Louisville Cardinals vs. Oregon Ducks (+10, 129.5)
As impressive as Oregon was in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the 12th-seeded Ducks will need to be even better when they face No. 1 seed Louisville in the Midwest Region semifinal Friday in Indianapolis. Oregon advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2007 after defeating No. 5 seed Oklahoma State and No. 4 seed Saint Louis last weekend in San Jose, but the Ducks committed a total of 36 turnovers in the two wins.
While the Ducks were able to overcome their high turnover numbers in the first two rounds, Louisville might not be so forgiving. The Cardinals, who routed 16th-seeded North Carolina A&T and No. 8 seed Colorado State in their first two games, uses a tenacious defense to force an average of 19 turnovers per game. Louisville is peaking at the right time with 12 straight wins, including a dominant 78-61 victory over Syracuse in the Big East title game on March 16.
TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, CBS
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (31-5, 22-14-0 ATS): The Cardinals are second in the nation in turnover margin (plus-6.3) and steals (11), and they’re facing an Oregon team that led the Pac-12 with 14.2 turnovers per game. Coach Rick Pitino compared Oregon’s up-tempo offense to Missouri, which lost 84-61 to the Cardinals on Nov. 23. The Cardinals’ backcourt of Russ Smith and Peyton Siva ranks among the best in the country, and Smith averaged 25 points and five steals in two games last weekend. Center Gorgui Dieng could play a key role in neutralizing Oregon senior forward Arsalan Kazemi.
ABOUT OREGON (28-8, 15-18-1 ATS): The Ducks have won five straight, including a win over UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament title game. If they can somehow limit their turnovers, the Ducks have the offensive firepower to make things interesting. Kazemi is averaging 16.5 rebounds in the tournament, and Oregon dominated the boards in its first two tournament games. Freshman guard Damyean Dotson averaged 20 points last weekend, when the Ducks made 16 of their 33 shots from 3-point range. The Ducks feature a balanced offense, with six players averaging at least eight points.
* Ducks are 5-1 ATS in their last six non-conference games.
* Cardinals are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
* Over is 4-1 in Ducks last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Under is 7-3 in Cardinals last 10 NCAA tournament games.
1. Since the NCAA expanded to 64 teams in 1985, only one No. 12 seed — Missouri in 2002 — has advanced to the Elite Eight.
2. Pitino is 44-16 in the NCAA Tournament.
3. The winner advances to the Elite Eight on Sunday against second-seeded Duke or No. 3 seed Michigan State.
Michigan State Spartans vs. Duke Blue Devils (-2, 134.5)
Few teams have experienced more success in Indianapolis during NCAA Tournament play than Duke and Michigan State. Two of college basketball’s premier programs look to continue their incredible run in that city Friday when the second-seeded Blue Devils face third-seeded Michigan State in the Midwest Regional semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Duke has won six of seven NCAA Tournament games in Indianapolis – including a pair of national championships in 1991 and 2010 – while Michigan State is 7-1 in such games, including its last national championship run in 2000.
The Blue Devils advanced to their 13th Sweet 16 in the last 16 years with Sunday’s 66-50 victory over Creighton, while Michigan State cruised to a 70-48 win over Memphis on Saturday for its 11th berth in the regional semifinals over the same span. The winner of this contest will meet top-seeded Louisville or No. 12 seed Oregon in the Elite Eight on Sunday.
TV: 9:45 p.m. ET, CBS.
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (27-8, 14-16-2 ATS): Keith Appling practiced Monday and “is going to be fine,” according to coach Tom Izzo, after injuring his left patellar tendon during the Spartans’ victory over Valparaiso and aggravating a shoulder injury against Memphis. Adreian Payne recorded his first double-double in the NCAA Tournament with 14 points and 10 rebounds against the Tigers. He also added a career-high five blocks, a single-game record by a Michigan State player in a NCAA Tournament game. Gary Harris’ 23 points Saturday were the most by a Spartans freshman in the Big Dance since Shawn Respert scored 27 against Cincinnati in 1992.
ABOUT DUKE (29-5, 18-16-0 ATS): Assistant Chris Collins will reportedly accept the coaching vacancy at Northwestern at the end of the season. On the court, Duke turned in its second-worst shooting performance of the season (38.8 percent) against the Bluejays, but held the country’s second-best shooting team to season lows in points and shooting percentage (30.2). Although freshman Amile Jefferson’s two-point, two-rebound performance in 11 minutes wasn’t particularly noteworthy, his defensive effort against All-American forward Doug McDermott – who finished 4-of-16 – played a key role the Blue Devils’ win. Mason Plumlee, Josh Hairston and Ryan Kelly all battled foul trouble. Duke secured its 2,000th victory Sunday, becoming the fourth team to accomplish the feat.
* Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
* Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
* Blue Devils are 1-4 ATS in their last five NCAA Tournament games.
* Spartans are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games following a ATS win.
1. Duke is 7-1 against Michigan State under coach Mike Krzyzewski, the loss coming in the Sweet 16 in 2005.
2. The Spartans boast a plus-23 rebounding margin through two games in the NCAA Tournament (98-52)
3. The Blue Devils are one win from hitting 30 victories for the fourth time in the last five years, and for the 13th time under Krzyzewski.