The Louisville Cardinals meet up with the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the first round of the March Madness NCAA Tournament. The showdown is headlined by the fact that Richard Pitino, son of ousted Louisville coach Rick Pitino, is calling the shots for the Gophers. This matchup makes for the first time that Richard Pitino will get to coach against the Louisville Cardinals following his father leaving the program.
Louisville comes into the tournament as the seventh seed after a solid year in ACC play, yet were dominated in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament by UNC. Minnesota gets the tenth seed and is coming off an embarrassing defeat in the Big 10 semifinals at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines. The Gophers had a streaky season on the year and fell just short in a number of games against top-ranked opponents.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Betting Line
(Betting Line and Total courtesy of Oddsshark.com)
- #7 Louisville Cardinals (20-13) vs #10 Minnesota Golden Gophers (21-13)
- Thursday, March 21st
- Point Spread: Louisville Cardinals (-5)
Louisville Cardinals vs Minnesota Golden Gophers March Madness Bracket Projection & Pick
Louisville has only lost to tournament-caliber teams on the year and serves as a very solid gatekeeper in the NCAA tournament. Although unlikely to win it all, Louisville possesses one of the most talented rosters in the nation and can hang tough with any team they square up against. Louisville enjoyed their biggest success on the year behind a high-scoring offensive attack and struggled late in the season to get their offense going, resulting in a stumble at the finish line in ACC play.
Minnesota faced some struggles earlier in the season going just 1-5 across a tough six-game spread in Big-10 play but put together an extremely strong season outside of that window. Going 2-1 against Purdue, the Gophers showed that they are sneakily a force to be reckoned with and shouldn’t be counted out against anyone. Despite a near 30 point shellacking at the hands of Michigan in the Big-10 tournament, Minnesota should be coming out to prove a point against one of the true “blue blood” basketball programs.
Louisville will almost certainly win this matchup, but look for the Gophers to keep it within the five-point spread. Minnesota has a decent chance to simply outright win the matchup but even if they don’t, they have a knack for losing in tight games to good teams. Expect an exciting matchup in the first round between these two teams and for the Gophers to cover the spread in a thriller.
Pick: Minnesota Golden Gophers (+5)
Other Eastern Region Matchups
#1 Duke vs #16 NCC vs NDST
#2 Michigan vs #15 Montana
#3 LSU vs #14 Yale
#4 Virginia Tech vs #13 St. Louis
#5 Mississippi State vs #12 Liberty Flames
#6 Maryland vs #11 Blemont vs Temple
#8 VCU vs #9 UCF