#11 Louisville (14-3, 5-1 ACC) is playing its third straight game on the road as they travel to Durham for the first ESPN College GameDay showcase of the season. The Cardinals made a season-high 12 three-pointers in a 73-68 overtime win at Pittsburgh on January 14 while limiting the Panthers to 37.5% shooting from the field. Louisville scored the final seven points of regulation to force overtime. Jordan Nwora leads the ACC in scoring this season with 20.4 points per game (20th in the nation). The Cardinals are eighth in the nation in field goal defense (36.8%) and 22nd in scoring margin (+13.1).
#3 Duke (15-2, 5-1 ACC) begins a three-game homestand after being upset 79-72 at Clemson on January 14. Despite the setback, the Blue Devils are still the second-ranked team in KemPom and are the only team ranked in the top 10 of both offensive efficiency (3rd) and defensive efficiency (5th). Sophomore Tre Jones is one of just two players nationally averaging at least 15 points, six assists, four rebounds, two steals and shooting at least 45% from the floor. Jones is averaging 18.7 points over his last three games. Duke is second in the nation in scoring margin (+19.8).
ESPN’s FPI gives Duke an 84.1% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Thursday’s matchup between the Cardinals and Blue Devils.
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Louisville vs. Duke Game Details
Date: Saturday, January 17
Time: 6:00 p.m. ET
Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium (Durham, North Carolina)
- Louisville is 14-3 SU and 8-8-1 ATS this season
- Duke is 15-2 SU and 10-7 ATS this season
- Over 8-8-1 in Louisville games this season
- Over is 11-6 in Duke games this season
Analysis & Picks
This should be a very fun matchup inside one of the nation’s most iconic venues. Duke leads the all-time series over Louisville 10-6 and has won three straight, including a 71-69 victory last February at the KFC Yum! Center. The Blue Devils rallied from 23-points down with 9:55 remaining, the second-biggest comeback in school history and biggest under head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Jordan Nwora had 23 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals in the loss.
Freshman Vernon Carey Jr. will be making his first appearance against Louisville. Carey is the ACC’s only player shooting at least 60% from the floor (60.5%) and is one of the best emerging big men in the nation. He ranks fifth in the ACC in rebounding (8.5) and fourth in blocks (1.9). He will go up against a strong Louisville interior which carries a plus-8.1 rebounding margin. The Cardinals have already had two games this season with three players collect double-digit rebound totals.
I think the Louisville bigs will be able to neutralize the Blue Devils on the inside, but the difference here is Tre Jones and his ability to control the game. Duke has a considerable advantage in the backcourt with Jones and freshman Cassius Stanley, who is averaging 16 points and shooting 63.2% over his last four games.
PICK: Duke -7
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith