BOZICH | First Look: Louisville over Minnesota; UK 45-0? Indiana - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | First Look: Louisville over Minnesota; UK 45-0? Indiana, WKU favored

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Joe Lunardi has Kentucky positioned as a top seed for the 2015 NCAA Tournament, Louisville a three-seed and Indiana one of the first four teams to miss the party.

Hold the nasty e-mails. There's more.

Larry Brown, John Calipari's friend and mentor, says Kentucky should go 45-0 this season. Brown must be reading my e-mails. I said 80-0. That's 40-0 with the UK's five and 40-0 with the rest of the roster that is overrun with nine McDonald's all-Americans.

Enough bluster. Let the games begin – and they will on Friday. Happy College Basketball Season!

Minnesota vs. Louisville (Puerto Rico), ESPN, 7:30 p.m. – All the wise guys lean toward Rick Pitino's team but don't sleep on the Gophers. Richard Pitino has four starters back from a team that beat Florida State (twice) Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Southern Methodist last season.

He added junior college transfer Carlos Morris, who scored 23 points in the Gophers' only exhibition game while missing all four of his three-point shots.

"I told my Dad, 'You do like to lose a random game the beginning of every year, so you might as well make it Minnesota this year," said Richard's older brother, Chris Pitino. "He just shook his head and kept walking."

The Line: Vegas had the Cards by 8 ½ but the number dropped to 6 Friday morning. Ken Pomeroy likes Louisville, 76-67, placing the Cards' win probability at 80 percent. Jeff Sagarin's Predictor ratings favor Louisville by 5.61.

Grand Canyon at Kentucky, SEC Network, 8 p.m. – John Calipari has scheduled ambitiously this season, which is wise and necessary considering what he wants to accomplish with this group.

Grand Canyon and Buffalo are UK's two warm-ups for the Wildcats' first main event Tuesday night in Indianapolis against Kansas.

Can't tell you much about Grand Canyon, which is beginning its second season of Division I basketball. The coach is former NBA all-star Dan Majerle. Grand Canyon's biggest win last season was 79-70 over Cal State Bakersfield. The Antelopes didn't beat a team ranked higher than 232nd in Ken Pomeroy's computer rankings.

One of Majerle's players is his son, Ryan, who started his career at Toledo, transferred to Division II Grand Valley State and then sat out last season with his Dad's team. He's only 6 feet 3, 190 pounds.

The Line: Vegas says UK by 30. Ken Pomeroy puts UK's chances of winning at 99 percent, predicting a final score of 88-61. Sagarin has it Kentucky by 20.66.

Mississippi Valley State at Indiana, Big Ten Network, 7 p.m. – As bad as Grand Canyon is, Mississippi Valley State is worse. Really. Jeff Sagarin's computer formula ranks MVSU 350th in the nation, which means the Delta Devils are ahead of Grambling.

Pomeroy calls that an exaggeration. He has MVSU ahead of Grambling, Maryland-Eastern Shore and Howard. The Hoosiers welcome former IU coach Mike Davis back to Bloomington Monday night. Then it gets real with Larry Brown and SMU, which is ranked 22nd next Thursday.

The Line: In Vegas, it's IU by 26 1/2. Pomeroy has it IU, 90-62, with a 99 percent win probability for the Hoosiers. Sagarin favors Indiana by 27.65.

Austin Peay at Western Kentucky, 5 p.m., Saturday – Once upon a time these two programs were fierce rivals in the Ohio Valley Conference. Then WKU jumped to the Sun Belt, a league it left this season for Conference USA.

Optimism reigns in Bowling Green – and it should. This looks like WKU's best team since Darrin Horn was in charge. Ray Harper's top four scorers return, led by T. J. Price and George Fant. And Tuesday night the Hilltoppers get a crack at Minnesota in Williams Arena. That should be fun.

The Line: WKU 80, Austin Peay 69 is the forecast from KenPom.com with an 85 percent win probability for the Toppers. WKU is also the pick with Sagarin by 9.76.

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