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ACC action here as the Clemson Tigers travel to take on the Louisville Cardinals. Clemson has been hot recently winning four of their past five games, and enters this one at 15-9. Louisville is ranked #16, but is coming off a historic blown lead to Duke. Oddsmakers opened the Cardinals as six point favorites here for this one, which will be televised by ESPN.
I’ve been banging the table for this Clemson team for a while now. They had a great year last season, making the NCAA Tournament as a five seed and making it to the Sweet 16 before narrowly losing to Kansas there.
But they got off to a slow start this year, and had begun to slip out of the projected NCAA Tournament field. They always had the talent, and I don’t think their slow start was indicative of too much. Now that it’s crunch time they’ve really turned it on, and have won four of their last five games, including a huge win over #11 Virginia Tech two games ago. Clemson has one of the best defenses in the country, that is ranked 15th in efficiency by Kenpom.
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Their losses this year have either been to elite teams or by extremely narrow margins, so they could very easily have a much better record. Their only recent loss was a one-point heartbreaker on the road against Miami, which is representative of how their season has gone. They’ve shown that playing on the road doesn’t affect them too much, as evidenced by their recent 23 point road beatdown of Georgia Tech.
Clemson is peaking at exactly the right time, and if they enter the NCAA Tournament as a 10-seed like ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently projects, nobody will want to face them in the first couple of rounds.
Louisville Coming Off Disaster
This is going to be a very unique situation for Louisville. They’re coming off one of the worst losses of the season, and one of the most important collapses in recent college basketball history. They were on the verge of pulling off a massive upset over Duke and blew it in historic fashion.
Up 23 points in the second half, Louisville melted down and let victory slip through their fingers to lose to the #2 Blue Devils by two points. The loss isn’t going to sit well with their players, and I think they could come out sluggish with a bit of a hangover here. They’ve now lost two straight games after losing an overtime heartbreaker to Florida State the game before. They’ve now lost two straight games in a devastating way, and it’s fair to wonder if the emotional losses will have taken a toll on them.
Clemson has the better defense here, and I don’t know if Louisville’s guys will have the intensity on offense to overcome it. Both of these teams have tended to play in extremely close games recently, so a six-point spread feels a little high here. These teams are nearly equal talent-wise, and the Tigers have all the momentum in the world while the Cardinals are reeling a bit. This should be down to the wire at the very least.
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I love the Tigers here. They’re just as good of a team as Louisville is, and they have a lot of momentum right now while the Cardinals are rattled after two straight devastating losses. Clemson also makes sense in the first half and on the moneyline here.
Prediction: Clemson +6
Full-Game Total Pick
The under also makes a lot of sense here. Both these teams have great defenses, and the under is 7-3 in Clemson’s last ten games. Louisville’s offense will come out flat here after the collapse against Duke, and this one will be very low scoring.