Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Fighting Irish Free College Basketball Picks, Odds and Predictions Dave
by Dave Schwab - 2/28/2014
Pittsburgh Panthers (21-7) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (15-14)
NCAA Basketball: Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 2 p.m. EST (Purcell Pavilion)
The Pittsburgh Panthers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will continue to jockey for position in the standings for the upcoming ACC Tournament when they battle it out this Saturday in a nationally-televised clash on ESPN2.
Three straight losses dropped the Panthers out of the national rankings, but they were able to snap that skid with 66-59 victory over Boston College this past Wednesday in a game that ended as a “push”. Pittsburgh continues to be a major drain on the bankroll after failing to cover in its last eight games. The total has stayed “under” in five of its last seven outings.
It has been a bumpy road for Notre Dame in its first season in the ACC with a record of 6-10 SU (5-11 ATS) in conference play, and the bumps have gotten worse down the stretch with just two SU victories in its last six games. On a positive note, the Irish are coming off a 65-62 win over Georgia Tech this past Wednesday. They failed to cover as 6.5-points home favorites to fall to 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games,
Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Storylines
The Panthers are averaging 72 points per game this season, but that number is a bit deceiving after failing to crack the 70-point mark in seven of their last eight games. Pittsburgh has struggled with its shooting all season long with a field goal percentage of 45.9 percent, and it has not been the strongest team under the boards with 36 rebounds a game.
To turn things around at a crucial time of the year starting with a win on Saturday, the Panthers will need big effort from Lamar Patterson. He leads the team in points (17.1) and assists (4.4) and is easily their biggest scoring threat outside the perimeter with a 40.5 shooting percentage from 3-point range. Talib Zanna (12.5 points) and Cameron Wright (10.9) are Pitt’s other two players scoring in double-figures, and Zanna leads the team in rebounds with 8.0 a game.
Notre Dame’s chances to make some noise in its new conference took a serious hit before it even played its first game in the ACC when Jerian Grant was dismissed from the team. At the time he was averaging 19 PPG. The Irish have a trio of players averaging more than 13 points that have helped to fill the void. Garrick Sherman is scoring 13.8 points and leading the team in rebounds (7.4), and Eric Atkins is adding 13.6 PPG while dishing-out 4.6 assists. Pat Connaughton rounds things out with 13.3 points and 7.1 rebounds.
Overall, the Irish are scoring 72.1 PPG and shooting 45.4 percent from the field. They have also had their issues under the boards this season with an average of 34.7 rebounds a game, and defensively they have been torched for an average of 70 PPG. The 62 points they gave up against Georgia Tech on Wednesday was the lowest total in their last five games.
Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Fighting Irish College Basketball Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Panthers are 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games following a SU win, and they are 0-6 ATS in their last six games against a team with a SU winning record. The total has gone over in 24 of their last 35 games following a SU win.
The Fighting Irish are 6-18-2 ATS in their last 26 home games. They have gone 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following a SU win, with the total going in the last six of those outings.
Head-to-head in this long-time Big East rivalry, Pittsburgh has lost the last five meetings both SU and ATS, with the total staying under in all five games. This will be the first meeting between the two in the ACC.
Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Fighting Irish Free College Basketball Picks and Betting Predictions
Neither of these teams’ current form is anything to write home about, but Pittsburgh still has the ability to go on a run at the right time of the year. This run has to start with a solid performance in Saturday’s game, and I am banking on the Panthers getting the job done with a crucial road win that covers the 3.5-point spread.
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