Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Expecting Low Scores In Syracuse & Louisville

Willie Bee

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 3:00 PM GMT

The only chance to see Rick Pitino match wits with Jim Boeheim this season is Wednesday night, and we can't pass up handing out a free NCAA basketball pick for this ACC battle.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 128.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

While I'm not necessarily a big fan of all of the recent conference shakeups, it does make me happy to see Syracuse and Louisville back together as league rivals. What doesn't make me happy is that Wednesday night is the lone opportunity we have this season to see two good teams go at one another, each with their own legendary coach.

Discipline from the NCAA has been a theme for both the Orange and Cardinals heading into their 7 PM (ET). Well, technically, the NCAA hasn't caught up with Louisville just yet, the Cardinals self-imposing a postseason ban on themselves this year in hopes that once the suits in Indianapolis do, they'll get off a bit easy on the infractions.

Jim Boeheim has already served his suspension at Syracuse, and he has the Orange rolling on a 5-game win streak heading into tonight's matchup. Bookmaker says the streak ends with the Cardinals favored by 7½ on the morning line and 130 for the total.

 

Cards On 2-Game Skid, Lose Mahmoud To Ankle Injury
Syracuse (18-8 straight up, 13-12 against the spread) has really turned things around after that 0-4 start to the conference slate. The Orange have since won eight of nine, the only setback in that stretch coming at Virginia where Boeheim's bunch still managed to grab the cover as 9½ point underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds.

Four of the five wins in the current streak came at home, but the Orange have also won three of their last four roadies, the most recent this past Sunday at Boston College. Tyler Lydon came off the bench to pace the Orange with 20 points. Syracuse was favored by 10½ in the 75-61 decision; the loss was Boston College's 13th-straight in the conference and left the Eagles 0-12 in the basement of the conference ranks.

Louisville (19-6 SU, 10-11 ATS) was in pretty good position for a top seed in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments this March before the school announced it will sit both out on February 5. As it stands, however, the Cardinals do have an opportunity to have a say in the ACC regular season standings with three big battles vs. Duke plus at both Miami (FL) and Virginia left on the schedule.

They'll have to do so without Anas Mahmoud coming off their bench the rest of the way after it was announced the 7-footer would miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury. The sophomore injured it during practice on Monday, and his absence leaves Rick Pitino's frontcourt even thinner after losing Mangok Mathiang to a foot injury just before Christmas.

 

'Cuse Just 3-7 Lifetime At The Ville
This rivalry was fast becoming my favorite in the old Big East before things changed. It's just the second time they've met as ACC foes, the other almost exactly a year ago in Syracuse where the Orange won 69-59 as rare home underdogs against a then-No. 12 Louisville squad. The Orange overcame a 7-point deficit in the first half by breaking the Cardinals' pressure defense, and outscored a foul-prone Louisville team 21-7 at the free throw line.

Syracuse's last visit to KFC Yum! Center was a little more than three years ago and resulted in a 70-68 upset of then-No. 1 Louisville. The Cardinals, who lead the all-time series 15-8,  would get their revenge at the Carrier Dome six weeks later and again in the Big East Championship Game. That 2013 win in the Chicken Coup was the Orange's third in 10 trips.

Taking the Orange and the points was the first thought that crossed my mind for a free NCAA basketball pick, but the 'under' is too tempting to pass up in this one.