No. 12 Princeton Will Cover in Brain Bowl vs. No. 5 Notre Dame

princeton basketball

Jason Lake

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 3:03 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 15, 2017 3:03 PM UTC

Need an upset special for your March Madness brackets? The Princeton Tigers may do more than just beat the NCAAB odds when they face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Thursday in the West Region. 

No. 12 Princeton vs. No. 5 Notre Dame

West Region, Buffalo, Thursday, 12:15 p.m. ET


This is where we cackle and rub our hands with glee. It’s the 5-12 matchup in the West Region, and you know what that means: It’s time for a March Madness upset special. This is the portion of the bracket where a strong No. 12 seed can take advantage of a disinterested No. 5 seed. And in the West, it’s the No. 12 Princeton Tigers (23-6 SU, 12-10-1 ATS) taking on the No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (25-9 SU, 18-9-1 ATS) Thursday, tipping off at 12:15 p.m. Eastern on CBS.

On the surface, this matchup has everything we’re looking for. Princeton was easily the best team in the Ivy League this year, and the Fighting Irish were maybe the sixth-best team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. At-large teams like Notre Dame are vulnerable in these spots. However, the Irish opened at -7 on the NCAAB odds board, and they’re still there as we go to press, with our consensus numbers showing equal action on both sides.

The Princeton Offense

The further away we get from the marquee programs in the top seeds, the less likely we’re going to find much difference between the lines and the computer projections. FiveThirtyEight has Notre Dame winning this game 75-percent of the time; that’s close to -7 according to Wizard of Odds. However, Ken Pomeroy has Notre Dame just 8.5 points better than Princeton per 100 possessions, and these two slowpokes might only get 65 possessions in during Thursday’s game. That works out to around Notre Dame -5.5.

Wheels up! ?? We're off to Buffalo for our first round game vs Notre Dame on Thursday! #TigerUp

— Princeton Basketball (@Princeton_Hoops) March 13, 2017

We’ll take it. The Irish have already moved to -6.5 at some books, so it’s clear that Princeton is bringing in at least some business. Both teams can shoot the 3, but the Tigers are much better at perimeter defense -- and those guys are pretty smart, too. Nerds can ball.

NCAAB Free Pick: Princeton +7Best Line Offered: SportsBetting

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