Notre Dame Basketball: Fighting Irish Host the West Virginia Mountaineers

West Virginia Mountaineers at No. 18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Wednesday, 2/22/12, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Notre Dame -3
Current Betting Line:  Notre Dame -3
Opening Total:  128
Current Total:  124.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will try to sweep the season series against the West Virginia Mountaineers Wednesday night

West Virginia desperately needs a win Wednesday night due to dropping five of its last seven games.  The Mountaineers are coming off a 66-48 win over the Pittsburgh Panthers as three-point road underdogs last time out.  “I’m not sure if we are 9-9 in the Big East if we are not okay,” stated Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins about the team’s potential bid to the NCAA tournament.  The program is 52-34 under his direction in Big East games.  West Virginia is 4-2 ATS as an underdog this year.

The Mountaineers are led by senior forward Kevin Jones, who comes in averaging 20.4 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, which leads all conference players in those two categories.  West Virginia is 12-26 all-time in this series, including a 3-15 mark when playing at Notre Dame, which includes 10 straight losses.  Huggins will look to lead his team to an upset win and avoid being swept in the series, dropping a 55-51 decision as seven-point home favorites on Feb. 8.

Notre Dame will put its eight-game win streak on the line and is currently tied with the Marquette Golden Eagles for second in the conference standings.  The Fighting Irish have won 12 straight inside the Joyce Center, which will have head coach Mike Brey somewhat relaxed.  “I’m being loose the rest of the way,” Brey stated this week in practice.  The program has already clinched a bye into the second round of the Big East Championship.  Notre Dame is 3-4 ATS as a favorite and the “under” is 4-3 in those contests.

The Fighting Irish have tied their longest win streak in school history during Big East play, with three of those wins coming against ranked opponents.  Three players in the starting lineup are averaging in double figures, with sophomore guard Eric Atkins leading the way in scoring 13.0 points per game.  Notre Dame is 33-1 in its last 34 home games and 98-7 in the last 105 inside tonight’s venue.  Junior forward Jack Cooley is another player to watch, as he scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the earlier win against West Virginia this year.

Bettors will likely back the Fighting Irish due to their 30-12 ATS mark versus conference opponents, while the Mountaineers are 2-6 ATS as a road underdog of 6.5 points or less.

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