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- Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Louisville Cardinals Predictions
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Louisville Cardinals Predictions
Pickswise's Expert Predictions & Analysis
Point Spread Prediction
Louisville had not played in nearly three weeks before their game against North Carolina this past weekend. The result was a 99-54 loss to the Tar Heels. Louisville is only projected to be an eight-seed in the NCAA tournament, so they cannot afford many more losses down the stretch. Especially because of some of their Covid pauses, they have less games played compared to other teams trying to get in. Now Notre Dame is not a great team either, but there are a few areas that may suggest they are the right side here. First of all, the Fighting Irish are the fourth most efficient offense in the ACC. That being compared to Louisville, who is 10th in this same category. Secondly, the Irish shoot the ball at a much higher clip than the Cardinals do. To break their percentages down further, Notre Dame shoots the fourth best mark from downtown and the best from inside the arc in conference play. This will go a long way when we see that Louisville is last in effective field goal percentage, last in three-point shooting and 11th from two-point range. A third reason why I like Notre Dame is because they have the best turnover rate in the ACC in terms of taking care of the ball. The Irish only turn the ball over on 14.8 percent of their offensive possessions. In the same sense, Louisville is 12th in forcing turnovers, which should allow Notre Dame to run their offense and find high percentage shots.
This past Saturday told us a lot about Louisville and whether or not they are a real threat for the upcoming tournament. Either that or they were just extremely rusty after their Covid layoff. Regardless, their offensive numbers are not consistent enough, so I will be backing the Irish to cover as a lean in case the Cardinals actually decide to show up.
Game Totals Prediction
Louisville is usually known for their defense considering they are the sixth most efficient unit in the ACC. Throw that out the window right now because the Tar Heels absolutely torched them this past weekend. As efficient as their numbers may suggest, Louisville is only sixth in effective field goal defense in the conference. They do have the best three-point defense, but inside the arc, they rank 12th. Remember, the Irish have the highest field goal percentage from two-point range, so it is hard to believe the Cardinals are going to all of a sudden shut them down.
Notre Dame’s defense on the other hand, is not exactly great either. They are 11th in defensive efficiency in the ACC. They do not force many turnovers, meaning the Cardinals are going to have more possessions. Both teams tend to play at slower tempos, but the recent lack of contesting shots for Louisville and the aforementioned offensive efficiency from the Irish, should allow this game to open up nicely. Until we see the Cardinals’ defense improve on their performance against the Tar Heels, we are going to back the over as a lean.