NCAA Baskeball handicappers know Notre Dame & Louisville are both NCAA tournament bound, but what will the outcome be when these ACC rivals battle at the Yum! Center? Here's our pick.
Irish-Cardinals Betting Odds
Most of the NCAA Basketball odds market opened Louisville at -5 for tonight, with a total set at 137.5. Many books then dropped the Cardinals to -4.5 and -4.
Those thinking Notre Dame might win this game outright could get +165 on the moneyline at Heritage.
Louisville has won three games in a row, after pounding Florida State Saturday 81-59. The Cardinals let the Seminoles hang around for about 26 minutes, then pulled away with an 18-1 run, and in the end easily covered as five-point road favorites. Louisville shot 48 percent from the floor Saturday, and hit eight of 18 shots from 3-point land.
Just prior to that the Cardinals nipped Georgia Tech 52-51, and just before that they beat Miami by a bucket 55-53. So the 'Ville is only 1-4 ATS over its last five games.
At 23-6 overall and 11-5 in ACC play Louisville is headed back to the Big Dance for the ninth season in a row, as people forming NCAA Tournament Brackets on a regular basis could expect. But the Cardinals still have a little work to do if they want one of those double-byes for the upcoming ACC tournament.
Notre Dame, meanwhile, had won three in a row, but lost at home to Syracuse last Tuesday 65-60. The Irish, as eight-point favorites, trailed nearly the entire game, and for the night shot just 35 percent from the floor, making just three of 22 shots from beyond the arc.
Just prior to that Notre Dame had won three in a row, over Clemson, Wake Forest and Boston College. Not exactly a Murderers' Row, but victories nonetheless. But the Irish are just 2-5 ATS over their last seven games.
At 24-5 overall and 12-4 in the ACC Notre Dame will return to the NCAA basketball tournament this season, after missing out last season. The Irish have also already clinched a double-bye for the upcoming ACC tournament.
These former Big East rivals last met in the semifinals of the Big East Conference tournament two years ago, a 69-57 Louisville victory. Tonight will be their first meeting as ACC rivals.
By the Numbers
Notre Dame is shooting a shade under 51 percent from the floor this season, which ranks second-best in the nation, and 39 percent from 3-point range, while holding opponents to 42.5 percent FG shooting.
Louisville is shooting just 43 percent from the floor, and 31 percent from long range, but is holding foes to just 38 percent shooting, which ranks in the top 10 in the country.
Irish-Cardinal Betting Trends
Notre Dame is 11-8 on the totals this season, as Irish games have averaged 145 points.
Louisville is 11-14 on the totals, as Cardinals games have averaged 129 points.
Notre Dame is 6-5 ATS on the road this season.
Louisville is 3-11-2 ATS at home.
Irish-Cardinals Free Pick
Notre Dame owns the edge on offense, while Louisville owns the edge on defense. And usually, in cases like this, we go with the better defense. The Irish might be ripe for a bounce-back effort, after their poor performance last time out, but they're also basically locked into their seed for the ACC tournament, and therefore don't have as much at stake as the Cardinals. So we'll place our NCAA basketball picks with the home team in this spot, at what seems like a very reasonable spread.
Free College Basketball Pick: Louisville -4 at 5Dimes