Louisville vs. Duke (1.5)
With 17 Final Four appearances, five national championships and over 1,500 victories between them, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Louisville’s Rick Pitino are no strangers to deep tournament runs. On Saturday, two of the most successful coaches in college basketball history will vie for yet another title in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis when the second-ranked Cardinals face the fifth-ranked Blue Devils. Despite the incredible success both coaches have enjoyed, the two have not matched wits since Pitino’s Kentucky team suffered a 104-103 overtime loss to Duke on Christian Laettner’s iconic last-second shot in the 1992 East Regional final, capping what many still consider to be the best game in college basketball history.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET; NBC Sports Network
ABOUT DUKE (5-0): After solving the full-court pressure defense of VCU in a 67-58 win on Friday, the Blue Devils will have their work cut out for them against a Louisville team that has reached double figures in steals and forced at least 19 turnovers in every game so far this season. Duke will also need to rebound from its poorest showing beyond the arc against the Cardinals, who leaned on their zone defense against Missouri and will likely do the same against the Blue Devils to limit Mason Plumlee’s touches. Duke is unlikely to receive much help from its bench as it has accounted for just five points over 66 minutes of action in Nassau.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (5-0): The Cardinals have alternated acceptable shooting performances with poor ones through five games and cannot afford the latter against the Blue Devils after shooting a season-high 49.2 percent in the 84-61 victory over Missouri. Louisville’s ability to force turnovers has played a large role in its overall success (140 of its 374 points this season have come off turnovers, including 56 in this tournament), but Duke is committing 12.8 turnovers per contest and had only eight against a VCU team that led the nation in that category last season. With six assists on Friday, Peyton Siva moved up to fifth on the school’s all-time list.
* Over is 6-0 in Blue Devils’ last six vs. Big East.
* Cardinals are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 neutral site games.
* Blue Devils are 1-7 ATS in their last eight Saturday games.
* Under is 12-3 in Cardinals’ last 15 overall.
1. Plumlee is averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game and shooting better than 65 percent from the field – only four players from a “Power 6” conference have finished a season with those numbers over the last 50 years.
2. The Blue Devils have won 22 straight regular-season tournament games, a run that stretches to the championship game of the 2006 CBE Classic.
3. Louisville has won each of its last four early regular-season tournaments and will be seeking its 27th such championship overall.