The Bluegrass State will invade the Bayou on Saturday, March 31st as Kentucky and Louisville open up the 2012 Final Four with a National Semifinals showdown at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The two geographic rivals are scheduled to tip off at 6:09pm ET on CBS. 2012 Final Four Point Spreads have Kentucky, the favorite to win the National Championship at -175 moneyline odds, listed as a -8.5 against the spread favorite in Saturday’s game. The Over/Under in this weekend’s opener is presently set at 137.5 points.
When Kentucky and Louisville hooked up back on December 31st in Lexington, little went right for either team on the offensive end of the floor. The Wildcats were an abysmal 29.8 percent from the field while the Cardinals connected on just 32.3 percent of their field goal attempts. John Calipari’s squad did manage to do two things well, though, and those two things helped them procure a 69-62 win despite the lackluster offensive showing.
The Wildcats dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Cardinals 49 to 28, and they made 43 trips to the charity stripe where they scored nearly half of their points (32). Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were spectacular in the win as the pair combined for 42 points (10-for-20 FG, 20-for-26 FT), 29 rebounds, and six blocks.
Only one Louisville player scored in double figures and that distinction belonged to reserve guard Russ Smith, who tallied a game high 30 points in 27 minutes off the bench.
Both clubs look a tad more polished at this point in the season and each has earned their spot in the Final Four in impressive fashion. Kentucky, as expected, ran through the South Region, knocking off Western Kentucky, Iowa State, Indiana, and Baylor by an average of 13.8 points per game. Louisville, the four seed in the West Region, defeated Davidson, New Mexico, Michigan State, and Florida in rout to its second National Semifinals appearance under the direction of Head Coach Rick Pitino.
The Cardinals suffered some close calls as their average margin of victory outside of a 57-44 beat down of top seeded Michigan State was a mere 4.6 points per game. Still, Louisville figures to hold strong on the big stage. Pitino, who has guided three separate schools to the Final Four, will have his team prepared for this battle even if it is outgunned from a talent stand point. That said, this is the Wildcats game to lose; simply put, if Kentucky plays well, it will advance to meet either Ohio State or Kansas in the National Championship Game.
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Louisville vs Kentucky 2012 Final Four Point Spreads: Provided by SBG Global
Louisville Cardinals +8.5 (-110), Over 137.5 (-110), +370 (Moneyline)
Kentucky Wildcats -8.5 (-110), Under 137.5 (-110), -470 (Moneyline)