The Virginia Cavaliers will open their ACC conference season on Wednesday evening when they travel to South Bend, IN to take on the Notre Dame FIghting Irish. The Cavalier come into the game as six point road favorite with the total being set at 127.5 points.
It will be the first game Virginia has played since the day after Christmas when they were dominated by the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Notre Dame has not played since December 23rd when they played Bellamarine.
Notre Dame enters the game with a 3-4 record while the Cavaliers are 4-2 thus far. The game tips at 6:00 PM EST.
Is Virginia Elite?
Entering the season Virginia was considered to be one of the top four teams in the nation with Gonzaga, Baylor, and Villanova. So far, those three have proved themselves to be worthy while Virginia has stumbled.
The Cavaliers have lost to both opponents they have faced that rank within the top 100 of Kenpom and did not look good against Gonzaga. Each of their four wins this season have come against teams ranked 149 or worse in Kenpom.
While newcomers Sam Hauser and Trey Murphy have played well for Virginia, junior point guard Kihei Clark has struggled both from the floor and in the turnover column. Sophomore wing Casey Morsell has also not made the jump that was expected of him after a struggle during his freshman campaign.
On the plus side, freshman Reece Beekman has emerged as a likely future star for the Cavaliers on both ends of the floor.
Virginia is just 3-3 against the spread this season despite playing just the 193rd ranked schedule. They have also split the totals 3-3.
Fighting their way into the win column
Notre Dame may only have a record of 3-4 but they have played a bit better than their record may suggest. That said, at some point you have to win some games. Following a win against disappointing Kentucky, the Irish dropped games to Duke and Purdue by ten points each. An 11-point victory at home against Bellamarine is not a very impressive response to two consecutive losses.
Prentiss Hubb and Dane Goodwin have been the backcourt that we all expected (both averaging north of 16 ppg) while Nate Laszewkski has been doing his best to replace the productivity that left when John Mooney graduated. Laszewski is shooting over 57% from behind the three-point line on the season while averaging over 14 points and 8 rebounds per game.
The Irish are a putrid 2-5 against the spread this season and just 1-3 ATS at home. The total has gone over in four of their seven games this season.
Virginia (-6) at Notre Dame – Total: 127.5 points
Bovada has Virginia as the six point favorite on the road with a total of 127.5 points.
Virginia is just 11-8 against Kenpom top 100 teams over the last two seasons and Notre Dame currently ranks 89th. While Virginia is once again a fantastic defensive team, they are still prone to long offensive lulls. They also just surrendered 98 points to Gonzaga.
While a home dog is always tempting, Virginia will win this game. That said, Notre Dame shoots the ball well enough from deep to cover this number at home. Virginia currently ranks 246th in the nation in defending the three-point line. Notre Dame to cover, take the over.
Spooky Express Free Pick: Notre Dame +6