Notre Dame-West Virginia: Will Irish Bubble Burst Tonight?

ctsports picksAnalyst IFebruary 18, 2009

These two Big East teams are headed in different directions. Notre Dame is hanging on by a thread to their bubble hopes for the season with two recent wins, one against a very good Louisville team. Still, Notre Dame has an uphill battle to impress the selection committee. Notre Dame had a seven-game losing streak before upsetting Louisville two games ago.

West Virginia has been very good against non-ranked teams in the Big East, going 5-0. WVU looks like a team that has removed themselves from the bubble with a blowout win over No. 14 Villanova.

Oddsmakers have made WVU an -8.5 point home favorite.

Notre Dame has been the biggest disappointment in the Big East thus far this year. Last year's Big East Player of the Year Luke Harangody has put up another great offensive season, but his teammates have just not played very well since the Big East season started. Defense has never been the strong suit of this Notre Dame team, but this year they don't even look like they care if they stop people.

Big East teams have also figured out how to stop Notre Dame: Let Harangody go one on one and shut everyone else down. Since Ohio State beat them using this strategy, every other coach has copied it, and Notre Dame has no answer.

Notre Dame is also downright horrible against the spread. Check out these recent trends.

Fighting Irish are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games as an underdog.

Fighting Irish are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games overall.

Fighting Irish are 0-6 ATS in their last six road games.

West Virginia and coach Bob Huggins are heading to another NCAA tournament but are now trying to improve their seeding. A great win against a very tough Villanova team by 21 this past Friday really will help their seed. Da'Sean Butler went for 43 points in the victory and was unstoppable. Villanova is actually a good defensive team, and with this poor defensive team of Notre Dame, there's no telling how many points Butler might end up with.

Defense and rebounding are the calling cards of this WVU team, and much of their offense comes off of these areas. West Virginia has been decent against the spread. Let's check out recent trends.

Mountaineers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a favorite of 7.0-12.5.

Mountaineers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following a SU win of more than 20 points.

Usually a road team that is desperate for a win like Notre Dame would be a safe bet getting 8.5 points. But the lack of toughness that Notre Dame shows and the horrible road record both straight up and against the spread make it very hard to believe they will win tonight.

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