The Louisville Cardinals are at Duke University on Saturday for a classic ACC matchup on Saturday evening. The Duke Blue Devils, who have been beating up, will be waiting at Cameron Indoor for the Cardinals. From a team that looked like it was going to be on the outside looking in at the NCAA Tournament to a Duke team streaking at the right time. Both Duke and Kentucky got off to some of the slowest starts we’ve seen from these programs in the same season in a long time. At least one, and usually both programs, are a powerhouse in the NCAA.
That hasn’t been the case this season, but was Duke fooling us all along? Duke were slow starters just like Kentucky, though only one has been rising up to the occasion recently. Early season losses against Michigan State and Illinois set an ugly tone for the Blue Devils. They sort of stabilized, but still never looked comfortable and had to fight to earn their wins. Duke would typically put things on cruise control against inferior schools in the past, but they had to dig in and battle for every point and win. There wasn’t much cohesiveness and chemistry to be had for Duke.
Duke has been able to find their form, though, and have been playing their best basketball of the season recently. A win over the Virginia Cavaliers last Saturday was the signature win that Duke has been looking for this season. It would have been easy for Duke to lay down in their next outing, but they showed up again to dispatch the Syracuse Orange by a score of 85-71 on Monday. Syracuse isn’t at their best this season, but the fact that the Blue Devils avoided a letdown after the win against Virginia says a lot for the improvements they’ve made.
The Cardinals have already beaten the Blue Devils once this season. They defeated Duke by a score of 70-65 on January 23. It was a tight game throughout, with Louisville going into halftime with a 36-33 lead. Duke just couldn’t get over the hump, and that’s exactly what was happening to Duke in more than just the Louisville game for the first two months of the season. The Blue Devils appear to be over that point, though, so the Cardinals must be prepared and not expect to see the same squad on Saturday. Duke goes into this one with an overall record of 11-8 and 9-6 in the ACC. Head below for our free Louisville vs. Duke pick on February 27, 2021.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Duke Blue Devils NCAA Betting Odds:
Louisville vs. Duke Prediction:
If Louisville believes this game is going to be like the first meeting, they might be disappointed. The Cardinals were able to win that contest by only 5 points and I think we’re seeing a much better Duke team come together at the moment. And note that was in Louisville, a place that’s going to be much easier to play for the Cardinals than Cameron Indoor. Overall, Louisville goes into Saturday with a record of 12-5 and 7-4 in the ACC.
They’ve been less successful on the road with a mark of 3-4. Louisville is coming off a 69-57 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Tuesday at home. It was a nice response for the Cards after they were blasted off the court against North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 99-54. It was Louisville’s third straight loss on the road.
They also fell against Miami, 78-72, and Clemson, 54-50. The offense hasn’t been pristine for Louisville this season, as they’re 254th in the NCAA with 68.5 points scored per game. On the road, that number drops hard to 63 points per game. They’ve relied mostly on their defense to win games, but even that hasn’t been on a productive level on the road.
Louisville is 66th in the NCAA with 65.8 points allowed per game. However, they’ve given up more than 70 points a game on the road. Bad news for Louisville with Duke heating up recently as well. The Blue Devils have scored 76.1 points per game for 72nd in the country. Their defense has left something to be desired, but has been showing signs of improvement, and won’t have to deal with a dangerous offensive team at Cameron Indoor.
In their previous five outings, Duke has conceded an average of 68.4 points per game. Better than their 71.2 points on the season. Note that Louisville has gone 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a win, and 3-12-2 ATS in their previous 17 after covering the spread. With Duke heating up and on a four-game winning streak, expect this to be a tough spot for Louisville at Cameron Indoor. Look for Duke to get some payback for the loss in Louisville a month ago.