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Minnesota vs. Louisville - 3/21/19 NCAA Tournament First Round Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
Minnesota vs. Louisville
Date & Time Thursday March 21, 2019, 12:15 PM (EDT)
Location
Wells-Fargo Arena
Des Moines, IA
The Line
Louisville Cardinals -5 -- O/U: 135
TV Channel
CBS
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David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Louisville Cardinals meet in an NCAA tournament first round matchup from the Wells Fargo Arena in college basketball action on Thursday afternoon.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers enter the tournament as the #10 seed in the region after finishing the regular season with a record of 21-13, including non-conference wins over Washington, Texas A&M and Utah as well as a loss to Boston College. The Gophers finished conference play with a mark of 9-11, earning the #7 seed in the Big Ten tournament, defeating Penn State and Purdue before falling to Michigan in the semifinals. Amir Coffey leads Minnesota in scoring and assists with 16.3 points and 3.2 assists per game while Jordan Murphy is 2nd in scoring and tops in rebounding, averaging a double-double per game with 14.8 points and 11.5 rebounds. Daniel Oturu is Minnesota’s 3rd double-digit scorer, averaging 10.8 points per game this season. As a team, Minnesota is averaging 70.8 points per game on 43.7% shooting from the field, 32.1% from behind the arc and 67.9% from the foul line this season.

The Louisville Cardinals come into March Madness as a #7 seed, finishing the year with a 20-13 overall record, including a non-conference wins over tournament teams like Michigan State and Seton Hall as well as losses to Tennessee, Marquette and Kentucky. The Cardinals finished conference play with a 10-8 mark in ACC play, good for the #7 seed after missing out on the 6-spot thanks to a tiebreaker with Syracuse. Louisville defeated Notre Dame before falling to North Carolina in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament. Jordan Nwora leads Louisville in scoring and rebounding with 17.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while Dwayne Sutton is averaging 10.2 points as Louisville’s only other double-digit scorer this season. Christen Cunningham is also averaging 9.8 points and a team-high 4.9 assists per game this season. As a team, Louisville is averaging 74.5 points per game on 43.4% shooting from the field, 34.2% from behind the arc and 77.5% from the foul line this season.

Minnesota is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 NCAA tournament games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games while the under is 9-4 in their last 13 games overall. Louisville is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record and 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games while the over is 3-0-2 in their last 5 NCAA tournament games.

It’s hard for me to believe that the selection committee doesn’t take storylines into account or have a sense of humor with some of their selections, as you have a Richard Pitino-led Minnesota team going up against the school that tarnished the name of his father amidst a bunch of NCAA investigations. With that said, both of these teams come into the tournament playing some solid basketball and while the Gophers have had their ups and downs this season, Minnesota is also 5-1 SU on a neutral floor this season. I’m not saying Minnesota wins this outright, but this is a game that I think will be a lot closer than expected, and I’ll want the points on my side here.

Pick:
Minnesota +5

Chris has been a sports fan from when he was old enough to pick up a basketball and was a standout offensive lineman throughout high school and college. Chris uses that same instinct, determination and drive to analyze trends and statistics to find and produce winners on a consistent basis. Chris has been writing for Sports Chat Place since 2016 and covers a wide array of sports from college and pro football, college basketball, hockey and baseball.

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