The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have not had much recent success against the Virginia Cavaliers, but they most certainly hope to remedy that when they take the floor on Tuesday night at the Joyce Center in South Bend. Game time is 8 PM ET, and it will be shown online at ESPN3. BetAnySports customers can place wagers on this game even after the opening tip, as they take advantage of what is available through the phenomenon of Live Betting Ultra.
Notre Dame is 17-3 on the season, and they are known as a team that can take care of the basketball, turning the ball over on only 14.5% of all possessions, the seventh lowest frequency rate in the country. But that isn’t going to be their problem on the offensive end against Tony Bennett’s crew, which will not allow them to penetrate to get inside. That will invariably leave them in a position where they have to launch shots from the perimeter and take their chances. They have not gotten good results out of that in this matchup, scoring just 56 ppg over the last four meetings and losing by an average margin of 13.3 points.
Notre Dame is ranked #12 in the nation in the Coaches’ poll and 14th by the Associated Press. Virginia is just beneath them in the Coaches’ rankings (#13) but they are ahead of the Irish on the AP list (#12).
In the basketball betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, Notre Dame is a very slight favorite at home:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish -1
Virginia Cavaliers +1
Over 136.5 points -110
Under 136.5 points -110
Virginia, quite simply, specializes in controlling the pace and making it as difficult as possible for opponents to get off a high-percentage shot. The Cavs are allowing only 39% shooting and just 53.2 points per game. They held the first five opponents on their schedule to an average of just 39.2 points. They force the tempo – that much is certain. In fact, the pace they play at is the slowest out of all the 351 Division I programs in the country.
When Bennett, who comes from a coaching family, employs his scheme, it often leaves the opponent with little choice other than to shoot from the perimeter. And BetAnySports patrons who have seen the Irish know that they are somewhat equipped to deal with it, as they have shooters like Steve Vasturia, Matt Farrell and Rex Pflueger who are better than 40% accurate from beyond the arc. But the element of driving to the hoop to gain penetration is largely taken away by the “Pack Line.” And this will invariably reduce the number of open looks Notre Dame will get from outside.
Mike Brey has lost all four times against Virginia, and he admits that he has not been able to come up with any answers for this opponent, which also snuffs out any chances in transition when the Cavaliers miss a shot. In fact, in three of the last four meetings, Notre Dame has had ZERO fast break points.
Virginia doesn’t necessarily have any big scorers, but they are 12th-best in the nation with 39.9% from three-point territory and they are almost as stingy as Notre Dame when it comes to taking care of the basketball. We know the Irish have patience, but in this coaching chess match, that hasn’t been enough.
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