Notre Dame Fighting Irish (19-13) at Virginia Tech Hokies (21-10)
We picked up another nice win last night when we backed the Orange of Syracuse against Wake Forrest.
The Orange jumped out quickly and ran up a 20-4 lead, and there was really no looking back from there. The Demon Deacons did a good job of battling back, but in the end, they just didn’t have enough gas left in the tank and ended up losing 73-64.
We bet this line at Syracuse -5 and it dropped all the way to Syracuse -3 by tipoff. It seems that everyone but me liked Wake Forrest last night. And I guess I can see why as this Syracuse team has been inconsistent all year and it is hard to know what they are going to do.
But as I said yesterday if you give me Jim Boeheim in a must-win game, I just know he is going to find a way to get the job done. The guy doesn’t have nearly a thousand wins at Syracuse by losing the big ones, and this was a big one for his squad.
I think Syracuse is in the tournament at this point after picking up this win. If they manage to somehow beat North Carolina today, they will for sure be in the tournament.
The entire bubble, including Syracuse, breathed a sigh of relief last night when Gonzaga denied a bid thievery by an up-start BYU team that had been playing well, in the WCC finals.
This is life on the bubble, you live and die by every game and box score until Selection Sunday. Today I will look at two more teams that need a win to secure their spot in the madness as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish play the Virginia Tech Hokies.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will matchup with the Virginia Tech Hokies in the second round of the ACC tournament, with both teams needing a win. For Notre Dame, the Irish have reason to be optimistic as their star player, Bonzie Colson, is back on the floor after missing a big chunk of the season with an injury.
The Hokies are likely in the field of 68 at this point but would love to move up a slot or two with a deep run in the ACC tournament. The Fighting Irish are -2.5-point favorites. The game total over-under is set at 141.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Bonzie Colson has returned just in time to give his team a chance to dance in March. This team was a top-five ranked team before Colson went down and are hoping that now that he is back they can rekindle that fire for a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Colson is a 20 and 10 power forward that was a leading candidate for ACC player of the year before getting hurt.
The early returns for Colson have been promising. He scored 24 points in his first game back and 19 points in his last game and has averaged his usual 10 boards a game.
But the team hasn’t seemed to respond all that well as they lost to Virginia and barely snuck past the zero ACC win Pitt Panthers. The Irish will need a vintage performance from Colson and an all-around great team effort if they are going to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive tonight against a good Virginia Tech team.
Virginia Tech is a bit of a mystery this year. They might have the best group of wins of any team in the country outside of maybe Virginia, yet they have struggled to remain ranked.
The Hokies hold wins over North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, Clemson, and N.C. State this year. That slate of victories would make you think that they would be fighting for a one seed this year, but instead they barely in the top half of the field, currently projected as an eight seed by ESPN.
Losses to much lesser teams like Miami, Louisville, Florida State, Syracuse, and St Louis have been tough to explain. We know this team has the talent to beat any team in the country, they have proved that time and again. They just can’t stay consistent enough to string together wins.
We saw that last week when they picked up a huge win over Duke, and then turned around and lost to Miami the very next game. The Hokies need a full effort tonight to hold off a Notre Dame team playing for its tournament life.
Look, I like Notre Dame this year. I feel bad that they lost their best player for most of the season and it resulted in them falling apart. But injuries happen in college basketball, and they could have handled it better. When this line came out, I literally couldn’t believe it. One player does not make a whole team, and this Virginia Tech team is a much better team than Notre Dame.
It is like the Bonzie Colson hype went from maybe he will help out a little if he can get back on the court to all the sudden this guy is Lebron James and will carry this team to greatness. Well, in his two games back he has played well, but the team hasn’t. They are 1-1 and barely beat one of the worst teams in the country in Pittsburg. So, I for one, am not buying into all that hype.
Colson is a great player. I love that he made it back in time to give his team a fighting chance to make the tournament, pun intended. But that run ends tonight in Brooklyn.
I would, however, keep an eye on the Irish in the NIT as they are playing much better at the moment and are going to be a tough out.
But for tonight’s game? I am taking the much, much, more talented team, with the better record. Oh, and yeah, I am also getting points.
Give me the Virginia Tech Hokies +2.5 points tonight.