Notre Dame vs. Wichita State - NCAA Tournament - 3/26/15 Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Wichita State Shockers (30-4) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (31-5)
College Basketball: Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 7:15 pm (Quicken Loans Arena)
The Line: Notre Dame Fighting Irish +1 -- Over/Under: 136 See the Latest Odds
TV: CBS HD
The Wichita State Shockers and Norte Dame Fighting Irish will battle at Quicken Loans Arena this Thursday in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
The (7) Wichita State Shockers used a strong shooting night to upset the (2) Kansas Jayhawks 78-65 this past Sunday afternoon. Wichita State shot 49.0% from the field and 50.0% (10-20) from beyond the arc while holding Kansas to just 35.1% shooting from the field in the victory. Leading the way for the Shockers was Fred VanVleet who had 17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. Wichita State finished the season ranked 17th in the RPI Standings, 11th in the BPI Standings, and played the 120th ranked SOS. On the season, the Shockers have been led by Ron Baker (14.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.3 spg) and Fred VanVleet (13.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.9 spg). Wichita State is averaging 70.1 ppg (ranked 98th on 44.5% shooting (ranked 106th). The Shockers average just 9.3 turnovers per game (ranked 3rd) and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.47 (ranked 8th). Defensively, Wichita State is holding their opponents to an average of 56.4 ppg (ranked 8th) on 39.8% shooting (ranked 46th). The Shockers have a 5.2 rebound margin (ranked 32nd) and a turnover margin of 4.0 (ranked 7th).
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The (3) Notre Dame Fighting Irish needed overtime to hold off a pesky (6) Butler Bulldog team, 67-64, this past Saturday night. Notre Dame was only able to shoot 43.1% from the field which is well below their average FG%, but used a strong defensive effort and held Butler to just 33.3% shooting from the field and 30.8% (4-13) shooting from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Fighting Irish was Steve Vasturia who had 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals. The Fighting Irish finished the regular season ranked 16th in the RPI Standings, 10th in the BPI Standings, and played the 94th ranked SOS. On the season, Notre Dame was led by Jerian Grant (16.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 6.6 apg) and Pat Connaughton (12.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.4 apg). Notre Dame is averaging 78.2 ppg (ranked 13th) on 50.9% shooting (ranked 2nd). The Fighting Irish average 8.0 three-pointers per game (ranked 34th) and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.6 (ranked 4th). Defensively, Notre Dame is holding their opponents to an average of 65.6 ppg (ranked 145th) on 42.6% shooting (ranked 156th). The Fighting Irish average 6.9 spg (ranked 92nd) and have a turnover margin of 1.9 (ranked 50th).
The Shockers are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 NCAA Tournament games and 35-13-4 ATS in their last 52 games following an ATS win. The Fighting Irish are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall and just 1-10 ATS in their last 11 NCAA Tournament games.
Wichita State finally got the opportunity to play Kansas and took advantage of it as they used a big second half to send the Jayhawks back to Kansas. Notre Dame got a surprising offensive performance from one of their defensive specialist, Steve Vasturia, to help the Fighting Irish overcome an otherwise underwhelming offensive night against Butler. This should be one of the better games on Thursday and I believe it will come down to whether or not the Fighting Irish will be able to find their outside shooting touch against a usually stingy Wichita State defense. Although Fred VanVleet is playing as well as anyone in the tournament as of right now, I don’t see both Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton having the same offensive struggles as they did versus Butler, and that when it comes to crunch time, the Fighting Irish will find a way to pull a victory. Take Notre Dame and the point in this one.