Furman @ LOUISVILLE
Furman +8 -110 over LOUISVILLE

Pinnacle +8½ -112 BET365 +8½ -110 SportInteraction +8½ -110 BetOnlin+8½ -110 Bookmaker +8½ -110

Posted at 5:15 PM EST.

Furman +8½ over LOUISVILLE

7:00 PM EST. One cannot discuss the Cardinals with an obligatory reference to “The Chronicles of Chris Mack and Dino Gaudio”. This [fictional, made up] novel tells the age-old tale of how NCAA violations can tear two colleagues, and dear friends, apart.

Whatever it takes to bury last year’s calamity 10-feet under, Mack is all ears. To cleanse this tainted palate, Mack brought in seven fresh faces to the mix, three D1 transfers, two from the high school ranks, and two elite JUCO prospects. Carlik Jones’ dazzling display at the NBA draft combine convinced him to go pro, leaving a gaping hole at the point guard position. That’s not to say Louisville is weak because they’re not. The 2021-22 season represents a blank canvas. There’s plenty to nitpick here, from off court distractions to volatile on floor production. The mitigating factor and potential antidote to all these concerns? Depth. Mack’s best teams have always leaned on a strong bench, which was essentially non-existence last season. Guys like Michael James, JJ Traynor and Sydney Curry may be stuck at the back of the line to start the year, but they have the chops to break into the core rotation. It all comes down to Mack’s ability to harness this roster optionality as an asset. If successful, the Cardinals have top-20 upside. The Cardinals beat Southern by 12 to start the year but take a big step up in class here.

Furman’s Bob Richey is one of the premier coaches in college basketball, at any level, period. All four seasons during his tenure the Paladins have ranked inside KenPom’s top 100. The total number of top 100 finishes in the other 21 seasons represented in KenPom? ZERO. Richey is 51-18 in SoCon play since taking over for Nico Medved in 2017 and many thought his squad had the firepower to fight for an at-large bid in 2020-21. While Furman played Cincy and Alabama to within 5 and 3 points, respectively, they came up short of the Dance once again. The program hasn’t seen the NCAA Tournament field since 1980 so it’s not like they’re on anyone's radar.

Richey’s offense is a thing of beauty. His teams spread the floor and make sure to get a quality shot each and every possession. The Paladins have ranked inside the top 20 of three-point attempt rate all four years under Richey, and, incredibly, have ranked inside the top 10 in 2PFG% each year as well. With Richey’s starting backcourt returning, the offense should still be as potent as ever. Defensively, the Paladins have done extremely well under Richey, ranking in the SoCon’s top three of adjusted efficiency all four seasons. They force turnovers, they rebound, and they force long possessions.

Thus, this wager is not a fade on Louisville. This is about taking back nine points with an extremely dangerous foe. If Rick Pitino was still coaching Louisville, there is no chance in fucking hell he would have approved of an early game against a team like Furman. Getting a pile of points with the Paladins is the way to go. This one has upset potential.

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Our Pick

Furman +8 -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)

 

 

ORAL ROBERTS +9 -110 over Oklahoma St