Let’s crunch some numbers from a market perspective for the Jimmy V Classic doubleheader at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. (Ken Pomeroy’s computer rankings entering the week from kenpom.com are posted in parentheses.)
Louisville (2) vs. Texas Tech (29)
Undefeated Louisville (9-0) has a 5-4 record against the spread despite very high expectations. This is clearly a team many are considering Final Four-caliber. The Cards have passed every litmus test so far, winning and comfortably covering two early ACC games at Miami and vs. Pittsburgh and beating red-hot Michigan 58-43 as six-point favorites in last week’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Last season’s national runner-up, Texas Tech (5-3), has lost a lot of talent. The Red Raiders opened the new campaign with easy home wins over cupcakes. Playing away from Lubbock has yielded an 0-3 record straight up and ATS. Tech lost as the favorite against Iowa and Creighton in a Las Vegas tournament, then fell at DePaul on Wednesday.
Statheads will note that Texas Tech’s struggling offense (32.8% shooting vs. Iowa, 43.3% vs. Creighton, 39.6% at DePaul) should cause real trouble against Louisville’s elite defense.
Sharps respect defense, but understand the Louisville-Tech point spread may rise too high to offer value on the highly regarded favorite.
Indiana (28) at Connecticut (53)
Indiana (8-1) stormed through a soft home schedule, covering six of eight out of the gate. That included a Big Ten/ACC Challenge blowout of Florida State 80-64 laying 1.5 points. But the Hoosiers face-planted Saturday in their road opener at Wisconsin. That was an embarrassing Big Ten loss of 84-64 that missed the point spread by 22 points.
Indiana will have to prove it can execute and defend away from home. It might be one of those teams that is underrated at home because it loves to run up the score but is overrated in less friendly conditions.
Connecticut (6-2) has quietly been one of the best betting values in college basketball thus far at 7-1 ATS. UConn’s slate includes an upset win over Florida, a tight double-overtime loss to Xavier that covered and an 80-55 rout of Miami laying just 1.5 points.
This is possibly a great litmus test for both. UConn may be better than its computer rating, having obviously been much better than market assessments, while Indiana could turn out to play worse than its ratings away from Bloomington. Study the markets through the day to get a read on sharp assessments.