Editor's note: Brian Edwards is on fire in college hoops, hitting 10 straight winners. He owns a 13-1 record since Feb. 21 and has this pay-if-it-wins-only selection for tonight's Cincy-Louisville showdown.
**Cincinnati at Louisville**
--As of early this morning, most betting shops had Louisville (24-5 straight up, 15-14 against the spread) installed as a 10-point home favorite with a total of 121.
--Rick Pitino’s team picked up its best win of the season Saturday at Syracuse. Russ Smith made several big plays at crunch time to lead the Cardinals to a 58-53 victory over the Orange as 1.5-point underdogs. Smith, U of L’s leading scorer with an 18.3 points-per-game average, finished with a team-high 18 points. Gorgui Dieng produced 11 points, 14 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots, while Luke Hancock buried 4-of-5 shots from 3-point land en route to a 12-point effort.
--Louisville has limped to a 5-9 spread record at home, but the Cardinals have only lost once (to the ‘Cuse) at the KFC Yum! Center.
--Cincinnati (20-9 SU, 10-15 ATS) snapped a three-game losing streak by capturing a 61-56 win Saturday over UConn, but it failed to cover the spread as a 7.5-point home favorite. The 117 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 127-point total. Sean Kilpatrick was the catalyst for Cincy, producing 20 points, five rebounds, three steals and three assists without committing a turnover.
--Cincy has only been an underdog four times, going 2-2 ATS. The richest underdog situation came in a 57-55 loss at Syracuse as an eight-point puppy. In the two spots where the Bearcats were underdogs of six points or more, they took the cash both times.
--Cincy is 48th in the RPI Rankings, compiling records of 1-3 against the RPI Top 25, 4-7 vs. the RPI Top 50 and 8-9 against the RPI Top 100.
--U of L is fifth in the RPI, going 3-3 against RPI Top 25 opponents, 6-4 versus the Top 50 foes and 10-5 against the RPI Top 100. T
--Mick Cronin’s team defends extremely well, giving up an average of only 59.1 points per game. But the Bearcats often go long stretches without being able to score. This has been a remedy for ‘unders’ galore. The ‘under’ is an NCAA-best 18-4 overall in Cincy games, going 6-2 in its road assignments.
--The ‘under’ is 13-10 overall for Louisville, 4-4 in its eight home games with a total.
--The ‘under’ has cashed in five consecutive head-to-head meetings between these Big East rivals.
--Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**Baylor at Texas**
--As of Sunday evening, Baylor (17-12 SU, 11-13 ATS) was listed as a two-point favorite at most spots. A few offshore shops had the total at 138.
--Scott Drew’s team has lost seven of its last 10 games after dropping a 64-61 decision Saturday to Kansas St. as a 2.5-point home ‘chalk.’ Rodney McGruder splashed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Wildcats to victory and put Baylor’s at-large hopes in serious danger.
--Baylor is No. 61 in the RPI Rankings, going winless in six games against RPI Top 25 opponents. The Bears are 1-8 against the RPI Top 50, 4-10 against the RPI Top 100. Therefore, they have to make some noise fast. With Kansas coming to Waco this weekend, Baylor will have that opportunity. The question for gamblers is whether or not that makes the Bears vulnerable to a look-ahead situation at Texas.
--Barring a shocking run through the Big 12 Tournament, Texas (13-16 SU, 14-11-1 ATS) is going to miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time in Rick Barnes’s 15-year tenure. The Longhorns didn’t have their best player, Myck Kabongo, for the first 23 games but the sophomore point guard has been back for the last six games. The ‘Horns are 3-3 SU and 3-2-1 ATS since Kabongo returned. He is averaging 16.7 points, 5.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
--Texas lost 78-65 Saturday at Oklahoma St. as a 13-point underdog. Kabongo was limited to as many points (7) as he had turnovers (7), but he did dish out eight assists, grab five rebounds and make four steals. Julien Lewis scored a team-high 15 points.
--Baylor has won three in a row over Texas and has been the victor in seven of the last nine encounters. The Bears are 6-3 ATS over this span. When these schools met in Waco on Jan. 5, Baylor needed overtime to slip past the Longhorns by an 86-79 score. Texas took the cash as an 11-point underdog, while the 165 combined points soared ‘over’ the 133-point total. Cory Jefferson scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Pierre Jackson finished with 24 points and six assists. Texas got 26 and 21 points out of Javan Felix and Sheldon McClellan, respectively.
--The ‘over’ is 13-11 overall for Texas, 6-4 in its home games. The ‘over’ has hit in four straight games for the Longhorns and six of their last seven.
--The ‘over’ is 12-11 overall for Baylor, 5-5 in its 10 true road assignments.
--The ‘over’ has cashed in seven of the last nine head-to-head meetings between these Big 12 adversaries.
--ESPN will have the telecast at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--Ole Miss is in the midst of yet another late-season collapse. On several occasions during Andy Kennedy’s seven-year tenure, the Rebels have looked like a team destined for the NCAA Tournament, only to fall apart down the stretch. The result has been zero NCAA appearances since 2002, the longest drought among SEC schools. This year’s crash reached its peak Saturday night when Mississippi St. won a 73-67 decision as a 12-point home underdog at The Hump in Starkville. The Bulldogs hooked up money-line supporters with a delicious +650 payout (paid $650 on $100 wagers). Kennedy’s bunch isn’t dead yet, but it almost certainly has to win in its last two games vs. Alabama and at LSU and at least one more win, possibly two, at the SEC Tournament. And I don’t see that happening.
--Kansas will take on Texas Tech on Monday night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU. The Jayhawks are favored by 24.5.
--One of the biggest winners over the weekend was Boise St. The Broncos beat Colorado St. 78-65 as one-point home underdogs behind 38 points from Derrick Marks. The win was BSU’s 20th overall and the third over an RPI Top 50 opponent. Boise St. has won four in a row both SU and ATS and going back further, it is 7-1 ATS in its last eight outings.
--Doug McDermott scored 41 points on 15-of-18 shooting from the field in Creighton’s crucial win Saturday at home over Wichita St. The victory undoubtedly puts a wrap on an at-large bid for the Blue Jays.
--Alabama blew a golden opportunity to do the same thing as Creighton at Florida. The Crimson Tide surged into the lead at the O-Dome in the second half, but it went cold offensively down the stretch and lost by 12 in a misleading final score. A late flurry by the Gators in the final two minutes hooked up their backers for halftime bets. Leading by three at intermission, UF was an eight-point favorite in the second half (-11 adjusted).