NCAA Betting Online: After a rough start, which was aided by a season-ending injury to senior leader Tim Arbromaitis, Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey was resigned to accepting an NIT berth in 2012.
But Brey changed the offensive approach and with a stroke of Irish luck, this team was surprisingly competitive in Big East play.
Brey opted for a more conservative, slower-paced gameplan that emphasized inside-out ball movement.
Eric Atkins has done as fantastic job as the facilitator but Notre Dame’s resurgence really took flight when Jack Cooley became engaged. Brey said Cooley is hungrier and working harder now instead of just taking what his talent gave him. The big man recorded a double-double in seven of the Irish’s last 10 outings.
So instead of running down the court and jacking up 3’s all night, the Irish rely on their inside game and defense. They were 42nd in the country in opponent scoring this year after allowing a measly average of 61.5 points a game. That effort produced a 9-18 over/under mark.
The Irish beat a Tournament-bound South Florida squad in their Big East tourney opener. They lost to Louisville as 3.5-point college basketball spread underdogs in the second round. Brey hopes that the time off will help his guys regroup.
“It’s kind of a fresh start,” he said. “I talked to them about given that we leave here with a bad taste in our mouth, it can give us little edge year as we move into the NCAA Tournament.”
There were more than a few bubble teams upset with Xavier after it lost to St. Bonaventure in the Atlantic 10 title game. The Bonnies stole an at-large bid with a 67-56 upset as 3.5-point college basketball spread underdogs.
But you won’t get an apology from the Musketeers. They were selected for a seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance on Sunday.
Xavier’s offense averages better than 70 points a game and is powered by three guards. Tu Holloway leads the team at 17.0 points per while Mark Lyons (15.5 ppg) and Dezmine Wells (10.2 ppg) also average double figures.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Wells is a talented swingman that can run at shooting guard or small forward. The freshman finishes well around the rim and nabs nearly five rebounds a night.
The Musketeers have held their last four opponents to fewer than 70 points. During the regular season, they ranked 28th in opponent field-goal percentage and 31st in opponent 3-point percentage.
Notre Dame and Xavier do have some past tournament history, although none of the current members were a part of it. These programs met during the first round in 2001. The Irish entered that game as 1-point pups but won 83-71. They have won four straight in the series and are 15-3 all-time against the Musketeers.
The college basketball spread for this game was sent out on Sunday at BookMaker sportsbook and the Irish were pegged as 3-point chalk with a total of 123.5. Notre Dame is just 1-5 in neutral-court contests this year. Minute-by-minute spreads, totals and props are available for this game using the live betting platform at BookMaker.
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