Saturday Night Action
February 8, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
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The Saturday evening card in college hoops is filled up with plenty of ranked teams taking the court. We'll take a look at three key contests inside with Big East and Big Ten, as the night concludes with Louisville trying to stay hot at Notre Dame. Elsewhere in the Big East, two squads in the top half of the conference look to improve their tournament status in southern Ohio.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - 6:05 PM EST
These two rivals meet for the second time this season, as the Bearcats grabbed a 70-61 victory at Pittsburgh as six-point 'dogs on New Year's Eve. Since that victory, Mick Cronin's squad has covered just three of their last nine games, while cashing the 'under' eight times in this stretch. UC seeks its first cover in Big East play at Fifth Third Arena in five tries after posting an 0-4 ATS mark in its first four home conference contests.
Pitt failed to cash as 16 ½-point favorites in Monday's home triumph over Seton Hall, 56-46, but the Panthers have now won six of their last seven games. Jamie Dixon's team has put together a 3-2 SU/ATS record on the road inside conference action, as Pitt covered in the away 'dog role at Louisville in a three-point loss on January 28 in their last highway contest.
The Panthers are making just their fourth trip to Cincinnati since 2007, as Pitt has won two of those three visits. The Bearcats have allowed 59 points or less in four straight games, while the Panthers have scored 61 points or less in two of the previous three contests.
Michigan State at Purdue - 7:00 PM EST
The loaded Big Ten could possibly see a pair of teams make the Final Four, as Michigan and Indiana are the cream of the conference crop. However, the Spartans enter Saturday's play at 8-2 inside the conference, tied with the Wolverines and Hoosiers for the top spot in the Big Ten. Tom Izzo's team has won two straight since falling at Indiana, including a 61-50 home triumph over Minnesota on Wednesday as four-point 'chalk.'
Purdue started conference action at 1-2, which included an 84-61 setback in East Lansing as 11 ½-point 'dogs on January 5. Since that loss, the Boilermakers have won five of their last eight games, while snapping a two-game skid on Tuesday with a victory at Penn State. Matt Painter's club attempts to put together a better effort at Mackey Arena after getting wiped out by rival Indiana in their last home game, 97-60 on January 30.
The Boilermakers have been dreadful as underdogs inside the Big Ten, posting a 1-4-1 ATS record. The Spartans are playing their sixth conference road game, but are listed as a favorite for just the second time (2-0 SU and 1-1 ATS), while going 1-3 ATS as 'chalk' away from the Breslin Center.
Louisville at Notre Dame - 9:00 PM EST
The Cardinals have rebounded nicely since a three-game skid by winning three consecutive contests, coming off Wednesday's blowout of Rutgers. Louisville turned a two-point halftime advantage into a 20-point rout to easily cash as 12-point favorites, while limiting the Scarlet Knights to just 32% shooting from the field.
Notre Dame returns home after getting trounced at Syracuse on Monday, 63-47 as 8 ½-point 'dogs. The Irish couldn't figure out the matchup zone, as the Orange held Mike Brey's team to 34% shooting, while Syracuse responded by converting 49% of their field goal attempts. Notre Dame has cashed the 'under' in seven of the last nine games, including four straight 'unders' in South Bend.
Louisville has played excellent defense on the highway in Big East play, allowing 58 points or less in four of five road conference games (4-1 to the 'under'). The Cardinals and Irish split a pair of meetings last season, including a 14-point victory by Louisville in the Big East tournament as four-point favorites.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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