Elite Eight Keys to the Game – Duke vs. Louisville 3/31/13

Last Updated: March 31st, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Louisville vs. DukeThe Duke Blue Devils have literally been going through a Murderer’s Row of teams to get here to the Elite Eight on Sunday afternoon in the Midwest Region. Now, they have to take on the top overall seed in the dance, the Louisville Cardinals on the Elite Eight odds. Check out the keys to the Louisville vs. Duke matchup, as well as the March Madness odds for what should be a great game.

March Madness: Duke Blue Devils vs. Louisville Cardinals
Duke vs. Louisville Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Duke vs. Louisville Date/Time: Sunday, March 31st, 2:10 p.m. (ET)
2013 March Madness On TV: CBS

Key #1: Gorgui Dieng has to be a difference maker
Earlier this season, the Blue Devils and the Cardinals met in the Bahamas, and the end result was a victory for the Dookies. However, in that game, Dieng was on the sidelines out injured. This is where a real difference could be made. Though Louisville did win the rebounding battle that day, there wasn’t much in the way of resistance to F Mason Plumlee. The big man scored 16 points and had seven boards, and included in there were three huge offensive rebounds. Dieng has blocked 16 shots in his last seven games, many of which have come against top flight competition. The offensive numbers definitely don’t have to be there for the big man. Defensively though, Dieng has to block some shots and alter some others to flip the tide in favor of the No. 1 overall seed in this tournament.

Elite Eight Odds at WagerWeb Sportsbook
#2 Duke Blue Devils +3.5
#1 Louisville Cardinals -3.5
Over/Under 137
Click Here to Bet Your Elite Eight Picks!

Key #2: The Cardinals have to get back to playing “Louisville Defense”
We heard Head Coach Rick Pitino at halftime of the game against the Oregon Ducks on Friday night mention that his team needed to get back to playing “Louisville defense.” The team really didn’t listen all that well, as it allowed 38 points in the second half of the game against the Ducks and were pushed right down to the wire in the game as a result. It’s clear what Pitino means. He has to get his team playing better ball in half-court sets, and there has to be more trapping and more full-court pressuring of the basketball to force more turnovers. We saw this team set the NCAA Tournament record for steals in a game back in the second round against the North Carolina A&T Aggies, and yet against Oregon, a No. 12 seed, the Cardinals only managed seven steals and really only won the game because they shot 53.8 percent from the floor. It’s clear that “Louisville defense” has to get back in the saddle against the Blue Devils if there is going to be another waltz into the Final Four for one of the proudest programs in the country.


Key #3: Seth Curry has to out-Russ Smith Russ Smith
You’re reading that properly. Curry has to figure out how to do his own impersonation of Smith and do it better than the Louisville guard. At times, Smith literally is off the chain. He scored 31 points in the win against Oregon on Friday night, and he has now averaged 27.0 points per game here in the dance. When Smith gets going, no one is going to be able to stop him. Curry looked a little bit like that on Friday as well against a very good Michigan State Spartans outfit. The senior knocked down six of his first seven three-point field goal attempts and finished the game with 29 points. It’s not necessarily a matter of getting the points that will make the difference in this game. The player that makes the biggest shots in the biggest moments is going to be the one that leads his team to Atlanta for the Final Four.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Sunday, March 31st, 2013 @ 12:20 am (EST)
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