Notre Dame vs. Louisville
When: 7:00 p.m. ET ESPN 2
Spread: Louisville -7.5
This will be the second meeting of the year for these two teams and the last time they met at Louisville, the Cards won handedly 75-61. In that game Louisville shot 68% and completely out rebounded the Irish. The difference in this game will be if Notre Dame can limit Louisville at the free throw line and the amount of shots made. They will have to stop Jordan Nwora from taking over as well. I don’t think that they will be able to do that since they don’t have much of a defense. Louisville’s defense will really limit the amount of made shots by Notre Dame which will make things an uphill battle for them. The only real shot Notre Dame has is if they can force Louisville to turn the ball over, and when they have the ball they need make their shots. That’s not super realistic though, seeing as Notre Dame is not as strong as they had been in the past.
That being said, this game won’t even be close. Louisville is just the better team, and although they have lost a lot of games in the past month and a half, I think they are a better team because of it. They have been playing good basketball but just can’t find ways to close out games, and against a weak Notre Dame team, I don’t think that will be an issue.
Prediction: Louisville 76 – 64 Notre Dame
Pittsburgh vs. Syracuse
When: 9:00 p.m. ET ESPN 2
Spread: Syracuse -7.5
Pittsburgh had an really rough stretch in the end of the year. They lost 13 in a row. In that stretch they lost both of their games to Syracuse with scores of 74-63, and 65-56. On the other side, Syracuse had their fair share of quality wins this season. They beat both Duke and Louisville, but they didn’t have anything else that special this season. What Syracuse is going to do is probably block Pitt a lot. Syracuse is one of the best shot blocking teams in the country, and probably can do some damage against Pitt who gets their shot blocked almost more than any other team in the country. Syracuse also does a great job of stealing the ball. This is a suffocating team, but their offense isn’t really anything to write home about. They are a terrible three point shooting team and are not that good down low either.
Pitt’s best shot is causing Syracuse to take bad shots, and they probably will. They are a competent team. However, they are also one of the youngest teams in college basketball. I don’t think Pitt can get this one done; however, they will be able to keep it close. It will be a tough ACC battle in tournament time that will ultimately result in a Syracuse victory.
Prediction: Syracuse 68 – 63 Pittsburgh