Though not much is at stake between two of the best teams in NCAA Basketball tonight, as both the #11 Georgetown Hoyas (21-6, 11-5 Big East) and the visiting #20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (20-9, 12-4 Big East) have secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament and can’t win the Big East title this year, the battle at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. set for 7:00 PM ET is nonetheless a perfect opportunity on a slow day of sports to watch two of the best basketball programs in the country face off in one of the last remaining Top 25 match-ups left in the College Basketball regular season. With a potential double-bye still available to one of the two teams ahead of the Big East tournament starting up in just over a weeks’ time, you can be sure that a scrappy battle is set to ensue, making for an even better reason to head on down to one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed here, for a look over the best betting lines on tonight’s featured clash.
While Notre Dame has struggled to find their form on the road this season, sitting on a record of 5-4 away from the Joyce Center in South Bend, tonight’s match-up should give the Fighting Irish something to prove, especially as they come off a tough road loss to St. John’s, their first defeat to another Big East team in the last 9 conference match-ups. The biggest challenge Notre Dame will face tonight, is how to recover from a tough shooting night (%37.3 vs. St. John’s on Saturday), against a Georgetown team that is the most defensively stingy in the Big East, allowing just 58.7 points/game. Though neither team is particularly impressive on the scoring lines, with both teams averaging under 70 points per contest (ND 68 ppg, GU 69.6 ppg), both sides have been good at limiting opposing shooters and holding the points total down especially at home, where the two teams play their best basketball. Georgetown is certainly tough on their home court where the two teams meet tonight, generating a 14-1 record there, so the Irish must immediately see a better shooting performance from their top scorers. While Jack Cooley (12.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg) continues to be a leader for Notre Dame on the court, and has accumulated an impressive %62.8 shooting average from the floor this year in place of Tim Abromaitis (out for the season with a knee injury after just two games), the rest of the Irish have struggled to have consistency shooting the basketball, with no one amongst the top 7 scorers (aside from Cooley) shooting better than %41.6 from the floor). With a team average of just %43.7, Notre Dame has to at least get to that mark tonight, if not better, in order to overcome the Hoyas on home court.
Georgetown on the other hand is looking to upend the Irish tonight, a team that has bested them three straight times dating back to 2008. As Georgetown’s program was arguably not at the same level it is now while losing against the Irish in those 3 games (with the 2 previous games resulting in 14 point losses to Notre Dame), tonight is a perfect opportunity for a second-straight victory and their 6th in a row at home. What’s promising for Georgetown fans tonight is the fact that the Hoyas have held 4 of their last 6 visitors to just 50 points or less, and in their last meeting they held the Villanova Wildcats to just %28.0 shooting from the floor. Adding to that, they’ve shot better than their opponents by at least 9 percent in their last 4 home games, something that would go a long way towards a victory should that trend be continued tonight. Even more reason for the Hoyas to play their best ball on defense tonight is the fact that Notre Dame has, in 3 of its last 4 losses, been held to under %37.3 shooting, and in all 4 losses, the Irish haven’t shot better than 35 percent from the 3-pt line. Notre Dame likes to run with a small offense that does it’s damage shooting from outside the paint more so than relying on inside play and put backs, so getting good containment around the outside against Irish ball movers Eric Atkins (12.7 ppg, 4.0 apg), Jerian Grant (12.7 ppg, 4.4 apg) is job #1 for the Georgetown defense. While keeping ND’s bigger players including Scott Martin (9.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Pat Connaughton (7.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg) will also be key, the perimeter game should be the area of focus for the Hoyas, as they are bigger and more athletic than the Irish coming into tonight’s match-up.
Georgetown will also look to its bigger players on offense to make a difference at home tonight, and that puts the scoring onus on the shoulders of center Henry Sims (11.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Hollis Thompson (13.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and freshman Otto Porter (8.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg). While Jason Clark (14.5 ppg) leads the team around the perimeter, it’s been the combined efforts of Georgetown’s top shooters that has them prevailing in close games, getting good shooting across their top 6 highest scorers (averaging %45.5 or better from the floor). Again, this is a big difference between these two relatively low-scoring offenses; While Notre Dame has struggled to find shooting form against good teams and/or on the road as they lean on their outside game more often in the face of good defense, Georgetown has been able to hold their shooters at a higher standard by pressing the ball in low, and allowing their bigger guys to work towards the hoop. While the Hoyas don’t pass the ball incredibly well averaging just 13.8 assists, they do a good job getting the ball to the appropriate spot on the floor and letting the player with the rock make his move towards the basket. Georgetown, which will face a pretty stiff defensive challenge from the Irish tonight, will have to get good individual scoring efforts, which could be easier to come by in the face of a smaller Notre Dame squad in opposition.
Betting Lines for #11 Georgetown vs. #20 Notre Dame at Bookmaker Sportsbook
Bookmaker Sportsbook is our featured online sports betting website of the day, so naturally we’ll peruse their betting lines for tonight’s featured NCAA Basketball match-up to come.
Straight up wagers on the money line will find the Georgetown Hoyas securing the favorite for tonight’s Big East match-up, getting -260 odds to win. Notre Dame as underdog sits at +220 odds.
Against the spread, the Hoyas must win by 6 points (-110 odds), while Notre Dame will have a +6 cushion to work with as an underdog.
The over/under tonight sits at a low 122 1/2 points, banking on a slow-paced game between two good defensive sides.
Our Pick to Win:
While both teams are looking to improve off recent losses, the Hoyas find themselves in a good position at home to pick up a win, banking on the Fighting Irish’s less-than-stellar road form, and their ability to hold teams to lower shooting percentages on their home court. I like Notre Dame to make this a closer game than the spread suggests, as the Irish have shown that they will not give up in any game and have a good cast of dedicated players this season, but facing a bigger, better defense tonight on the road, the odds are stacked against them to pull out an upset road victory. Nonetheless, this match-up looks primed to come down to the wire, with the last few minutes deciding the games’ outcome. However, in the end I like the bigger inside presence of the Hoyas to help win the shooting percentage and rebounding battles, and consequently win the ball game. Georgetown 64, Notre Dame 60.