maryland in the ACC tournament but has gone 2-1-0 ATS in the NCAA tournament since.
Overall, Duke has gone 19-16-0 ATS this season.
Betting the Total
The total opened at 134.
During the regular season, Louisville compiled a 12-16-0 record, favoring the under. However, the Cardinals went 3-0-0 during the Big East tournament and 3-0-0 so far in the NCAA tournament, both favoring the over. In total, the last seven Louisville games have seen the total go over.
Overall, Louisville is 18-16-0 in favor of the over this season.
Duke was 16-15-0 in favor of the over during regular season play. The total went over in the Blue Devils’ only ACC tournament game and has gone 1-2-0 (favoring the under) during the NCAA tournament.
Overall, Duke is 18-17-0 in favor of the over this season.
The winner of the Duke-Louisville game will play Wichita State in the National Semifinals in Atlanta on April 6.