Pitino vs Calipari: Bluegrass Bragging Rights on the Line in Sweet 16 Matchup

The NCAA’s second half of the Sweet 16 plays out tonight to fill the remaining four spots for the Elite Eight this weekend.

Highlighting the four games tonight is the Battle of the Bluegrass State when the Louisville Cardinals meet the Kentucky Wildcats. These two teams have won the past two national championships in college basketball but just one will move on after tonight.

According to information on Bovada, John Calipari has a slight edge of 12-11 straight up on Louisville head coach Rick Pitino. However, 10 of the 11 losses came prior to Calipari becoming the head coach of Kentucky.

Since taking over the Wildcats, Calipari has ruled the roost in the Bluegrass state. The Kentucky coach is 4-1 straight up and 3-1-1 against the spread versus Louisville and Pitino.

The two teams played in December with Kentucky besting Louisville in Lexington. The more athletic and bigger Wildcats were dominating inside outscoring Louisville on second chance points 17-6 and in the paint 18-6. The Wildcats won 73-66.

The size advantage Kentucky has over Louisville remains the same but the Wildcats are a two or three possession underdog in the game.

Topbet and sportsbook.com have the Cardinals -4.5 as the favorite, while betonline has the point total for the over/under sitting on 138.5.

On Bovada, the line opened at .4.5 for Louisville and moved between that and -5.5. However, on most sites, including sportsbook.com, the line has settled at -4.5 on Louisville.

Four of five Wildcats vs. Cardinals games with Pitino and Calipari coaching have stayed on the UNDER in the point total, with an average of 139.5 points scored.

Louisville has now been favored in 48 straight games. This is just the eighth time Kentucky has been a dog this season and the team is 3-3-1 against the number in that role.

Kentucky was the No. 1 team in the country in the preseason, but has not played up to expectation the entire season. In their last game, a winner over previously undefeated Wichita State, the Wildcats started five freshmen.

As the head coach at Louisville, Pitino is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in Sweet 16 games.

The UNDER has cashed in 13 of the past 16 games the two teams have played head to head. Kentucky is 8- 3 against the spread in the past 11 games versus Louisville.

The underdog in this matchup has covered the spread in each of the past 5 games.

Kentucky is 5-0 ATS in its past five games.

Pick: The difference in size underneath and the strong play of Julius Randle down low will turn the tide for Kentucky. Take Kentucky plus the 4.5 points.