NOTRE DAME AT
A wise man once told me that once you reach the top,
it is impossible to forget the view. The Pittsburgh Panthers are
currently ranked at #3, and havenít fallen very far. They only have
two blemishes on their record, with both losses coming on the road.
Those losses came to Louisville and Villanova. If they want to keep
their hopes of winning the Big East alive, they must put away a wily
Notre Dame Fighting Irish team that will enter the game after losing
a tough one to #7 Marquette 71-64.
The Pittsburgh Panthers were widely hailed as the team to beat
before suffering a loss at the hands of an underrated Louisville
Cardinalís team. Despite that loss they are still very tough and
could still end up a #1 seed come tournament time. Their best wins
include road wins over West Virginia, Florida State, and Georgetown.
They will enter Saturdayís come after losing to #21 Villanova 67-57.
Notre Dame has dropped four consecutives games after starting the
season off red hot. The losses came against Lousville, Connecticut,
Marquette, and Syracuse. I canít really detract much from them
because all of those teams are ranked #15 or higher, and the
Fighting Irish played them close. Marquee wins this season have come
against Georgetown and Texas.
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The hopes of the Fighting Irish may lay with Luke Harangody. The
junior forward is averaging 25.0 PPG, and is dishing out 2 APG. He
can clean the glass too, taking down 13.3 RPG. His 3PT% is very
solid at 37.5%. Harangody has had at least one block in each of his
last five games. He is better than 90% from the charity strike. When
playing tough teams, he has been bringing his game, 29 against
Marquette, and 31 versus Georgetown.
Harangody is only one man, and he will need help from his teammates.
Likely candidates to put up points are Kyle McAlarney and Tory
Jackson. Both are guards, and McAlarney is hitting threeís at an
astonishing rate (46.4%), for an average of 16.2 PPG. Jackson can
deal the ball to his colleagues, averaging 5.8 APG.
Pittsburgh didnít make the top 5 without having a few ballers of
their own. You could choose several players as their best, but Iíll
go with sophomore forward DeJuan Blair. His PPG is checking in at
14.7, and he is grabbing 12.7 RPG. He has been a bit cold lately,
but should step his game up after his team has suffered only their
second loss of the year. His best game was a 20 point, 17 rebound
performance against the Hoyas of Georgetown.
Sam Young is a senior forward and a good leader on the court. His
PPG is massive at 18.8, and he is getting 5.5 boards per game. While
Blair has been a bit off lately, Young has been right on track. In
his last five games he put up at least 14 points. Three pointers
havenít been going down in the past few games, and he will need to
For the Fighting Irish to come out with a win, they will need
production from their guards, and another big game from Harangody. I
expect them to step on the court with blood in their eyes after
suffering four losses in a row. I donít know if they will win
straight up, but I HAVE to like them at +15 or so, which I believe
the line will be. Itís hard to advertise Pittsburgh if the line is
indeed that high. They are more likely to cover if the line is
closer to 9, and I doubt it will be. Put your money on the Notre
Dame Fighting Irish, or sit this one out.
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