Odds, picks and college basketball predictions for Bellarmine vs. Louisville (Wednesday, November 9)
Bellarmine vs Louisville Odds
After a long and eventful stint, first-year head coach Kenny Payne and Louisville Cardinal will start their season as they host the Bellarmine Knights.
For those who don’t know, Payne was a former player under Denny Crumb at Louisville, and prior to his tenure with the Knicks, he was an assistant at Kentucky under John Calipari for 10 years.
Payne has always been credited with being one of the best assistants in all of college basketball—some have said he’s even responsible for Cal’s success at Kentucky.
But on Wednesday evening, the biggest challenge of his career began: looking to rebuild the program his university was so proud of in his first job as head coach.
This rebuilding begins against a familiar enemy in the Knights. While this will be their first official meeting – the Knights are just beginning their third season of Division I Basketball – their bond and history is longer than an eight-minute drive down the Eastern Parkway that separates them.
After the NCAA robbed them of a trip to the Big Dance, the riders started their third year in Division One.
Bellarmine’s first two years were nothing short of amazing, as he posted a record 34-21 while no worse than second place at ASUN. The Knights also won the Conference Championship a season ago.
Bellarmine only recovers 56.2% of his minutes from last year and has lost three rookies. The most significant loss is the team’s main scorer, Dylan Penn, who has moved to Vermont.
However, they bring back a solid core led by Juston Beetz and Kurt Hopf.
Betz led ASUN in minutes last year and was named Defensive Player of the Year before the start of the season by ASUN coaches. Expect him to take on a more prominent role with Ben losing.
Hopf was named to the All-Freshmen last year and is a shooting threat from anywhere on Earth.
Alec Pfriem also returned to the Knights and was one of ASUN’s top shooters last season. But he came off with a groin injury that made him miss the last 10 games of the 21-22 season, so don’t expect to see him so fast for the first game of the year.
While some might describe them as unproven, first-year cohorts of Peter Souder, Michael Bova and freshman Ben Johnson will help maintain the high level of success the Knights had after the departure of Penn and CJ Fleming.
One silver lining for Payne – who faces huge expectations and hype – is that he can’t do much worse than the Cardinals did a season ago.
Louisville’s record of 13-19 was their biggest loss in a single season since their 2000-01 campaign in the USA Conference. The Cards also ranked 12th or worse out of the 15 ACC teams on nine different scales.
While I don’t see Louisville doing worse than last year, it may take some time to get to where you want to be. The Cardinal brings back five players from last season to a roster of just 10 scholarship players and only one true goalkeeper.
That only real goalkeeper is Ellis, a senior who, at times last season, demonstrated his ability to be great despite the team’s overall lack of success.
Sydney Curry is another player whose stats from last season weren’t jumping off the page, but he could be an important player for the Cardinals in this campaign – both in terms of the glass and in terms of scoring.
New student additions from Kamari Lands, Devin Ree, and Fabio Basili (who are reclassified to join Louisville) are huge for Bain. At the very least, the trio is likely to see proper minutes and gain much-needed experience this season.
With so many questions about Payne and Louisville, one thing is for sure: He hasn’t lost his recruiting touch during his time in the NBA.
He also had success on the transfer gate with the addition of Brandon Huntley Hatfield, who didn’t see the minutes he was hoping for in Tennessee.
The Cardinals List has a lot of potential, but it lacks proven success. In addition, it will take time for it to solidify.
Bellarmine vs Louisville Pick Bet
As I mentioned, this Louisville list is sorely lacking in proven success. However, the Cardinals have proven their ability to struggle against the lowest teams in their own court.
Louisville played two exhibition games before the start of the season. The first of them – against the 2nd Division Lenoir Rhine – ended in a 57-47 loss to the Cardinals. Lenoir Rhine caught the Cardinal with 29.2% and only ceded 19 points in the second half en route to a Serie A win since 2017.
The second came against Chaminade, and while Louisville came out with a win, it was by just seven points. To give you a decent point of reference, Chamenad also played Ohio State and Cincinnati – losing to Ohio State by 44 and Cincinnati by 43.
After seeing what Louisville did in pre-season, I would have considered Bellarmine an underdog at just about any number. But +12.5 is about twice as much as I expected this line to open up to the riders.
Even when they were at their best, the Knights struggled in defense in 2021-22. I don’t see that changing this season, so this is a legitimate concern heading into this game.
But then again, this Louisville team had just 57 points by the Division-II program just 10 days ago. Just seven days earlier, he was losing to Chaminade six minutes before the end of the match, before coming out with a win primarily due to the fact that he had 32 attempts on the free throw line.
I expect this streak to go down, but I’m confident it’s going to +5 or better. Personally, I would make a small bet on the money line.
picking or picking: Bellarmine +12.5 (play to +5)
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