Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(16-4, 8-7 ATS)
(19-1, 8-7 ATS)
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish might have a great record and a strong resume for the NCAA Tournament, but they’re going to want to move up in a hurry to get the highest seed possible. They’ll engage in college basketball betting warfare with the Pitt Panthers on the road on Monday night in an effort to grab their biggest ‘W’ of the season.
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The bad news for the Irish though, is that they have played so poorly on the road this year in Big East play. They’re 0-3 SU and ATS there, and they have yet to log a legitimate road win at any point this season. Needless to say, beating a team as strong as Pitt is going to be tough, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Keeping the hometown crowd quiet by limiting three point baskets is going to help a lot. Notre Dame ranks just No. 197 in the land, allowing teams to capitalize on 34.6 percent of their long balls this year, and that number is certainly a heck of a lot worse on the road. Both the St. John’s Red Storm and the Marquette Golden Eagles lit up the Irish from the land of trey, and that cannot happen again on Monday if there is any hope for an upset. Ben Hansbrough also has to be on the top of his game to boot. He put up 28 in a big time victory over the Golden Eagles this weekend in South Bend, and he is now averaging 16.4 points per game to pace the squad. The biggest problem that Head Coach Mike Bray has is that one of his best shooters, Carleton Scott, who had a double-double in the ‘W’ on Saturday, is likely to miss this game with a hamstring injury.
More bad news for Notre Dame… The Panthers are one of the best three point shooting teams in the country to boot. They’re putting together a success rate of 39.8 percent, making them the No. 19 ranked team in the land in that department, and this is really why they are averaging right at 80.0 points per game this season. Of late though, it has been the defense that has really excelled, as the Panthers are making a return to their hardnosed style of play. They’ve held seven foes to 66 points or fewer over the course of their last nine games, and this includes doing it to the Syracuse Orange, Georgetown Hoyas, and the Connecticut Huskies. We continue to talk about the threesome of Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker, and Gilbert Brown, and for good reason. These three veteran leads of this club have combined to average over half of the team’s scoring, as they are at 15.8, 12.7, and 11.6 points per game respectively, and all of them can score 20+ on any given night for the Panthers.
The bottom line here is that this is just a bad matchup for the Fighting Irish. They’ll be outworked from beyond the arc and outmuscled inside, and a red hot Pittsburgh team will continue to roll. The Panthers are 9-0 SU in their last nine and are 4-0 ATS in their last four in conference against a wickedly difficult slate. Those marks will improve on Monday.
College Basketball Free Pick: Pittsburgh Panthers