Lock Georgia Tech As Your NCAA Basketball Pick Against Unmotivated Louisville

Willie Bee

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 3:08 PM GMT

How motivated will Louisville be for its final home game of the season?  Join us for a preview and free NCAA basketball picks as the Cardinals host Georgia Tech.

Time is about to run out on the Louisville Cardinals and any chance they have of salvaging at least something good out of a season marred by the transgressions of university officials and past players. At the very least, they'd like to hang a banner in Louisville proclaiming them as regular season ACC Champions, and even earning a share of that honor requires outside help.

Rick Pitino and his gang can gain some measure of pride by going out winners in their final home game Tuesday night against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The KFC Yum! Center clash is set for an 8 PM (ET) start on ESPN3, and Louisville has a pretty thick 12½ point chalk line at Pinnacle with a scoreboard tally of 137½.

It doesn't seem fair that a team as good as Louisville will see its season come to a close this Saturday while a fairly mediocre squad like Georgia Tech's will get to play at least one more game next week at the ACC Tournament in Washington DC. That's no knock on the Yellow Jackets, but the numbers don't lie and they are sitting in the bottom third of the conference standings with a 7-9 mark while the Cardinals are 1½ behind North Carolina after the Tar Heels topped Syracuse on Monday. For Louisville to get to the top of the heap, the Cards have to win tonight and then take down Virginia on the road this Saturday plus Miami and UNC to both lose later this week.

 

Cards Close Weak In Loss At Miami
After suggesting Georgia Tech (17-12 straight up, 14-12-1 against the spread) was mediocre, I need to back up one step and note the Yellow Jackets are on the uptick with four consecutive wins entering the final week of the regular season. Upsetting the Cardinals on the road tonight would surely give Brian Gregory's group momentum heading into their season finale at home Saturday vs. Pittsburgh, not to mention give the Ramblin' Wreck a great chance of avoiding a 1st-round game in next week's conference tourney.

The Yellow Jackets have covered two of the four games in the streak, the best way to play the NCAA basketball odds boards during the stretch being to bet the 'over.' Three of the four wins went past the scoreboard barriers after Georgia Tech bettors saw five consecutive games stay 'under' the marks.

Louisville (22-7 SU, 12-12-1 ATS) missed a great shot to force its way into ACC lead this past Saturday when the Cardinals dropped a 73-65 decision at Miami. The Cards were getting 2½ points at the closing bell and held a 1-point lead with about four minutes to go. After that, they could only manage to net one bucket while the Hurricanes closed on a 12-2 run.

The Cardinals dominated in the paint early against Miami, and could be thin in the frontcourt for this one with Raymond Spalding listed as questionable. The 6-10 freshman is dealing with a groin injury that caused him to miss last week's win over Pitt.

 

1st Clash In Louisville Since '99
Louisville ran its record against Georgia Tech to 10-4 with a 75-71 win in Atlanta back in January. Damion Lee led five Cardinals in double-digits with 17 points while Chinanu Onuaku posted a double-double (12 pts, 11 reb). The Cards overcame a 7-point halftime deficit for the victory, but couldn't quite overcome the 7 point chalk they were burdened with.

You have to go back to Valentines Day 1999 to find the last time the two schools met in Louisville, the Cardinals skating to an easy 78-58 triumph in that one. Georgia Tech is 4-9 in Louisville, its last win here coming in 1992.

The conundrum here is just how motivated will the Cards be, and I'm not convinced they'll be motivated enough to cover a dozen+ points; the Yellow Jackets are my free NCAA basketball picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Georgia Tech +12½
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes