NCAA Basketball Picks: Take 'Over' In Louisville & Notre Dame Game

Jay Pryce

Saturday, February 13, 2016 1:39 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016 1:39 PM UTC

Louisville, reeling from its self-imposed postseason ban, travel to South Bend to take on the superbly efficient Fightin’ Irish on Saturday afternoon. Check out our NCAA Basketball pick here. 

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NCAA Basketball Pick:Over 145
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Louisville vs. Notre Dame
No. 13 Louisville, reeling from its self-imposed postseason ban, travel to South Bend to take on the superbly efficient Fightin’ Irish on Saturday afternoon (4 p.m. ET). Coach Rick Pitino is 0-4 SU and against the NCAA basketball odds in four trips to Notre Dame leading the Cardinals. Can he find away to rally his troops this time around?


Louisville (19-5 SU, 10-10 ATS)
There will be no postseason play for the Cardinals this season. Tough news for the team with the best average scoring margin in the nation at +18.0. Last Friday, the school announced a self-imposed NCAA and ACC tournament ban because of an alleged prostitution scandal involving recruits and players that surfaced in October.

Since narrowly missing an upset victory over Michigan State 71-67 in East Lansing on December 2, the Cardinals are 3-3 SU and 0-6 ATS on the road. The vaunted defense, which is the third most efficient in the nation yielding just 89.7 points per 100 possessions, is allowing 72.9 points per game on average during this stretch. Two stat categories stick out in the run: one, the defense is giving up an above-average 37.2 percent from downtown; secondly, it is only generating 12.0 turnovers per game. The latter number is most surprising since Pitino’s aggressive ball-attacking defense forces 14.7 per contest on the year.

Guards Trey Lewis (12.3 ppg) and Damion Lee (16.7 ppg), two seniors who transferred to the school this season with the intentions of playing in March Madness, lead an offense scoring 110.9 points per 100 possessions. Louisville is one of the best at conjuring up extra scoring chances. Its 6.2 per game ranks seventh nationally. In addition to forcing plenty of turnovers, the team crushes the glass with a 39.5 percent offensive rebound rate. One area Pitino’s group is vulnerable, however, is at the free-throw line, sinking a paltry 68.9 percent from the charity stripe.


Notre Dame (17-7 SU, 10-11-1)
Since 2014, the Fighting Irish are 12-1 SU and 7-5-1 ATS versus ACC foes in South Bend. Although some of the conference’s weaker teams front-loaded their home schedule this season, long-time coach Mike Brey’s squad did dispose of then-No.9 UNC 80-76 as a 6.5-point dog in its last defense of Purcell Pavilion.

Brey’s offense is the most efficient in the nation, scoring a whopping 124.8 points per 100 possessions. Junior guard Demetrius Jackson (16.2 ppg, 5.0 apg) is both the leading scorer and playmaker. Where the unit is so effective is in its ability to control the ball. Gifting opponents a freebie on just 14 percent of possessions, the team’s 9.0 turnovers per game is tops nationally. It has showed some hiccups against aggressive defenses like Pitino’s group, though. Five of Notre Dame’s seven losses have come against teams forcing 13 turnovers or more per night, going 3-7 ATS in 10 games.

Defensively, Notre Dame is not so hot, allowing 106.5 points per 100 possessions. Gifting a 50.5 percent effective field goal percentage, the unit up gives up a lot from the three-point arc. Its 7.8 allowed from downtown per game ranks 278th nationally. Luckily, the Cards enter the game with one of the lowest attempt rates (16.1 per game) in the land.


Final Analysis
Both teams should reach into the 70s in a very close and competitive game. The OVER is 10-3 when these teams tussle under the leadership of Pitino and Brey. We expect it to hit again. OVER 145 is the NCAA basketball pick.

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