Home Favorites Louisville, Utah Look to Return to Winning Ways

Jay Pryce

Thursday, February 8, 2018 2:16 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 2:16 PM UTC

Louisville and Utah, each coming off deflating losses, are laying points at home in tough conference clashes against Georgia Tech and Stanford, respectively, on Thursday. Will they take care of business? 

Georgia Tech at Louisville (-10)

Georgia Tech (11-12 SU, 10-9 ATS) heads to KFC Yum! Center loser of five of its last six games. It fell at Boston College 80-72 in overtime on Saturday despite shooting 50.9 percent from the floor. It’s just the third time all season the Yellow Jackets have dropped a contest when hitting better than half their shots. Center Ben Lammers put up 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. The preseason All-ACC selection has nine double-doubles on the year.

The issue of late is the usually rock-solid defense. ACC teams average 72.2 points per game in conference clashes. The Yellow Jackets have yielded 80, 88, 72, and 80 in their last four against those averaging more on the year. Louisville (16-8 SU, 11-10 ATS) posts 77.6 points per tilt.

Tired legs late in the season may be on a factor. Yellow Jackets head coach Josh Pastner has fielded the same starting lineup 11 games in a row. The core is comprised of Lammers, freshman guard Jose Alvarado and sophomore sensation Josh Okogie. The trio rank in the ACC’s top 12 in average minutes per game: 36.6 (Lammers), 35.7 (Alvarado) and Okogie (35.1).

The Cardinals have dropped three straight games for the first time since its 2013 NCAA championship season. The last two came on their own hardwood against Syracuse (78-73) and Florida State (80-76), Like Georgia Tech, their sweet defense is turning sour.

Ranked 24th in the country in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings, Louisville is surrendering 76.3 points per game over its last 10, though three have traversed into extra time. The ‘over’ is 7-2-1 in this span. Louisville’s recent issues slowing foes boils down to its weak perimeter coverage. Opposing guards are beating the Cardinals’ backcourt with ease, driving to the hoop and exposing Louisville’s big men. Frontcourt foul trouble has been an issue.

What can bettors expect from both defenses Thursday? Adjustments, and lots of them. These two programs are shot-stoppers first and match up well. They average 118.3 points per game in four meetings since the NCAA sped up the shot clock in 2015. The game total computes to 132.3 in this span. Don’t be shocked if one of these two fail to hit 60 points. It’s happened five times in the aforementioned span.

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 137.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Stanford at Utah (-4.5)

Stanford (13-11 SU, 13-11 ATS) has won seven of its last 10 games and covered all but one against the spread. Offense is suddenly clicking for the Cardinal, averaging 80.6 points per game in this span. Much of the scoring is happening in Palo Alto, but even on the road, the numbers impress. They post 72.3 points per game on 47.0 percent shooting at UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State. Head coach Jerod Haase is certainly feeling it:

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What a @Pac12 road sweep looks like. #GoStanford pic.twitter.com/ZaGEAiyCCk

— Stanford Men's Basketball (@StanfordMBB) January 14, 2018

Four players average double figures, junior forward Reid Travis leading the team with 19.5 points per game. Senior guard Dorian Pickens (15.5 ppg), senior forward Michael Humphrey (10.9 ppg) and freshman guard Daejon Davis (10.4 ppg) round out the rest. What makes Stanford’s offense formidable is its great blend of inside-out scoring and ability to get to the free-throw line.

Utah (13-9 SU, 10-8 ATS), meanwhile, snapped a seven-game winning streak in a 67-55 loss at Colorado last time out. The Utes shot 35.1 percent from the floor, the second-lowest mark all season. At one point, they trailed by 21 points. Utah lives and dies by the 3-pointer. It attempts 45.5 percent of all its shots from the area, ranking 25th nationally. It went 7 of 23 against the Buffaloes.

It’s tough to decipher what happened to the Utes in Boulder. Many believe this team has yet to play its best basketball of the season. Look for a bounce-back effort tonight. The home team has won nine of the last 10 matchups in this series, and Stanford is just 2-7 SU outside of Maples Pavilion all season.

Free NCAAB Pick: Utah -4.5Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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