NCAA Basketball Pick on Notre Dame as Road Favorites vs. Clemson

Willie Bee

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 11:23 AM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 11:23 AM UTC

The road hasn't been kind to Notre Dame lately, and the Fighting Irish will look to turn that around Tuesday night with a college basketball betting matchup at the Clemson Tigers.

Is the shine of an unexpected strong start to the season for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish beginning to dull? Up to No. 8 in the AP Poll near the end of January, the Irish have since dropped two of three Atlantic Coast Conference games -- the latest a thorough spanking at Duke -- and now head to Clemson for a matchup with the Tigers.

Notre Dame and Clemson are set to tip a little past 7 PM (ET) Tuesday, ESPN2 providing the broadcast from Littlejohn Coliseum. The Irish went out as 2 point road chalk, that spread growing by half a point overnight, more at some sports books.

SBR's live college basketball odds have yet to pick up a total for the contest, that number expected a little later this morning.

It's just the second meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, the first coming just about a year ago in South Bend and another slated a month from now when the teams close out their regular season slate. It took a couple of overtimes to decide the previous clash, the Irish pulling out a 68-64 decision to push a 4 point spread on the NCAA odds. KJ McDaniels, now plying his trade in the NBA for Golden State, scored a college career-best 30 for Clemson in a game that needed extra play to go 'over' a 118½ point total.


Blown Out In Durham, Irish In Bounce-Back Mode
The trip to Duke last Saturday proved to be a disaster for Notre Dame (21-4 straight up, 8-9 against the spread). Underdogs by 9½ at the closing bell, the Fighting Irish would have needed more than three times that amount just to earn a push for their backers in the 90-60 blowout loss. Blame it in part on lax defense by Mike Brey's boys, but give credit to the Blue Devils who connected on more than 60% of their field goals while netting 9-of-15 from 3-point range.

Blame it also on poor shooting by Notre Dame which was held under 40% from the field for the first time since a home loss to Virginia on January 10, and only the second time this season. The Irish are second in the country shooting 51.5% from the field, that clip dropping to just below 47% in ACC action now.

The setback at Duke followed a tough loss at Pittsburgh a week earlier, yet despite those defeats, the Fighting Irish are still within a game of the Cavaliers at the top of the conference ranks. They will have a week off after this game before hosting Wake Forest.


Tigers Still Struggling On Offense
Brad Brownell blamed last year's loss at Notre Dame on an inconsistent and often impotent offense, and things haven't really improved for Clemson (14-9 SU, 10-9 ATS). The Tigers rank 290th in the nation scoring 62.3 PPG, and an ACC-worst in both offense (57.6 ppg) and shooting (37.7%) during league tilts.

The flip side to that is the Tigers are playing pretty solid on the defensive end, first in the conference allowing opponents to connect on just 38.3% from the field and second behind Virginia giving up 58.7 points per ACC contest. That has led to a very solid return for college basketball bettors playing the 'under' in Clemson games, the Tigers 2-12 O/U on the season with 10 of their 11 league matches never reaching the totals.

Their latest game at Miami on Sunday epitomized the Tigers' struggles. Clemson was getting 6½ against the Hurricanes, just about half what was needed in the 56-45 defeat.  For starters, the Tigers only got to the free-throw line once...and missed that shot. They did manage 16 offensive boards, but were unable to convert second chances...or in the case of one possession, second, third, fourth and fifth chances.

The total would be an intriguing wager for this one, but we don't have a firm number to consider, so let's run with the Irish minus the points on the road for our free NCAA Basketball pick.

My Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Notre Dame -2.5 at Bookmaker
Season: 44-37-1 (+3.3)

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