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Two teams that are in dire need of a big time victory to get some momentum going towards the NCAA Tournament meet up on Monday night in the City of Brotherly Love, as the Connecticut Huskies duke it out with the Louisville Cardinals.
Matchup: Louisville Cardinals vs. Connecticut Huskies
Date: Saturday, March 12th, 9:00 ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
NCAA Basketball Odds: OTB
Cardinals Notes: Does Head Coach Rick Pitino really have a side that has the ability to capture a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament? The possibility has to at least be considered even though it hasn’t been the most horrifying road into the Big East Tournament finale in the world. Every challenge that looked daunting seems to have been passed. Of course, something must be said about the fact that both wins in this tournament came after teams thought that their missions were accomplished. The Marquette Golden Eagles probably locked up their slot in the NCAA Tournament the day before getting bounced by the ‘Ville, while the Notre Dame Fighting Irish had to think they had that ever so coveted No. 1 seed in hand before giving up the huge comeback to the Cardinals on Friday night. Preston Knowles, a man that has a history of doing just about everything for his team, came up with one of his biggest games of the season against the Irish, scoring 20 points. He now has 35 total points, 11 assists, and 12 boards on the tournament in just two games, and he is clearly going to be the man of the hour to try to stop for the Huskies. The question out there is whether too much energy was expended to try to come back from a huge halftime hole against the Fighting Irish to be able to fight off the Huskies in the finale on Saturday.
Huskies Notes: The truth of the matter is that this game really doesn’t mean all that much to the Huskies in terms of seeding for the NCAA Tournament. They’re probably going to be somewhere around a No. 4 seed one way or the other, and they have already proven their point that they are a team to beat for certain in the upcoming dance. However, this is a chance for Kemba Walker to finish what he started five days ago, and that’s etching his name, and this season’s team, into UConn lore, as a Big East Tournament championship, especially in this circumstance, would be absolutely stunning. Walker never really leaves the court, and he just continues to get better and better and better as games go on. He hit the game winning shot at the buzzer against the Pittsburgh Panthers after being on the floor for all 40 minutes, while the very next night, he played into OT and finished off a tremendous 33 point, 12 rebound performance against the Syracuse Orange. Walker’s numbers are just off the chart in this tournament, and there is no doubt that he is the tourney’s MVP to date. The question is whether a man like Jeremy Lamb or Alex Oriakhi is going to step up to be able to help this team out, or whether Walker is going to have to put the whole team on his back for a fifth straight day.
The Final Word: This isn’t a series with a great history to it if you’re a Connecticut fan. The Huskies only have two outright wins and just one cover since the end of the 2007 season. Still, teams that have to play on Tuesday typically have a terrible history in the Big East Tournament as well, especially this late. Every now and again, a special player puts on a special performance that you just have to stop and stare with, and you know that you have witnessed something truly special. Walker is that special, and he’ll prove it on Saturday night with a fifth straight amazing victory.
Free College Basketball Picks: Connecticut Huskies