#20 Virginia Tech (11-3, 5-2) will look to bounce back from an ugly loss at Syracuse 78-60. The Hokies will be without the services of Tyrece Radford, who has been suspended indefinitely from the team for not upholding the standards of the program.
Notre Dame (5-8, 2-5) will look to make it three straight ACC wins, after starting the conference season 0-5. The Fighting Irish have no losses outside of the Kenpom top 50, making them realistic bubble contenders if they can start stringing together some wins.
Virginia Tech Betting Preview
The significance of losing Radford can not be overstated. Radford is the team’s second leading scorer and rebounder, led the team in minutes, and was by far their most efficient player on offense.
With Radford out, more will be asked of Keve Aluma who leads the team in scoring (13.9), rebounding (7.1) and blocks (1.3). Aluma is shooting 52.3% from inside the arc, but expect teams to start doubling more often and making other players beat them.
The leading candidate to replace some of Radford’s minutes, and his spot in the starting lineup, is sophomore Hunter Cattoor. Cattoor is averaging less than 20 minutes per game, but has shot it really well when called on. Cattoor is shooting 45.7% from three-point range and 59.1% from inside the arc.
The Hokies are ranked 45th overall by Kenpom. The offense ranks 45th in offense and 52nd in defensive efficiency.
Notre Dame Betting Preview
Mike Brey did not schedule any easy games in the non-conference schedule. While it hasn’t been kind to the Fighting Irish record, it has started to pay dividends in league play. Notre Dame has the ninth toughest overall schedule.
A big weakness for this team is depth. Notre Dame really only plays seven players and is top 20 in starter minutes per game. The Fighting Irish have no choice but to play at a slow tempo, or risk falling apart in the second half of games.
Nate Laszewski leads the Irish in scoring (16.6) and rebounding (7.8). Laszewski is shooting 55.1% from three-point range and 64.6% overall, which ranks him third in the nation in effective field goal percentage.
Prentiss Hubb is second on the team in scoring (14.1) and leads the team in assists (5.3) and steals (1.0). Hubb does a lot of his damage on volume alone as he has not shot the ball well.
Kenpom has Notre Dame as the 78th ranked team in the country. The offense ranks 25th in efficiency while the defense is 176th.
Mybookie has the game as pick’em, meaning you get both teams on the moneyline at -110. The total is set at 139.5 points.
Free Betting Pick
With Radford I would have leaned Virginia Tech in this one. Without one of the leaders on offense I think the advantage goes towards Notre Dame.
Laszewski has had one of the best seasons in college basketball and does not get enough love in my opinion. I like him to get a double-double against an undersized Virginia Tech squad.
I’m taking Notre Dame in this one and playing a couple units. The Fighting Irish move their winning streak to three games.
Virginia Tech 69, Notre Dame 74
Spooky Express Free Betting Pick: Notre Dame -110