Big East Basketball Picks: #24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at #8 Louisville Cardinals
#24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at #6 Louisville Cardinals
Saturday, March 9, 2013, 4:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
KFC YUM! Center – Louisville, Kentucky
Opening Line: Louisville -12
Current Line: Louisville -11 1/2
Opening Total: 125
Current Total: 125
Opening Money Line: Louisville -800 / Notre Dame +600
Current Money Line: Louisville -725 / Notre Dame +575
With no dominant team in college basketball, parity has ruled most of the landscape. In fact going into the last weekend of the regular season there is a good possibility we could have at least 3 way ties for the conference titles in the Big East, Big Ten, and Pac 12. That is three of the six major conferences if you are keeping score.
In the Big East, the #8 Louisville Cardinals can clinch at least a share of the Big East title with a win Saturday at home over #24 Notre Dame. The 25-5 Cardinals are tied with Georgetown and Marquette at 13-4. Louisville could also be in line for a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament depending on what happens in the conference tournaments next week. The 23-7 Fighting Irish are 11-6 and part of a three way tie for second in the Big East with Pitt and Syracuse. The top four teams get double byes in the Big East tournament and Notre Dame currently holds the tiebreaker in a three way tie.
Louisville leads the series 18-12, including 9-2 in Louisville. The two teams played a five overtime thriller in South Bend February 9 with the Irish coming out on top 104-101. The game featured 26 lead changes and 16 ties. Louisville was up 8 with 51 seconds left in regulation before Notre Dame forced overtime with a 12-4 run. The Irish hit 3 three pointers and then tied it up with a three point play with 16 seconds left. Louisville guard Russ Smith missed a game tying three at the buzzer in the fifth overtime.
Notre Dame is coached by Mike Brey. The Fighting Irish have losses in a tournament in Brooklyn in overtime to St. Joseph’s, at home against UConn, and Georgetown and at St. John’s, Syracuse, Providence and Marquette. Notre Dame has key wins over BYU in Brooklyn, George Washington, Kentucky, Purdue in Indianapolis, at Cincinnati, South Florida, and DePaul twice, Pitt and at home against Seton Hall, Rutgers, Villanova, Louisville, Cincinnati, and St. John’s Tuesday 66-40. Notre Dame has won 3 of their last 4 games. The Fighting Irish are 14-13 ATS and the total is 11-13 this season.
Notre Dame is outscoring teams 71-63 this season. Notre Dame is shooting 47.3% from the field and 37.3% from 3 point range. The Fighting Irish are #24 in field goal percentage and #50 in 3 point shooting. The Irish make 69.7% of their free throws. Notre Dame averages 36.4 rebounds per game and they give up 28.8 to opponents. Irish opponents are shooting 41.3% from the field and 31.6% from 3 point range. The Fighting Irish average 18 assists, 5 steals, 4 blocks, and and 11 turnovers.
Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley averages 13.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Jerian Grant averages 13.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Guard Eric Atkins averages 11.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Pat Connaughton averages 8.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists a game. Guard Scott Martin averages 7.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. He is out for the season with a knee injury. Cameron Biedscheid averages 6.8 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1 assist. He is suspended for this game. Center Garrick Sherman averages 6.6 points, and 3.2 rebounds per game. Tom Knight also gets time in the rotation. Forward Eric Katenda is out indefinitely for undisclosed reasons.
Louisville is coached by Rick Pitino. The Cardinals have losses to Duke in a tournament in the Bahamas, at home to Syracuse, and at Villanova, Georgetown, and Notre Dame. Louisville has won 9 of their last 10 games including 6 in a row since the Notre Dame loss. The Cardinals have key wins over Northern Iowa & Missouri in the Bahamas, Illinois St, College of Charleston, at Memphis, Western Kentucky, at Kentucky, Providence, South Florida twice, Seton Hall twice, at UConn, Pitt, Marquette, at Rutgers, St. John’s, at Depaul, and at Syracuse and Cincinnati Monday 67-51. The Cardinals are 16-14 ATS and the total is 10-14 this season.
Louisville is outscoring teams 74-58 this season. The Cardinals are 48th or better in both categories. Louisville is shooting 44.5% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. The Cardinals make 70.6% of their free throws. Louisville averages 38 rebounds per game and allows 31. Louisville is #36 nationally in rebounding. Cardinal opponents are shooting 38.8% from the field and 31.2% from 3 point range. The Cardinals are #24 in opponent’s field goal percentage. Louisville averages 15 assists, 11 steals, 4 blocks and 13 turnovers.
Guard Russ Smith averages 18.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Forward Chane Behanan averages 10.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Center Gorgui Dieng averages 9.9 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.5 blocks per game. Guard Peyton Siva averages 9.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 2 steals per game. Guard /forward Wayne Blackshear averages 8.3 points, and 3.4 rebounds. Luke Hancock averages 7.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1 steal per game. Montrezi Harrell, Kevin Ware, and Stephan Van Treese make up the rest of the rotation. Center Mangok Mathiang and guard Mike Marra have missed the entire season.
Notre Dame is 4-1 ATS after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 1-4 after a straight up win, and 1-5 after a cover. The Fighting Irish are 8-3 ATS in the last 11 against the Cardinals, including 4-1 in Louisville. The underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 in the series.
Louisville is 4-1 ATS overall, and in Big East games, 29-11 after a straight up win, 21-9 after a cover, and 1-4 in Saturday games. The over is 8-1 in the last 9 in this series including 5-0 in Louisville.
While Notre dame is fighting for a double bye in the Big east tournament, Louisville needs this game to clinch at least a share of the Big East title depending on what Georgetown and Marquette do. Notre Dame and Louisville are very evenly matched when healthy, but Notre Dame with be without two key players. I like Louisville at home, but It will be close. Perhaps not a five overtime likelast time, but Notre dame stays inside the 11 1/2 point number.