Villanova Wildcats at Notre Dame Fighing Irish, Joyce Center, South Bend, IN
Monday, February 28, 2011, 7 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Notre Dame -4
Current Line: Notre Dame -4.5
Opening Total: 139
Current Total: 140
Money Line: Notre Dame -200 / Villanova +170
The 15th-ranked Villanova Wildcats (21-8, 9-7) likely played themselves out of a chance for a double bye in the conference tournament with Saturday’s 81-68 home loss to St. John’s while the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23-5, 12-4) can clinch just that with another win on Monday. The Fighting Irish (-4.5) have surged to win nine of their last 10 games and will also be going for a perfect home record in league play for the first time in three years.
Notre Dame has won two in a row following a 72-58 loss at West Virginia following a 60-48 home victory against Seton Hall on Saturday. Tim Abromaitis scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Irish while Ben Hansbrough added 21 to continue his offensive onslaught. Hansbrough has become a leading contender for Big East Player of the Year honors after averaging nearly 22 points in the last 10 games.
Abromaitis has also stepped up big lately, scoring in double figures in six of the last seven games. He had scored a season-high 28 points in a 94-93 win at Providence two games ago and has been the team’s other threat from 3-point range besides Hansbrough. The duo has combined to make 13 of 26 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc in the last two games.
The Wildcats have headed in the opposite direction, dropping their last two games along with six of 10. They have failed to cover the spread in six consecutive games and nine of 10 after beating the line in seven straight. Leading scorer Corey Fisher has struggled mightily with his shooting in the last two games, making only 4 of 26 shots from the field and missing all 16 of his 3-point attempts. Fisher had helped carry the load when fellow senior Corey Stokes missed three games with a toe injury, scoring a career-high 34 points in a 77-75 overtime win at DePaul on February 19.
Stokes has been Villanova’s top offensive player since he returned, averaging 22 points in two games. He has made 14 of 24 shots from the field in those games, including 11 of the team’s 14 3-pointers. Dominic Cheek is the only player besides Stokes who has made a 3-pointer during that stretch, as he made three against the Red Storm.
The Wildcats are 3-1-1 against the spread in the last five meetings with Notre Dame with the total going UNDER three times in the past four games between the teams. The OVER has cashed in five of the last seven games for the Irish overall.
Now that you have read this Big East college basketball betting preview featuring Notre Dame & Villanova, check out the NCAA basketball odds on this and all the games to compare the best lines at multiple sportsbooks.