Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Kentucky Wildcats College Basketball Predictions

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Kentucky Wildcats
Wednesday, 12/8/10, 9:30 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Kentucky -6
Current Betting Line:  Kentucky -5.5
Opening Total:  141
Current Total:  141.5

The Kentucky Wildcats are 5.5-point neutral court favorites over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Freedom Hall on Wednesday night

Notre Dame will make its first-ever appearance in the DirecTV SEC-Big East Invitational on Wednesday night in playing the Kentucky Wildcats at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.  The Irish start five seniors, all of whom played the last time the two teams met in the 2009 NIT quarterfinals.  Notre Dame picked up a 77-67 win in that game, which actually ended the Billy Gillispie-era at Kentucky.  This will be the 60th meeting all-time between the two storied schools, with the Irish trailing the series 18-41.  The squad will come in with plenty of confidence knowing the program has a five-game winning streak against SEC teams.  Earlier this season, the Fighting Irish topped Georgia 89-83 in double-overtime during the first round of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Florida.  Notre Dame is 11-6 ATS on neutral courts the last three years and is currently an underdog on the college basketball lines page.

The Fighting Irish are off to a perfect 8-0 start for the fifth time in program history and for the first time since the 1973-74 campaign.  With an eight-game win streak to start the season, Notre Dame is 14-2 in its last 16 games dating back to last season.  Tonight’s venue has been a “House of Horrors” for the program, posting an 11-34 all-time mark inside this particular venue.  The last win for an Irish team at Freedom Hall was against Kentucky on December 27, 1980.  It’s important for the squad to continue its strong starts, allowing 25.5 points in the first half, while scoring 39.1 points.

Kentucky has lost two of three heading into tonight’s game and coach John Calipari knows that his team is suffering some growing pains early on.  “We were passive in the loss to North Carolina,” he stated.  “They were the aggressor, we were passive.”  The Wildcats are extremely young and lost a ton of talent that vacated Lexington for the NBA after the NCAA tournament.  Don’t expect the program to be down long and many anticipate a bounce back performance tonight, as the team has produced a 58-18 record in Freedom Hall and 121-33 mark in Louisville.  Kentucky is 31-29 ATS as a favorite the last three years.

The Wildcats entered the season ranked 337 out of 346 nationally in terms of Division I experience and its shown on the court in the early going.  Part of that inexperience showed up in touted freshman Terrence Jones’ performance against the Tar Heels, making just 3 of 17 shots in the 75-73 loss in Chapel Hill.  “He was never emotionally connected to the game, there was no sense of urgency the entire game,” coach Calipari stated after the game.  It’s a showing that Jones has jokingly blamed on a nap he took in between the team meal and tipoff.

Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Fighting Irish are 5-0 ATS versus SEC competition, while the Wildcats are 13-5-1 ATS against the Big East.

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