By Charles Jay
Two of the top teams in the nation are going to be meeting up on Wednesday night in what should be an interesting contrast in styles, as well as an important ACC game. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish come into this contest ranked 21st by the coaches and 23rd by the Associated Press, while the Louisville Cardinals are ninth in both major polls. Rick Pitino’s team has been going through a drought at the Joyce Center, losing on their last five trips there. So they’ll need some focus as they line up for this one, beginning at 9 PM ET in South Bend. BetAnySports customers can be involved in real-time wagering, even after the opening tip, as they access the state-of-the-art software made available by Live Betting Ultra.
Louisville is not a team that relies on pinpoint shooting; in fact, they are just 33% from downtown and hit 49% of their two-pointers, which is rather middle-of-the-road. But they do other things that make them a winner – one of them is to put pressure on the opposing offense so as to create a poor shot. In fact, they are so good that they are #1 in the nation in Defensive Efficiency, according to the analytics site KenPom.com. And they also hit the offensive boards with a lot of aggressiveness, pulling down rebounds on 38% of all opportunities. So Notre Dame, which does not necessarily have a lot of muscle inside, will have to be on the lookout.
On the season, Louisville is 12-2 straight-up and 9-3 ATS. They have lost only to Baylor and Virginia, with significant wins over Wichita State, Purdue, Kentucky and Indiana. Notre Dame is also 12-2 straight-up, and they are 3-5 against the points. There losses came at the hands of Purdue and defending national champion Villanova. They are coming into this game on a high note, having beaten Pittsburgh in overtime.
In the college basketball odds that have been posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, Notre Dame is favored, though just barely, at home:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish -1
Louisville Cardinals +1
Over 139.5 points -110
Under 139.5 points -110
Coach Pitino has done some shuffling around with his lineup. For the last game against Indiana, he sat down guard Donovan Mitchell at the start, but put him into the game later and got some instant offense out of it. Mitchell scored 25 points off the bench, triggering a victory in which the Cards shot 53% from the field, a season-high. Mitchell explained to reporters after the game that after the team beat Kentucky, it got a little “complacent,” in his words, and that was one of the contributing factors to the loss they suffered at the hands of Virginia, a team that will really grind you down with their deliberate style of play.
BetAnySports patrons knwo that Notre Dame can get that way as well; they are very good at the fundamentals. For example, they shoot a very high percentage overall, and especially from three-point range (39.6%). They very rarely turn the ball over, ranking second in the nation in that category. Their Effective Field Goal Percentage is among the top 25 in the nation, and they do not miss out on opportunities at the charity stripe, hitting 84% of their free throws. All of this will put them in good stead against Louisville.
One thing we can say for certain is that a Top 25 team from the ACC will lose once again here. Over the weekend, three nationally-ranked teams from the conference lost – Duke, Virginia and North Carolina. All of those teams were favored, so it could be the week for upsets in what is probably the nation’s most competitive league.
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