Big East Tournament Preview: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Louisville Cardinals

No. 24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. No. 4 Louisville Cardinals
Friday, 3/15/13, 9:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Louisville -8
Current Betting Line:  Louisville -8
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Louisville Cardinals have won eight games in a row
The Louisville Cardinals have won eight games in a row

Notre Dame has reached the semifinals of the Big East Tournament by beating the Marquette Golden Eagles and Rutgers Scarlet Knights, with both games going OVER the total.  “We’re thrilled to be playing in our fourth straight semifinal,” commented Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey.  The Fighting Irish are 10-12 under his direction in this event, which can’t be ignored when looking over the college basketball odds page.  Notre Dame is 10-10 ATS versus conference opponents this season, with the UNDER going 8-6 in that situation.

The Fighting Irish are expecting another close game against the Cardinals as five of the last seven meetings have gone to overtime.  Notre Dame has dropped both Big East tournament meetings in its history, including a 64-50 setback in last year’s semifinals.  Offensively, the team is dangerous from beyond the arc, as it entered Wednesday night as the top 3-point shooting roster in the conference.

Louisville has won eight consecutive games, including a 74-55 victory over the Villanova Wildcats Thursday night, while going OVER the posted total of 125.5.  The Cardinals have reached the semifinals in this event for the fourth time in five years, while they’ve won 10 of their last 12 games overall in the tournament.  Over its current winning streak, the program has limited opponents to 36.4 percent shooting from the field and 54.2 points per game.  Louisville is 16-3 ATS in March the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 14-6 in that situation.

The Cardinals have scored 728 of their 2,354 points off turnovers this year, including 27 against the Wildcats last time out.  Louisville is led offensively by the play of guard Russ Smith, who finished with 28 points versus Villanova, which was his third-highest scoring total of his career.  Point guard Peyton Siva saves his best performances for Madison Square Garden, which makes this team dangerous and worth a look as one of your college basketball picks against the spread Friday night.

Sports bettors will likely back the Cardinals due to their 7-1 ATS mark in conference tournament games, while the Fighting Irish are 0-2 ATS in the semifinal round.

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