Louisville can already make a strong case for being the state champions of Indiana, but it can really strengthen that argument by scratching out a victory in a venue that has turned into its house of horrors. The ninth-ranked Cardinals attempt to win in the Joyce Center for the first time since 1994 on Wednesday when they travel to No. 21 Notre Dame.
With victories over Evansville, Purdue and Indiana this season, Louisville is 3-0 against opponents from the Hoosier State, but it is winless in its last five visits to South Bend spanning the last 23 years. However, the Cardinals have won two of their first three during a brutal four-game stretch that saw them edge Kentucky on Dec. 21, fall to No. 12 Virginia a week later in their ACC opener and rebound with a commanding 77-62 win over the 25th-ranked Hoosiers in Indianapolis on New Year’s Eve. The Fighting Irish have lost both of their games against top-25 opponents – No. 1 Villanova and No. 20 Purdue – but enter this matchup on a three-game winning streak since those two mid-December setbacks. Notre Dame opened conference play in thrilling fashion Saturday, getting a 3-pointer from Steve Vasturia with 2.5 seconds left in overtime to win 78-77 at Pittsburgh.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ACC Network
LINE HISTORY: Louisville opened as 2.5-point road favorites Tuesday night but by Wednesday morning that number was down to 1.5. The total hit the betting board at 141.5 and has yet to move off the initial number. Check out the complete line history here.
Louisville – No injuries to report.
Notre Dame – No injuries to report.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Louisville (-15.2) – Notre Dame (-13.3) + home court (-3.0) = Notre Dame -1.1
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (12-2 SU, 9-3 ATS, 1-10-1 O/U): Coach Rick Pitino demanded sophomores Donovan Mitchell (team-high 12.4 points) and Deng Adel (10.7) start playing like stars and they acquiesced against the Hoosiers; the former poured in a career-high 25 points off the bench while the latter added 17. Anas Mahmoud, who drew his first start of the season Saturday, was responsible for 10 of the team’s 40 deflections according to Pitino, and the 7-0 junior center may have earned himself another start after finishing with 10 points, three blocks and two steals over a career-high 34 minutes. Louisville’s top-rated defense in the country – according to KenPom’s defensive efficiency metrics – has held Kentucky’s third-ranked scoring offense 25 points below its pregame average and the Hoosiers’ 13th-ranked offense 26 points below theirs in its last two victories.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (12-2 SU, 4-3-1 ATS, 5-3 O/U): Bonzie Colson (team-high marks of 16.6 points and 10.5 rebounds) leads the ACC with eight double-doubles and four 20-point, 10-rebound performances; the 6-6 junior forward halted a two-game stretch without accomplishing either one with a 21-point, 14-board effort at Pitt. Despite battling foul trouble for most of the same game, Vasturia scored 15 points versus the Panthers and had a hand in all 12 of the team’s points in overtime (eight points, two assists). Fellow guard Matt Farrell (13.4 points, team-high 5.6 assists) is one of four Irish averaging at least 13 points, but he has been at his best against power-conference opponents this season, averaging 18.3 points while shooting 50 percent from the field (46.9 beyond the arc) and 17-of-18 from the foul line in those outings.
* Cardinals are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
* Fighting Irish are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog.
* Under is 10-2 in Cardinals last 12 vs. Atlantic Coast.
* Over is 4-1 in Fighting Irish last 5 vs. Atlantic Coast.
* Home team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 59 percent of Covers users are siding with the road favorite Cardinals and the total was not available for wagering on Covers at the time of this preview. View full consensus data here.