Louisville should handle Syracuse

Picks for big games, including Gonzaga-Butler, OSU-MSU and others

Updated: January 18, 2013, 10:35 PM ET
By Ted Sevransky | ESPN Insider
Russ Smith AP Photo/Fred BeckhamLouisville guard Russ Smith has been exceptional for the Cardinals this season.

Every Friday during the college basketball season, Ted Sevransky (better known as Teddy Covers) will provide ESPN Insiders with his picks on Saturday's biggest games, along with a few under-the-radar matchups. He'll give a projected point spread and pick for each.

Syracuse Orange at Louisville Cardinals

Projected point spread: Louisville -5.5 to -7.5

Watching Louisville overwhelm a solid team like UConn on Monday night cemented the Cardinals as the best team in the country in my mind, and the pollsters agree. Rick Pitino's squad isn't just beating teams, they're annihilating them, dominating on both ends of the court. Their four Big East wins have all come by 15 points or more, in large part thanks to tremendous defensive pressure.

The Cardinals force more than two turnovers for every assist they allow, and five different players average more than a steal per game including veteran backcourt mates Russ Smith and Peyton Siva. Big man Gorgui Dieng is back to 100 percent following his wrist injury, with a dozen blocked shots in his five games since returning. Even good offensive teams like Syracuse are going to struggle to find open looks against this defense.

Ted Sevransky, better known as Teddy Covers, has been handicapping sports in Vegas since 1998.