Mon, Feb 28, 10:15am by Kevin Pitstock
On Monday evening, the first of an ESPN doubleheader features the Notre Dame Fighting Irish against the Villanova Wildcats. Both teams are looking to improve their seed in the Big East tournament, before the tournament tips-off next week at Madison Square Garden. Notre Dame comes in with an overall record of 23-5 and 12-4 in Big East play. The Fighting Irish are tied with Pittsburgh at the top of the Big East standings. Villanova has fallen to 7th place in the conference standings, tied with Connecticut, West Virginia and Cincinnati. They hold a 21-8 overall reecord and 9-7 in conference play.
These two teams have yet to play this season. They have the opportunity to play in the conference tournament, especially if they finish with 1 and 8 seed. Notre Dame’s final game will come on March 5th at Connecticut, while the Wildcats have a trip to Pittsburgh remaining.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Overview
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are coming up back-to-back wins over Providence and Seton Hall. The wins allowed the Irish to win 9 of their last 10 games. Notre Dame’s losses in Big East play have come to West Virginia, St. John’s, Syracuse and Marquette. Out of conference play, the Irish dropped a game to Kentucky.
Notre Dame is getting over 30 points per game from Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis. The Irish rank 45th in the nation, scoring 75.1 points per game. Mike Brey’s crew rank 14th in the country in assists, as they average dishing out 16.5 per game.
Villanova Wildcats Overview
The Villanova Wildcats, after moving as high as #4 in the country have struggled as of late. The Wildcats have lost two in a row and four of their last six. Villanova is coming off back-to-back home losses to Syracuse and St. John’s. That coming off the overtime win over the DePaul Blue Demons.
Villanova is led by the guard combination of Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes. The two combine for over 30 points per game, for a team that scores 73.7 per game. Villanova is seeking their 32nd trip to the NCAA tournament in 2011.
Notre Dame/Villanova Prediction
This should be a fun game on Monday night. The Irish have the major advantage playing the game in the loud Joyce Center in South Bend. The guard play for both teams will be very good, while Notre Dame seems to have the advantage inside.
Notre Dame comes into this game at -4. This game will be tight throughout, but Notre Dame and their home court will come away with the win. Notre Dame wins this game by 6.
Our pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish – 4. Bet the Fighting Irish at ISABET.
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