College Basketball Predictions: Niagara Purple Eagles vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Niagara Purple Eagles at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Friday, 12/21/12, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPNU
Opening Point Spread:  Notre Dame -16.5
Current Betting Line:  Notre Dame -16.5
Opening Total:  138.5
Current Total:  138.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have won nine games in a row

Niagara has won three of its last four games, including a 68-58 victory over Vermont in its last contests in getting ready for Friday night’s contest against a ranked opponent.  The Purples Eagles have dropped 19 straight games against teams in the AP Top 25, which could present a major challenge in trying to pull off a straight-up victory.  The team must stay aggressive on the offensive end, as it attempted a season-high 24 free throws last time out.  Niagara is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games versus Big East Conference opponents, which can’t be ignored when making your college basketball picks against the spread.

The Purple Eagles are 12-77 all-time against ranked opponents, but their head coach has plenty of overall experience—picking up his 250th career win on Dec. 12.  Niagara is led offensively by Antoine Mason, who is third in the MAAC in scoring 19.2 poitns per game, while point guard Juan’ya Green has dished out at least four assists in 10 of 11 games this season.  The defense has picked up in facing lesser opponents, as the program has held consecutive opponents to under 60 points for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign.

Notre Dame will conclude its 2012-13 non-conference schedule in this affair, as the team hopes to regain its health over the holidays in preparing for conference play.  “We played a lot of games in this segment and we’re worn down a little bit,” stated Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey.  The Fighting Irish are 44-1 in their last 45 home games, as they look to extend their current win streak to 10 games.  Notre Dame is 0-6 ATS in its last six Friday games.

The Fighting Irish are 47-7 all-time against teams currently from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, but they haven’t faced such an opponent since 2006.  Notre Dame definitely has some balance on the offensive end, considering five different players have posted a team-high point total in the last six games.  Senior forward Jack Cooley is the main threat—tied for second nationally with eight double-doubles on the season.

Sports bettors will likely back the Purple Eagles due to their success against the Big East versus the number, while the Fighting Irish are 6-15-2 ATS in their last 23 non-conference affairs.

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