Notre Dame Fighting Irish (34-3) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (37-1)
|Date & Time||Sunday April 1, 2018, 5:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Mississippi State Bulldogs PK -- Over/Under: 158.5
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Mississippi State Bulldogs meet Sunday in the women’s college basketball NCAA Tournament Championship at the Nationwide Arena.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish can win their second ever championship and first since 2001 with a victory here. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are averaging 85.6 points on 50.4 percent shooting and allowing 67.4 points on 39.7 percent shooting. Arike Ogunbowale is averaging 20.7 points and 5.5 rebounds while Jessica Shepard is averaging 15.6 points and 8.1 rebounds. Marina Mabrey is the third double-digit scorer and Jackie Young is grabbing 6.6 rebounds. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are shooting 37.3 percent from beyond the arc and 75.1 percent from the free throw line. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are allowing 34.6 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 42.1 rebounds per game. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have won 10 of their last 11 neutral site games.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs will win their first ever championship in school history by getting the job done here. The Mississippi State Bulldogs are averaging 82 points on 47.2 percent shooting and allowing 56.1 points on 39 percent shooting. Victoria Vivians is averaging 19.6 points and 6.1 rebounds while Teaira McCowan is averaging 18.1 points and 13.6 rebounds. Roshunda Johnson is the third double-digit scorer and Blair Schaefer is grabbing 1.8 rebounds. The Mississippi State Bulldogs are shooting 39.5 percent from beyond the arc and 74.9 percent from the free throw line. The Mississippi State Bulldogs are allowing 29.5 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 37.8 rebounds per game. The Mississippi State Bulldogs have won 11 of their last 12 neutral site games.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are an extremely well coached team that plays hard at both ends and is always going to be in a position to succeed. The Irish aren't going to beat themselves and it's nice to bet on a team like that, as you know what you're getting. However, we kind of saw this last season. A team beats UConn in the Final Four, celebrates like it won the national title and comes out flat in the big game. Yes, it was this very Mississippi State team, losing the title to South Carolina. It's not easy to rebound one day later after slaying the giant. The emotions, the extra press, everybody telling you how great you are. This time around, it's not the Mississippi State Bulldogs that have to deal with that outside noise. That's key in this game.
Not to mention Mississippi State has been the more consistent team all season, losing just once and even beating a really good Lousiville squad by double digits despite the game going into overtime. The Bulldogs will be ready this time and send a class of four seniors off with a national title, the first in school history.