NCAA Basketball Picks for Louisville vs. UCF

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 12:38 PM GMT

The Louisville Cardinals will move on without one of their key players for the rest of the season, as they prepare to take on the UCF Knights Tuesday.

Let’s take a closer look at the college basketball odds for this American Athletic Conference matchup at CFE Arena, with the opening tip scheduled for 5:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

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Tough loss(es)

Louisville dropped its second game of the 2013-14 campaign last time out, as it suffered a 73-66 defeat to the Kentucky Wildcats as 1.5-point road favorites last Saturday, while it also announced the dismissal of Chane Behanan Monday.

Behanan was averaging 7.6 points and 6.3 rebounds off the bench, but he was removed from the program by head coach Rick Pitino due to rules violations.

It’s important to point out that the Cardinals are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a SU loss.

Streaking

UCF has won five games in a row, but only the last one came against a lined opponent, as it picked up a 90-62 blowout victory over the Valparaiso Crusaders as three-point home favorites on Dec. 22.

The Knights have been red hot from beyond the arc in their last four games—knocking down 11-plus three-point shots over that stretch.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the team is 9-17 SU and 13-13 ATS as an underdog, with the OVER going 9-6 in that situation.

Opening up in a new conference

College basketball handicappers will need to take a long look at the Cardinals in this spot, as they’ve won their first conference road games in each of the last six seasons.

Louisville will play its first-ever game in the AAC, as it looks to improve upon its 24-5 SU record in December over the last four campaigns.

Facing top competition

The Knights will host a top-25 opponent for just the fourth time in school history, while they’ve compiled a dismal 3-25 SU all-time record against ranked opponents overall.

UCF is worth a look as a home underdog due to winning 22 of 23 home games during this particular calendar month under head coach Donnie Jones.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers play the total for their college basketball pick, as the OVER is 4-1-1 in the Knights’ last six home games.

College Basketball Pick: Over