The Fighting Irish have had the far more successful season, explaining why the NCAA Basketball odds have them favored by 7.5 points for tonight's second-round matchup in the Big Apple.
Both teams have been locking down defensively as of late, so a total of 124.5 isn't all that surprising. The UNDER has hit in six of the last eight head-to-head meetings between these teams.
Let SBR be your 2013 NCAA Tournament betting headquarters.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
The Scarlet Knights had no trouble at all in their opening round win over DePaul, winning 76-57 and easily cashing as three-point favorites.
Though they were only leading by one at halftime, Rutgers turned on the style in the second half, outscoring the Blue Demons 44-26. As a team, the Scarlet Knights shot 61.1 percent from the floor and made 6-of-11 from beyond the arc. They dominated on the glass (34-20) as well, which ended up being crucial to the win.
Individually, Wally Judge, Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears all stepped up. Judge had 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, Mack came through with 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting to go along with four boards, four dimes and three steals, and Seagears put up 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Rutgers has now covered the spread in four consecutive games dating back to the regular season and backers will be hoping they can make that five in a row after tonight's over and done with.
At 10-4 ATS in 14 “road” contests this season, the Scarlet Knights have turned out to be a money-maker outside of their own gym. Can they pull off the upset against an inconsistent Notre Dame squad?
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Whenever it looked as if Notre Dame was going to go on a winning run, they crashed back down to earth. Nonetheless, a 23-8 overall record and 11-7 conference mark resulted in a first round BYE.
Despite being double-digit underdogs, Notre Dame still couldn't cover (+11). They shot 39.3 percent overall and had no answer for Gorgui Dieng down low. The Cardinal big man had 20 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and three steals.No doubt the Fighting Irish have had an intense few days of practice leading up this game, considering they ended the regular season by losing by 16 on the road against Louisville.
Struggles for Jack Cooley (seven points on 3-of-9 shooting), Jerian Grant (eight points on 2-of-12 shooting) and Eric Atkins (3-of-8 for nine points) certainly didn't help matters.
Points have not come easy for Notre Dame lately. They're averaging 60.0 PPG on 41.7 percent shooting over their last five, well below their season averages of 70.7 PPG and 47.0 percent shooting. We don't expect them to have a ton of success against Rutgers this evening either.
College Basketball Pick
Notre Dame's inconsistency makes it difficult for bettors to back a side with their College Basketball picks in this spot, but ultimately we think this game will be another tough Big East battle, making those points look appealing.
The fact the Fighting Irish have gone 3-8 ATS in their last 11 neutral-site games (dating back to last season) is also a scary trend that only helps to keep us away from Cooley and company.
When these two met up in the middle of January, Notre Dame won by just three at home, so the Scarlet Knights are going to like their chances here.
The step up in competition for Rutgers is going to be considerable, but this team is looking extremely confident out there right now and we like them to carry over the momentum to cover this spread as underdogs.
Free Pick: Rutgers Scarlet Knights +7.5For more Big East action, check out my free picks on the Seton Hall and Syracuse matchup.