Thursday Big East Basketball TV Picks: Notre Dame at DePaul

Notre Dame Fighting Irish at DePaul Blue Demons, Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL
Thursday, February 3, 2011, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Notre Dame -12
Current Line: Notre Dame -11.5
Opening Total: 141.5
Current Total: 142.5
Money Line: Notre Dame -800 / DePaul +600

DePaul Notre Dame Big East Basketball Preview
Notre Dame's Ben Hansbrough scored a game-high 19 points in the team's upset of Pitt last week

The DePaul Blue Demons (6-14, 0-8 Big East) hope to catch the ninth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish looking (17-4, 6-3) ahead and take advantage of their road woes when they square off on Thursday.  The Blue Demons have lost 21 straight conference games but are 6-6 at home this season while the Irish (-11.5) have dropped three of the four road games they have played.

Of course the lone Big East win away from home for Notre Dame was a large one, a 56-51 victory at #4 Pittsburgh a week ago Monday, giving the team 10 days off between games.  With home games against Rutgers and #15 Louisville on deck before a three-game road trip, it is certainly possible that the Irish could be overlooking a team that they have beaten five times in a row.

However, Notre Dame has high hopes of making a deep run in the NCAA tournament this year, and a loss here would seem to prove that this team is not yet ready to make that leap.  After breaking a 20-game home winning streak for the Panthers, the Irish would take a major step backwards by losing to DePaul or even struggling against the Blue Demons in any way.

DePaul has five home games left on its schedule, and only the last two appear somewhat winnable against Rutgers and South Florida, who are a combined 5-13 in league play.  The Blue Demons are coming off a 71-60 loss to the Bulls on the road last Thursday.  Their last four losses have been all been decided by at least 11 points, with two of them 30-point routs.

The only positive lately for DePaul has been the play of freshman forward Cleveland Melvin, who scored 17 points against South Florida and has totaled 20 or more in five of eight conference games so far.  That feat is even more remarkable when you consider the Blue Demons have scored more than 67 points just once against a Big East opponent, and Melvin scored a career-high 29 in that 86-75 loss at Georgetown.

Notre Dame has its own hot player in senior guard Ben Hansbrough, who scored a game-high 19 points and dished out seven assists in the win over Pitt.  Hansbrough scored a career-high 28 points in an 80-75 win over Marquette on January 22, exactly two weeks after he totaled his previous career high with 26 points in a 76-61 victory against St. John’s.

DePaul is 5-4 against the spread in the last nine meetings with the Irish despite going 3-6 straight-up in those games.  The OVER has cashed in the past four games between the teams, although the UNDER is 4-1 in the last five overall for Notre Dame and 3-1 in the last four for the Blue Demons, who have failed to cover their past five.

Now that you have read this Big East college basketball betting preview featuring DePaul & Notre Dame, check out the NCAA basketball odds on this and all the games to compare the best lines at multiple sportsbooks.

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