There are a ton of big college games tonight encompassing most every conference. Georgetown heads to Seton Hall as a pair of slumping teams try to wrestle down a tourney spot. Kentucky faces one of the biggest remaining challenges with a trip to LSU and their big frontcourt. Notre Dame tries to bounce back after the Duke decimation with a tricky trip to bubble-dreaming Clemson. And a pair of AAC teams try to earn their way into March when Cincinnati, fresh off a nice road upset of SMU, visits Temple who still has the nice Kansas win in their hip pocket come Selection Sunday.
It’s a tricky day as we need to weight the better team vs. the odd power of home court advantage in college basketball. Xavier, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Kentucky, Michigan State, St. Louis and Wisconsin; all better than their opponents, but all requiring you to swallow some points on the road.
So where do he head today to snap a rough week of dropped picks? Let’s dive in with today’s free pick.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish -3 at Clemson Tigers
Clemson got me last week. I bought into a decent run against middle-of-the-pack ACC teams only top watch them get smacked by Miami. Even at home tonight, they have their work cut out for them against an angry, veteran Notre Dame team.
The Irish got humiliated in a big game this weekend at Duke. But let’s face it – not only is that a tough matchup and a tough place to play, but Duke shot the ball as well as any team has this entire season and things snowballed early as the Dukies threw every shot in the basket. Clemson does not have anywhere close to that type of firepower, and the Irish are still one of the most efficient teams in the country. They rank second in the nation with a 51.5% shooting percentage, even after the Duke debacle.
Clemson is an underrated defensive team. They allow a league-low 39.3% FG% in ACC play, but the problem is they aren’t very efficient on the other end of the floor. They will make Notre Dame work for shots, but the Irish’s ability to spread the floor with four shooters and several playmakers, including the elite Jerian Grant, should be enough to get them over the hump.
Clemson made things interesting this season, but after tonight they should recede to 14-10 and 6-6 in ACC play and once again be an NIT team.
I’ll swallow the slim three and take the Irish in a big bounce-back effort. I got burnt by them this weekend, but like the emotional bounce-back and them being the better team tonight in Clemson.