Michigan State simply isn’t getting enough production out of its top player, which provides Notre Dame point spread value in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
All About Defense
Over the last five games, Michigan State is limiting opponents to 55.6 points on 33.9 percent shooting from the field, as it attempts to bounce back from a disappointing 61-56 setback to Kansas as one-point neutral-site underdogs last weekend. The Spartans will need that intensity to carry over in playing their second road contest of the 2014-15 campaign, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA basketball odds, as they’ve gone 6-8 all-time in this event.
Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 0-3 SUATS as road underdogs of three or fewer points, with the UNDER going 2-1 in that situation.
Notre Dame leads the nation in shooting 58 percent from the field overall, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball predictions, as it has four of five probable starters averaging 11.9 or more points per game. The Fighting Irish have one of the more talented guards in the country in Jerian Grant, as the senior is on the brink of becoming just the sixth player in school history to score 1,000 points and dish off 500 assists. It’s important to point out that the team has won and covered the number in its last two opportunities as favorites of three or fewer points inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
Rise to the Occasion?
The Spartans need to get more offensive production out of Preseason First-Team All-American Branden Dawson, who is averaging just 10.2 points despite shooting 52.8 percent from the field. If Dawson is unable to answer the bell, Michigan State will need fellow senior Travis Trice to fill the void, as he’s knocked down 19-of-45 shots from beyond the arc, while ranking second in the Big Ten in assists.
One of the main reasons the Fighting Irish have shot 50 percent or better from the field in all of their games to date is the simple fact of sending out the same lineup in all of those affairs. Last season, Notre Dame ended up using 12 different rotations throughout the 2013-14 season, including three different starting fives in the opening seven contests.
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Fighting Irish as one of their NCAA basketball picks, as the Spartans are 0-4 ATS on the road in their last four games versus a team with a winning home record.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish -2 at BetOnline