(16-2, 7-6 ATS)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(14-4, 6-7 ATS)
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Cincinnati Bearcats might both think that they are on their way to the NCAA Tournament without a problem, but both of them know that they can go on some tremendous losing streaks in the Big East in a hurry and get into some trouble. The two will meet in South Bend on Wednesday night in a crucial NCAA basketball betting affair.
The Bearcats only have two losses this year, but both of them happen to be on the road in Big East play. Now, we know that this contest isn’t quite as difficult as the ones at the Syracuse Orange and Villanova Wildcats over the course of the last couple of weeks, but it is plenty difficult all the same. Cincinnati has dropped three in a row against the college basketball betting odds, and it is clearly not playing as well now as it did at the start of the season. Defensively, we know that these guys are good, but the Bearcats aren’t going to hold teams to 56.2 points per game in the Big East like they have for this season. Offensively, the expectations need to kick up a notch, especially from Dion Dixon and Yancy Gates, both of which are averaging over 11 points per game this year. The only other double digit point scorer is Sean Kilpatrick, who is averaging 10.4 points per game and is knocking down a rock solid 42.6 percent of his three point field goal attempts, second best on the squad.
Home sweet home. That’s what the Irish have to be thinking right now after they suffered back to back devastating losses on the road ot the Marquette Golden Eagles and St. John’s Red Storm last week, losing both games by a total of 40 points. Offensively, this is a team that has only scored 56.8 points per game away from South Bend since December 8th, which pales in comparison to the 80.3 points per game average at home in that same stretch. When we talk about Notre Dame basketball, we continue to talk about the play of Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis. Hansbrough, who has scored 47 points in his last two home games, only had 27 in these two roadies, while Abromaitis, who is averaging 15.5 points per game for the season, has now averaged just 9.8 points per game on the road this year. The Fighting Irish also have to defend the three point basket better. The Johnnies and the Golden Eagles shot a combined 16-of-26 from downtown over the course of these two games, numbers which just won’t cut it.
But again, this is life in the Big East, and it isn’t changing any. Home teams do well, and road teams generally fall flat. We expect to see Notre Dame as a relatively sizeable favorite of at least five points in this one, and we know that it isn’t going to matter. It should win this one by double digits just to stay true to form where home teams rule.
NCAA Basketball Expert Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish