Poor Shooting Makes Under The NCAA Tournament Pick in Michigan vs. Notre Dame

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, March 17, 2016 9:08 PM GMT

Our NCAA Basketball handicapping professional continues his coverage of the NCAA Tournament East Region, and has gone 2-0 thus far in this gala annual event. Go inside to read his intriguing NCAA Basketball pick on Friday’s Michigan/Notre Dame second round matchup.

#11 Michigan (23-12) vs. #6 Notre Dame (21-11) 9:40 PM ET
Michigan and Notre Dame will meet for the first time since 2006. Michigan advanced to this first round matchup by virtue of a “First Four” 67-62 victory over Tulsa in Dayton on Wednesday. The Wolverines covered that contest as a closing 2.0 point favorite. The current NCAA Tournament odds at Heritage indicate that Notre Dame is a 3.0 points favorite, and the posted total is 143.5. The winner of this contest will move on to a second round game on Sunday against either #3 seed West Virginia or #14 Stephen F. Austin.

 

Controversial NCAA Tourney Choice
There were a lot of people who second guessed the selection committee, due to the NCAA Tournament bid extended to Michigan. Truth be told, they were the 65th of 68 teams named to the field. Obviously their wins by 2 in overtime versus Northwestern, and its upset of Indiana during the Big Ten Tournament was a clincher. Otherwise, prior to the conference tournament, Michigan had gone 1-4 in its last five, and 3-6 during their final nine regular season games. The Wolverines were a very good shooting team for about the majority of this season. However, they’ve tailed off considerably in that regard during recent games. They’ve shot a poor 39.6% from the floor, and made only 28.4% of their three point attempts over its last five contests. That’s a far cry from season averages of 46.4% and 38.0%.

 

Irish in need of a Wakeup Call
Notre Dame hasn’t displayed their finest moments of the season in recent games. They did overcome a 21 point deficit to defeat Duke in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals. If you take that second half surge away, they really struggled down the stretch, and the only exception would their 14 point win over a below average NC State team. Similar to Friday’s opponent, Notre Dame has hung their hats on a very good offensive perimeter game for the better part of this season. That certainly hasn’t been the case lately. “The Fighting Irish” are averaging just 65.2 points scored, and shot a terrible 40.6% over its last five games. Compare that to season averages of 75.7 points scored per contest, in addition to 47.1% shooting, and there’s certainly a cause for concern.

 

Final Take and Pick
Michigan has gone 6-1 under the total in their last seven games. The only game that surpassed the number required overtime in order to do so. Notre Dame is 6-2 under the total during their previous eight outings. I’ve already chronicled the shooting slumps that both teams have endured recently. Relative to its current (3/17) total, I like to this be a low scoring game that will be played in the mid to high sixties. One of my Friday NCAA Tournament picks will be indicative of that prediction.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 143.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage