The Louisville Cardinals try to get a key road win when they take on the Virginia Cavaliers in a key Atlantic Coast Conference game on Monday night. The opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.
The Cardinals (11-8, 5-4 ACC) have dropped four of five, including an 82-70 home loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday. Louisville is 2-2 on the road in ACC play, though it has dropped its last two games as the visitor.
Virginia (11-8, 5-4) has also been struggling of late, alternating wins and losses for the last six games. The Cavaliers fell on the road on Saturday, dropping a 77-63 decision to the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
It seemed like the Cardinals would put together a winning streak this weekend, leading the Fighting Irish by seven at halftime. But the second half was a completely different story for Louisville, which was outscored 44-25 in the final 20 minutes on the way to a 12-point loss at home.
It was the defensive end that hurt the Cardinals, as Notre Dame shot 63.3 percent and hit 15 of 23 three-pointers. It was an atypical performance for the Cardinals, who rank third in the ACC in opponents’ field-goal percentage at .411.
Offensively, Jarrod West had a season-high 14 points to pace the Cardinals. West is averaging just 6.4 points , but he had the hot hand that no one else had for Louisville, though he didn’t score in the second half.
The Cardinals are averaging just 69.3 points and feature a pair of double-figure scorers in Noah Locke (10.5 points) and forward Malik Williams (10.0). That inconsistency of putting the ball in the basket is going to make it tough to pull the upset on the road against a tough Virginia defense.
The Cavaliers struggled on the defensive end on Saturday as well, giving up a season-high 77 points in the loss to NC State. Coach Tony Bennett’s teams are almost always solid in stopping the opposition, leading the ACC in scoring defense at 59.7 points per game, but things broke down against the Wolfpack.
“We’re not going to win too many games if our defense is below average for large stretches,” Bennett said after Saturday’s loss. “I thought it was partly due to (the Wolfpack). They’re quick. They run good stuff. They’ve got playmakers. But we’ve got to be really on point with that, and that hurt us for sure.”
Virginia needs its defense to be playing well, as its offense ranks 14th in the conference at just 62.5 points per game. The Cavaliers also have just two double-figure scorers, though their lack of pace is usually the cause of that.
Forward Jayden Gardner leads the way with 13.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He’s shooting 52 percent from the floor, including 33 percent from 3-point range.
Virginia also has guard Armaan Franklin scoring at a 12.3-points-per-game clip. Franklin has been a little inconsistent, scoring just six points in a win over Pittsburgh on Jan. 19, sandwiched by games of 18 and 14 points in losses to Wake Forest and NC State, respectively.
Cavaliers Eke Out Win
This is not going to be a game for fans that like a lot of offense. Neither team has been scoring well of late, so this is certainly a game to consider the under for. Virginia is used to playing in games like this, and that should be the difference, with the Cavaliers coming away with the win.
When doing your college basketball betting, take Virginia to win and cover at home.