The second-seeded Louisville Cardinals advanced to the AAC semifinals behind a 92-31 annihilation of Rutgers on Thursday, while the Houston Cougars arrive via their second win over a ranked opponent during a 5-1 span (68-64 vs SMU).
The Cardinals swept the regular-season series and have won 10 of 11 overall over the years.
Louisville was 19-point favorites at midday, according to most books monitored by Odds Shark. The total was 144. (Line updates and matchup report details).
Why Louisville can cover the spread
Did anyone else witness the destruction of Rutgers yesterday? The defending national champs sent the Scarlet Knights out of the American Athletic Conference and on to the Big Ten with a 61-point thrashing in the quarterfinals.
The Cardinals defense was so swarming, the Knights committed more turnovers (17) than they had scored points in the first half.
Why Houston can cover the spread
The Cougars certainly are not the Scarlet Knights. Houston is poised to be a tougher opponent for the Cardinals and might be catching Louisville in a good spot here after getting past a very good Larry Brown-coached SMU team.
Houston closed the regular season with four wins in five games and showed signs of life offensively down the stretch.
They were a double-digit underdog yesterday against SMU and won outright, so they have history on their side.
No one in their right mind should think it's okay to lay this many points in a conference semifinal. That's why the over is an extremely attractive price given how offensive both teams can be.
Houston closed the regular season going over three of four times and has the talent to at least trade baskets with the Cardinals during faster stretches of the game.
These two went over in Louisville and stayed low in Houston. With a lot on the line Friday, this game should make it into the 150-point range.
- Louisville is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games
- Houston is 1-10 SU in its last 11 games when playing Louisville
- Louisville 9-1 SU, 7-3 ATS past 10 games as favorites
- Houston is 5-1 ATS past six games as underdogs
Louisville No. 1, Houston No. 213 (per Odds Shark NCAA power ranks)