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March Madness Basketball Betting — Kentucky Kids May Be Jelling Just in Time For Showdown with Louisville

The question that will be on everyone’s minds in Indianapolis on Friday night involves whether the Kentucky Wildcats have matured and developed enough to hang a defeat on the defending national champions – who double as a bitter rival – when it really counts most.

Indeed, that is an excellent question, but of course most March Madness basketball bettors know that when Kentucky WASN’T so mature and developed, they were able to beat the Louisville Cardinals. So maybe the more legitimate question is, can Louisville demonstrate that it doesn’t just simply suffer from a matchup disadvantage against this opponent?

Louisville got a big scare out of Manhattan, which was more or less a mirror image of itself, since it was coached by Rick Pitino protégé (and suddenly highly-controversial) Steve Masiello. Then they scored a solid win over Saint Louis to advance the Sweet 16. Kentucky, which was a #8 seed, had it tougher, having to get by Kansas State first, then, in a genuine thriller, ruined Wichita State’s undefeated season with a two-point win. A team that was not mature and sure of itself may have folded in the latter stages of that one.

In the March Madness basketball betting lines that have been laid out at BetDSI for this game, the Cardinals are the favorites:

Louisville Cardinals -4
Kentucky Wildcats +4

Over 139 points -110
Under 139 points -110

When we ask whether there are inherent matchup disadvantages for Louisville here, we make reference to the meeting these teams had this season at the Rupp Arena, in which Kentucky had a 42-24 advantage with in the paint, not to mention a rebounding edge, and won by a 73-66 count. In that game, freshman sensation Julius Randle had 17 points by halftime, but came down with a case of the cramps and had to sit out the rest of the way.

The fact is, size DID matter. And it could matter once again

BetDSI customers know that Louisville is not a particularly big team, and there has to be a great deal of difficulty for Russ Smith, who is only 6 feet tall, and Chris Jones, who is only 5′ 10″, to deal with Kentucky’s Harrison twins, who are 6′ 5″. And when a team like Kentucky has the ability to bring blue-chippers like 6’9″ Alex Poythress and 7’1″ Willie Cauley-Stein (2.5 blocks per game) off the bench, they have a luxury that can only complicate things for the defending champs.

Smith has unexpectedly been erratic in this tournament, committing 13 turnovers and making just six of 19 field goal attempts in what is his final go-around as a collegian (as a senior). That is what Louisville wants to avoid, as they look to be the team that forces the mistakes out of the young Wildcat players.

There is a flipside for March Madness basketball bettors to consider, and it involves a “Pitino factor” that cannot be ignored. Their head coach has gone 11-0 in Sweet 16 games, and in his last 23 post-season contests (this includes conference tournaments), his teams have covered 19 times.

So the question becomes whether Kentucky can match the poise and experience of a team that has been through this drill before- not just Smith and Jones, but offensive sparkplug Luke Hancock and big guy Montrezl Harrell. There should be great rewards for them if they are equal to the task.
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