NCAA Basketball Picks: Back Host Team Clemson Over Notre Dame

Matthew Jordan

Monday, February 8, 2016 4:56 PM GMT

Potentially important game between host Clemson and Notre Dame on Monday night both for ACC Tournament seeding and at-large NCAA Tournament purposes. Let's check the NCAA basketball odds.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Clemson -2
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Irish Set Up For Letdown Game?
This might be a bit of letdown game for Notre Dame (16-7, 7-4 ACC) as the Irish probably all but assured themselves of an NCAA Tournament at-large bid with a home upset of No. 2 North Carolina on Saturday, 80-76. The Irish were down as much as 15 points in the game and still nine with about 11 minutes left but used a 26-3 run to take control. Demetrius Jackson had 19 points -- he became the 58th player in school history with 1,000 career -- and Bonzie Colson added 19 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

The Irish set school records in ACC play by attempting 38 free throws and making 31. So maybe the referees were a bit generous. Rather shockingly, the Tar Heels didn't have a single point off Notre Dame turnovers, while the Irish had 19 off North Carolina giveaways. Notre Dame turned it over only twice, tying the lowest for the team under Coach Mike Brey. I don't care who you are, if you turn it over only twice you probably are going to win. The Irish are the best in the country at that, giving it away only 9.2 times per game.

Now here's the bad news: Notre Dame has lost two straight ACC games on the road and has trailed by at least 20 points in each. The Irish and Tigers are currently tied for fifth in the ACC but really fourth. That's because Louisville has self-imposed a postseason ban; the Cardinals are tied for first atop the ACC with North Carolina. A Top 4 seed is important because it gets a school a bye into the ACC Tournament quarterfinals and now Louisville won't play in that tournament.

Technically this isn't a true road game for Notre Dame. That's because Clemson's on-campus gym is undergoing a renovation. It is playing this season at the Bon Secours Wellness Center in Greenville, about 30 miles from campus. The Irish are 9-11-1 against the spread on NCAA basketball odds this season and 3-3 ATS away from home.

 

Tigers Need To Build Resume
While I would say Notre Dame is in the NCAA Tournament as things stand, I can't say the same for Clemson (14-9, 7-4), which was picked in the preseason to finish 12th in the ACC. The Tigers lost 60-57 at Virginia Tech on Saturday, the conclusion of three straight on the road. Clemson did rally from a double-digit second-half hole to lead with about three minutes left but couldn't hang on.

The loss certainly wasn't Landry Nnoko's fault as he had 17 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high eight blocks while playing all 40 minutes. The latter was the most for a Tigers player in ACC play in nine years. He is three blocks shy of 200 career, which only six Clemson players all-time have reached. Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson’s leading scorer at 16.8 points per game, had just eight points. He was 3-for-10 from the field.

If you believe ESPN's Bracketology, Clemson is currently listed among the "First Four Out" of the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers have horrible losses to UMass and Minnesota. They also have three wins over ranked teams (Louisville, Duke, Miami). Clemson is unbeaten at home in ACC play.

The Tigers are 12-7 ATS on NCAA basketball picks and 7-2 at home.

 

Last Season
Notre Dame swept, winning 60-58 on the road and 81-67 at home. In fact, Clemson is 0-3 all-time in the series. Notre Dame is the only ACC school (it is in all sports but football) that Clemson has never beaten.

 

Final Analysis
Smells like a trap game for Irish. Go Clemson. Notre Dame is 2-7 ATS in its past nine after a win and 0-5 ATS in its past five following an ATS win. Clemson is 5-0 ATS in its past five at home and 9-2 ATS in its past 11 ACC games.