The Louisville Cardinals return home on Wednesday night after horrible showings in two consecutive road games. The Cardinals dropped games to lowly programs Georgia Tech and Clemson over the last seven days to fall to 21-5 on the season. Wednesday night, Syracuse comes to town in hopes of obtaining a resume-boosting win for inclusion in the NCAA Tournament, which is less than a month away.
Louisville tinkered with the lineup in their weekend contest against the Clemson Tigers in Little John Coliseum by bringing Jordan Nwora off the bench, but the star forward continued to struggle, scoring just five points on 1-of-5 shooting, all triples.
Nwora also struggled in the game in Atlanta against Georgia Tech, shooting just 1-6 from the field and recording four turnovers. There are a couple of reasonable theories about Nwora’s struggles. Georgia Tech and Clemson are both good defensive clubs who play significantly better on their home courts, or Nwora is simply worn out from carrying a large part of the load this season.
Regardless of the reason, Louisville needs to figure this out before they experience the same late-season swoon that plagued them at the end of last season.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim finds his team in a familiar situation this season, the bubble. The Orange felt like a relative lock in a weak ACC just three weeks ago, but have since lost four of five games with the only win coming against Wake Forest in a game in which they almost blew a 16 point second-half lead.
Losing to Florida State on the road is nothing to be ashamed of, but you have to take care of business against NC State on your home court.
Louisville is a 9.5-point favorite at home, with the over/under set at 142.
The Orange our eye
Syracuse has shown potential this season to be one of the better teams in the league; they just need to be consistent. The Orange are just 11-14 against the spread this season but are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games. Of their 11 covers, six have come on the road where they are a sparkling 6-1 ATS.
The Orange aren’t just beating the spread on the road either; they are destroying it. Syracuse has outperformed the spread by just north of +9 points per game on the road in 2019-20.
They are 4-3 SU in true road games so far on the season, but just 4-6 straight up as a dog. The score tends to rise when the Orange travel as well, as the total has gone over in all seven of the Syracuse true road games this season.
Who is Louisville?
Is this the team that wins at Cameron Indoor Stadium or the team that loses at Georgia Tech? The answer is both, and it is reflected in their trends.
While the Cardinals are a minty fresh 14-1 straight up at home and 20-4 SU as a favorite, they are just 12-13-1 against the spread overall and 7-7-1 ATS at home. As the home team, the Cardinals underperform the spread by an average of -2.0 points per game.
The totals follow the same trends at 8-7 overall, but Louisville has gone over in five of their last seven games.
It’s just too many points
The most interesting thing about this game so far is that the total has decreased by six points, yet the spread has only fallen by 0.5. Apparently, the public likes this Louisville defense that just gave up 141 points to Georgia Tech and Clemson, while also liking an offense that scored 120 points in those same two games.
Fade the public here. Louisville will win this game, but they won’t cover the number. I also think this is going to be a rock fight that doesn’t get to 140.