Upset-Minded Notre Dame Takes Crack at No. 1Virginia

Willie Bee

Saturday, March 3, 2018 4:56 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 3, 2018 4:56 PM UTC

It would be a memorable way to reach the 500-win plateau for Mike Brey when he sends his Notre Dame team out against No. 1 Virginia as underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Virginia Cavaliers

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Free NCAAB Pick: Notre Dame +9½
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Two mysteries surround Saturday’s skirmish in Charlottesville between the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and both have to do with playing time. Specifically, how long will Tony Bennett go with his top players having already locked up the No. 1 seed for next week’s ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, and how many minutes will Mike Brey give Bonzie Colson in just his second game back from injury?

It’s a shame most of the country won’t get to see how things play out with the 4 PM (ET) tip at John Paul Jones Arena only available on the ACC Network. A quick glance at the college basketball odds suggests it will play out in favor of the Cavaliers, Virginia carrying 9½ points worth of chalk into the matchup and scoreboard bettors faced with 121 for the total.

UVA Totals Running 4-13 O/U In Conference Games

Colson missed 15 games with a broken foot that many thought ended his season and career at Notre Dame. The 6-6 senior beat the odds to return to the floor at South Bend a few days ago, almost collecting a double-double in 21 minutes of a 73-56 win over lowly Pitt. Notre Dame went 6-9 with him sidelined, winning 12 of the 15 games with him in the lineup. How much will the selection committee consider that when handing out at-large bids a week from now?

Calling it "a really good accomplishment," Bennett watched his bunch rally from a 10-point deficit at Louisville on Thursday to beat the Cardinals at the buzzer, 67-66. De’Andre Hunter’s 3-pointer lifted the Cavaliers to victory, though it wasn’t enough to cover a 4 point spread Bookmaker burdened Virginia backers with, the third spread defeat in five games. ‘Under’ bettors continue to cash the Cavaliers in ACC games, 13-of-17 falling short of the totals.

Series Trends, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

A bit strange seeing the one and only scheduled meeting fall on the final weekend, though a second meeting could be just ahead in the conference tourney. Virginia has a bye into the quarterfinals where the Cavs will meet the winner of the 8/9 game. Notre Dame is currently ninth in the league, and looking for its 2nd-straight win over Virginia after posting a 71-58 upset in the ACC Tournament a year ago as a 3½ point underdog. The Cavaliers had won the previous 10 clashes, including all five as conference foes, and are 10-2 overall in the rivalry.

A Notre Dame win today would all but guarantee the Irish an invite to the Big Dance, and also mark the 500th in Brey’s career. An outright win might be too much to ask, but it’s a relative easy play for me to take the points for my free NCAA basketball pick.

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— Notre Dame MBB (@NDmbb) March 2, 2018

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