Pick Notre Dame to Cover NCAA Basketball Odds vs. Clemson: ACC Clash Will Be Taken Over by the Fighting Irish

Joe Gavazzi

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 5:05 PM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 5:05 PM GMT

Our expert handicapper examines tonight's matchup between Notre Dame and Clemson. Take a look at this article preview and check out which team is our pick, and why.

Notre Dame (-3) vs. Clemson 7:00 ET ESPN2
Tonight at 7:00 ET, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame visit the Clemson Tigers at Little John Coliseum for an ACC clash between a pair of teams who are each coming off a loss. A look at the standings shows us that Clemson is a surprising 6-4 SU in league play. With an overall record of 14-8 SU, a high-profile victory over Notre Dame would go a long way toward the NCAA hopes.  Even after their loss to Duke, Notre Dame still maintained 2nd place in the league with a record of 9-3 SU and a 21-4 SU overall mark. This will be a battle between the Clemson defense and the Notre Dame offense as the numbers below will depict.

Clemson is coached by veteran 5th year mentor, Brad Brownell. The modus operandi is for the Tigers to play hard-nosed defense and control the pace. The numbers for Clemson prove the point. The Tigers allow just 60 PPG on 39% shooting from the field and 32% shooting from the arc. That set of defensive numbers would normally translate into a superior record. But, the Tigers cannot match their superior defense with outstanding offense. In fact, Clemson averages only 62 PPG, shooting only 41% (just 53 shots per game) and 30% from behind the arc. There are further problems with the fact that they make just 66% from the stripe, dish out only 10.4 assists per game and force only 11 TOs per game.  Should the Tigers be able to successfully control the pace for 40 minutes, they have a chance to be competitive in this game. Yet, one Notre Dame spurt would make in most improbable that Clemson would be able to stay competitive.

For More NCAA Basketball Action Check Out Our Expert's Selections for Tonight

Notre Dame was embarrassed at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Playing with revenge for a previous 77-73 loss at South Bend, the Duke Blue Devils got their revenge with a convincing 90-60 victory. Unless you think the Notre Dame bounce back is automatic; consider that in the 15 years under current HC Brey, that the Fighting Irish are just 18-44 ATS in the game following a conference road loss. After their previous 3 losses this season, the Irish are 3-0 SU, but 0-2 ATS, failing to cover as road favorite at Georgia Tech and home favorite vs. Boston College. As the below statistics will point out, Notre Dame has an outstanding offensive team.  Having gone an uncharacteristic 1-2 SU, 0-3 ATS of late, expect the bounce back. Regarding their road ability, note that already this year, away from South Bend, Notre Dame has won and covered 6 games vs. UMass, Purdue and at North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and NC State.  Key to the 21-4 SU record is one of the nation’s best offenses. Notre Dame averages 80 PPG on 52% from the field, over 40% from the arc (nearly 9 per game) and 70% from the stripe.  They have an outstanding 15.3 to 9.2 assist to TO margin. 

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This is the type of game in which percentages are on our side. My opinion is that it is a coin flip if the game evolves into a tightly contested half court affair. But, if Notre Dame gets their preferred pace, this will simply be a no contest blowout in favor of the Irish as NCAA Basketball picks.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Take Notre Dame -3.5 at 5Dimes

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