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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 2:05 PM

So many marquee matchups will be flying at us fast and furious the next few days...we’re going to put together some bonus previews using the stat indicators from JIM HURLEY’S SPORTS BETTING NOTEBOOK that have worked so well this season. Thursday’s bonus report is for the late starter at Madison Square Garden featuring Notre Dame and Marquette.

WON-LOST RECORDS

Notre Dame: 24-8 (11-7 in the Big East)

Marquette: 23-7 (14-4 in the Big East)

Marquette won a co-championship in the Big East with that 14-4 mark. Notre Dame was a decent team who scored some important victories…but wasn’t quite in the same class.

COMPUTER RANKINGS

Notre Dame: #25 with Sagarin, #33 with Pomeroy

Marquette: #17 with Sagarin, #26 with Pomeroy

Jeff Sagarin of USA Today and college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy have these teams closer than you might have expected given the Big East standings. Interesting that Pomeroy as them about 8-9 points lower on the national scale too. Has the media been hyping the league too much? Or, is Pomeroy missing something?

COMPUTER STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANKINGS

Notre Dame: #56 with Sagarin, #65 with Pomeroy

Marquette: #16 with Sagarin, #13 with Pomeroy

Marquette grades out with the much tougher schedule…which could serve them well in a playoff style game this evening. They will also have fresher legs because the Irish had to beat Rutgers last night while Marquette got a bye into the quarterfinals.

WON-LOST RECORDS VS. SAGARIN’S TOP 50

Notre Dame: 6-5

Marquette: 7-5

Slight edge to Marquette here…but not necessarily one that would suggest neutral court dominance. If the Irish were to win this evening, they’d actually move ahead with the better big game record.

JOE LUNARDI’S BRACKETOLOGY

Notre Dame: projected #7 seed

Marquette: projected #4 seed

This is more in line with the standings and Sagarin’s computer assessments. Pomeroy would have both teams seeded a couple of spots lower. To this point, everything we’ve seen shows Marquette as better by a smidge…in line with the Vegas expectations as a favorite of a bucket. Let’s go to the chess match to see if there’s a matchup advantage hiding in the bushes.

POMEROY’S ADJUSTED OFFENSE RANKINGS

Notre Dame: #13

Marquette: #16

The margin for error is such when you’re evaluating well over 300 teams that this level of difference is meaningless. Adjusting for pace and strength of schedule leaves these two teams in a dead heat offensively.

POMEROY’S ADJUSTED DEFENSE RANKINGS

Notre Dame: #96

Marquette: #49

Marquette has the much better defense, which is disguised by pace. You’ll still hear announcers talking about Notre Dame’s strong defense…when they’re actually very soft inside. If you hold the ball forever on offense, that can create the illusion of strong defense on the scoreboard. Marquette plays a very fast pace, but actually guards the basket with much more authority. Stick these teams at the same pace, and Marquette will impress you has having the better defense in terms of getting stops and making plays.

POMEROY’S ADJUSTED TEMPO RANKINGS

Notre Dame: #320

Marquette: #23

See…extremes in play here…as Marquette is one of the 25 fast teams in the country, while Notre Dame is one of the 25 slowest. That suggests whoever forces their preferred tempo on tonight’s festivities will be able to get the job done. Will that be Marquette with their fresh legs after a layoff? Or, will that be Notre Dame in a playoff scenario where pressure often slows a game down anyway?

JIM HURLEY has been studying his computer simulations and working with his New York area sources to find the best way to attack this game. You can purchase the final word for Thursday basketball right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-445.

Back with you overnight and early Friday with more NOTEBOOK previews. You can bet the Big East will be kept in focus given the caliber of teams still alive. Barring upsets, marquee matchups from the Big 10, ACC, and Big 12 will also be on the way.

It’s MARCH MADNESS, so let’s go GET THE MONEY!

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