Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, December 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Yes…having Louisville in the ACC makes the annual Big 10/ACC challenge even more entertaining! The #5 Cardinals make their first ever appearance in this event Tuesday night when they host the #14 Ohio State Buckeyes in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPN at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Both teams enter undefeated against very soft schedules (amongst the softest played by anyone in the rankings thus far), which means that either (or both) could be exposed as overrated when stepping up in class. Let’s see how the teams have performed so far in the efficiency numbers posted by college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy. Cutting edge analytics should be part of every handicapper’s arsenal!
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
Ohio State: 106.7 per 100 possessions (#39 in the nation)
Louisville: 108.3 per 100 possessions (#19 in the nation)
Ohio State could be in real trouble vs. good defenses…because that’s a poor number against cupcakes…even if Pomeroy adjusts for schedule strength. You regular readers over the years have seen that time and time again. Ohio State hasn’t looked like a top 40 offense despite running up stats against Massachusetts-Lowell and Sacred Heart. Louisville’s better, but still a question mark in context. Ohio State will have trouble being a legitimate top 10 team this season if they don't improve on this side of the floor.
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
Ohio State: 89.6 per 100 possessions (#17 in the nation)
Louisville: 83.9 per 100 possessions (#1 in the nation)
As we tell you every year on these pages…Rick Pitino coaches defense! The Cardinals currently rank first nationally in Pomeroy’s methodology, even though Kentucky is earning raves from the media for its incredible defense. Louisville is also incredible on this side of the ball…though we should still hold out some possibility that part of the ranking is schedule related. Pomeroy just hasn’t mastered that adjustment factor over the years. Both teams are better on defense than offense, suggesting the possibility that an Under will make some sense once the numbers go up on the board. If you learn one thing from today’s preview…let it be the fact that Louisville plays much better defense than everyone realizes!
Ohio State: #115
When Coach Pitino has his team run, it often hides the quality of his defense from casual fans and the media. His teams get stops in a faster tempo…which is happening again this season. Don’t be fooled by pace illusions or you’ll make bad pointspread selections. Ohio State is faster than average…which means we’ll probably have a lot of quick possessions Tuesday night ending in missed shots or turnovers. Should be entertaining if you like energy, but less-so if you like execution that ends with a basket.
Against the Spread
Ohio State: 1-3 ATS
Louisville: 2-2 ATS
The Buckeyes have been overrated this season, with their only cover coming in a relative non-game with Sacred Heart. Louisville is priced like a national contender, which makes it hard to beat expectations consistently. The Cards are coming off an ugly game where they only beat Cleveland State 45-33 as 24-point favorites. Was that game played in the 1950’s?!
There are five other games in the “challenge” Tuesday evening. And, they’ll all be televised by the ESPN family of networks. Here’s a quick look, going in tip-off order.
Also Tuesday in the Big 10/ACC Challenge
Pittsburgh at Indiana (7 p.m. ET on ESPN2)
Minnesota at Wake Forest (7 p.m. ET on ESPNU)
Syracuse at #17 Michigan (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN)
#24 Illinois at #15 Miami (9 p.m. ET on ESPN2)
NC State at Purdue (9 p.m. ET on ESPNU)
Syracuse/Michigan got the marquee spot on ESPN, but Illinois/Miami is actually the better game in the rankings…and is a rematch of an NCAA tournament game two seasons ago.
JIM HURLEY loves handicapping early season basketball, and will providing his BEST BETS from these games and the rest of the busy Tuesday schedule to NETWORK clients. You can always purchase BIG, JUICY WINNERS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-888-777-4155. Take care of business today so you can build your bankrolls with basketball before Championship Week in college football gets rolling!
Here’s the tentative schedule for the next few days here in the NOTEBOOK…
Wednesday: Big 10/ACC Previews in College Hoops (including Duke/Wisconsin)
Thursday: NFL TV Preview…Dallas at Chicago on the NFL Network
Friday: Pac 12 Championship Preview…Oregon vs. Arizona
Saturday: Big 10 Championship Preview…Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
Great week if you love Big 10 sports! We talk about basketball for Ohio State and Wisconsin today and tomorrow…leading up to the conference championship involving those football teams Saturday Night.
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