Louisville vs. Duke: Game Time, TV Schedule, Spread Info and Predictions

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Louisville vs. Duke: Game Time, TV Schedule, Spread Info and Predictions
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NCAA tournament has saved the best for last in the Elite Eight this weekend.

Two of the best teams in college basketball, the Louisville Cardinals and Duke Blue Devils, will square off for the fourth and final spot in the Final Four.

Rick Pitino and Mike Krzyzewski have a combined five national championships and 17 Final Four appearances between them, but neither will be satisfied with anything less than a Final Four berth.

Here we'll get you set with everything you need to know for Sunday's much-anticipated Midwest Regional final.

 

Where: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis

When: Sunday, March 31, 5:05 p.m. ET

Watch: CBS

Live Streaming: March Madness Live

Betting Line: Louisville (-3.5), according to Covers.com.

 

Louisville Player to Watch: Russ Smith

It won't be hard to keep an eye on Louisville guard Russ Smith on Sunday. The junior from Brooklyn is averaging 27 points and nearly four steals per game in tournament play this March.

The 6'1" star has shined in Rick Pitino's full-court press and has been ultra aggressive on the offensive end, getting to the foul line 28 times in three NCAA tournament games.

Look for Smith to score another 20-plus points this weekend and carry the Cardinals offense. In a matchup as even as this one, he'll need to shoot a high percentage from the field and get to the free-throw line early and often.


Duke Player to Watch: Seth Curry

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Sure, the Blue Devils are 21-1 this season with Ryan Kelly in the lineup, but the most important player for Duke will be senior guard Seth Curry. He drained six three-pointers and finished with 29 points in the Blue Devils' win over Michigan State in the Sweet 16.

Curry's long-range accuracy (50 percent in tournament play) combined with his ability to create his own shot is huge in this Elite Eight matchup. Whether he's driving to the basket and drawing two free throws or sinking a corner three, Curry will need to match Russ Smith in the scoring column.


Key Matchup: Louisville's Full-Court Pressure vs. Duke's Ball-Handlers

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Quinn Cook and the Blue Devils turned the ball over just seven times in their win over Michigan State on Friday.
Turning the ball over is a sure way to lose at this stage, and Pitino's squad will be looking to pressure Duke's ball-handlers all game. However, the Blue Devils rank ninth in the country in taking care of the ball, averaging just 10.6 turnovers per game.

Who has the edge in this key matchup?

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Louisville was plus-nine in the turnover category in its 31-point win in the round of 64. It was plus-10 in its 26-point win over Colorado State in the round of 32. But on Friday against Oregon in the Sweet 16, the Cardinals were minus-one and wound up playing their closest game of the tournament.

Duke's backcourt will need to make smart decisions and crisp passes on Sunday in order to avoid surrendering any easy buckets to an already-stellar Louisville team.

The Blue Devils turned the ball over 14 times in their five-point win over the Cardinals in Nassau back in November, but they finished plus-one in the turnover department. A similar performance on Sunday could have Duke dancing its way to Atlanta.

 

Prediction

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Both teams feature tremendous talent, leadership from their upperclassmen and experienced coaching.

However, despite losing to Duke earlier in the season, the Cardinals have won 13 straight games dating back to mid-February. I like Peyton Siva and Co. to cut down the nets for the second straight year.

Louisville 71, Duke 68

 

Link to live bracket

Follow all the exciting NCAA tournament action with March Madness Live

 

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