Big East Conference Basketball: Providence Friars vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Providence Friars at No. 19 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Friday, 3/2/12, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN Full Court
Opening Point Spread:  Notre Dame -11
Current Betting Line:  Notre Dame -10.5
Opening Total:  129.5
Current Total:  130
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will try to bounce back at home after getting swept on their recent two-game road trip

Providence has won its last two games by a combined four points and comes off a 72-70 win over the Connecticut Huskies as five-point home underdogs.  The Friars managed to shoot 54.4 percent in that particular contest, as they look to snap a eight-game losing streak in this series.  The program is 9-15 all-time versus Friday night’s opponent, including a 4-7 mark at Notre Dame.  Providence is 0-2 ATS as a road underdog of 9.5 to 12 points and both of those games went “over” the total.

The Friars have tallied a 101-229 all-time mark versus ranked opponents, including a 1-5 record in that situation during the 2011-12 campaign.  Providence is led by four starters that average double figures, with junior guard Vincent Council pacing the team in scoring 16.1 points and dishing out 7.5 assists per game.  He ranks first in the Big East Conference in assists and fourth in the nation.  “Council, first of all, controls the whole thing,” commented Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey in preparing for this affair.

Notre Dame returns home to wrap up the regular season inside the Joyce Center and will look to snap a two-game losing streak.  The Fighting Irish lost both of those games on the road against St. John’s and Georgetown, while falling “under” the total in three consecutive contests.  Playing inside tonight’s venue will likely lead to a victory, as the program has tallied a 15-1 mark in front of the home faithful this year.  Brey has also managed to go 10-1 in this series since arriving on campus.  Notre Dame is 11-6 ATS versus conference opponents this year.

The Fighting Irish hope familiar surroundings will help jumpstart their offense, tying the lowest amount of points scored (41) in the Brey era last time out.  Notre Dame was 3-for-17 from beyond the arc and managed to score just 18 first-half points.  The program is 99-7 in its last 106 home games, including wins in 34 of the last 35.  Junior forward Jack Cooley is a player to watch on the offensive end, leading all conference players in hitting 61.8 percent of his shots.

Bettors will likely back the Fighting Irish due to their 4-1 ATS mark at home, while the Friars are 3-9 ATS on the road versus winning home teams.

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