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North Dakota State vs. Notre Dame Pick NCAA Hoops – Dec 11th

The Florida Gators dominated Kansas from the opening tip off last night, racing out to an early 16-point lead and leading by double digits for most of the remainder of the game.  That didn’t stop Kansas from making me sweat out my easy cover though, as a late flurry of points got the game to it’s eventual six-point margin.  The Gators win was never in doubt, but if that garbage three pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining had gone in, it would have been my second ridiculously tough-luck push of the season.

The end result is a nice win, snapping a brief two game slide and pulling the season total back up over 61% ATS.  Let’s keep building on a nice start to the season with a nice hidden gem pick tonight.  There aren’t a lot of good TV games to choose from, but there are a couple of decent potential plays.

Let’s dig into today’s free pick:

North Dakota State Bison at Notre Dame Fighting Irish -7.5

Notre Dame has been pretty unimpressive since their exciting hard-fought 98-93 loss to Iowa.  They’ve won every game, but their wins over Bryant and Delaware didn’t inspire a ton of confidence.  I still think that Notre Dame will be a tournament team with potential to win a game or two.  It really will come down to the assertiveness of Jerian Grant.  If he steps forward an becomes an All-ACC caliber performer, the Irish can be good.  If he remains relatively passive, they will be a nice team with good fundamental players that lacks athleticism and an ability to create their own shots.

North Dakota State is off to a relatively good start at 6-3, but they haven’t beaten anyone even close to the caliber of Notre Dame.  They have a decent inside offensive attack led by Taylor Braun, but he will face a big interior tonight.  Even if Notre Dame sticks with their smaller lineup with Pat Connaugton at the four, they still have seven footer Garrick Sherman to deter easy straight-line drive and offensive rebounds.

North Dakota State has been effective offensively, but has struggled at the defensive end of the court.  I expect Notre Dame to be able to get the shots they want tonight – and for a good shooting team like Notre Dame, that is the key to victory.  If they get GOOD shots, they are going to win most nights.  As they get into ACC play, it is going to be more and more difficult to get those quality open shots, but for tonight, I imagine Irish eyes will be smiling.

Free Pick:  Notre Dame Fighting Irish -7.5