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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 7:00 PM

Generally speaking, the NCAA Tournament is where everyone finds out that the ACC was overrated by the mainstream media. It doesn’t always work out that way. In some years, their best go deep, or there’s a spoiler from off the radar that earns a few scalps. This season, amongst concerns of Virginia’s lack if dynamism and Duke’s lack of defense, the aura of the ACC may be at the mercy of what teams like Notre Dame and Louisville do in the brackets.

Those teams play each other Wednesday night in a game that will be nationally televised on ESPN2.

*Notre Dame hasn’t played since suffering a home loss to Syracuse a week ago…that’s the Syracuse team that’s mostly looked inept vs. quality in games surrounding that upset. You’ll see in a moment that ND will have one of the worst defenses in the Big Dance.

*Louisville did snap out of a funk with a blowout of Florida State. But, the funk was fairly long…and the team is still dealing with a lack of depth and crunch time chemistry. It wouldn’t be a shock if they were taken out in the first round of the Dance in a couple of weeks.

Both of these teams have the talent to hang tough with and beat the best in the nation. Yet, they flunk the eye test often enough that you have to wonder if the whole ACC is set for another Dance debacle.

Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about what could prove to be a fascinating showdown with many postseason implications…


Adjusted Offensive Efficiency

Notre Dame: 120.1 per 100 possessions (#4 in the nation)

Louisville: 106.2 per 100 possessions (#84 in the nation)

Notre Dame is a threat because they are very efficient on offense. They get good looks, which includes treys. You saw in the loss to Syracuse that they become fairly useless when the treys aren’t falling! That will probably derail them from going deep. It could allow them to spring a shocker over a team that matters. The Louisville offense has very little going for it by Dance standards. The media tends to hype their guts because there aren’t any real skill sets there. Big edge on this side of the floor to the visiting Irish.


Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

Notre Dame: 101.1 per 100 possessions (#148 in the nation)

Louisville: 88.73 per 100 possessions (#6 in the nation)

Look at that horrible Notre Dame defense! It’s a huge indictment of the ACC this year that the Irish can be sitting in third place in the late season standings with that pathetic a stop unit. Louisville wins with defense, and defense never slumps. That gives them a chance to win some wrestling matchups in the postseason. This could be tougher in the ACC tourney because they don’t have the ideal roster for playing back-to-backs. You can see that we basically have two “half-teams” here. Will be fun to watch the great ND offense try to score on the great Louisville defense. Will be interesting to see what the struggling Louisville offense can do against the horrible Notre Dame defense.


Pace Ranking

Notre Dame: #209

Louisville: #124

Notre Dame is slightly slower than average, but not nearly as slow as the used to be. Maybe that’s because their defense lets opponents score so quickly! Louisville tries to push tempo because the offense has little idea how to work for a good shot.


Against the Spread

Notre Dame: 10-11

Louisville: 10-16

Notre Dame shoots well often enough to get near 50/50 against market expectations. Louisville has been one of the most overrated major conference teams this season. They were supposed to be on the short list of championship contenders. Only when peaking can they hang with the best for 40 minutes.

JIM HURLEY may or may not have a big play in ND/Louisville. The Wednesday schedule is always packed. NETWORK is also looking at Purdue/Michigan State, Cincinnati/Tulsa, Miami/Pittsburgh, and some games from out West. You can purchase the final word for Wednesday right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Be sure to ask about full season packages that take you through March Madness or the NBA Playoffs when you call.

Just four more days in the regular season after tonight. Here are the marquee matchup previews coming up here in the NOTEBOOK through Sunday…

Thursday: College Basketball…Wisconsin at Minnesota in the Big 10

Friday: Early Look…Kansas at Oklahoma in the Big 12

Saturday: College Basketball…Duke at North Carolina in the ACC.

Sunday: College Basketball…Wisconsin at Ohio State in the Big 10

Can you believe Oklahoma blew that big lead Monday Night at Iowa State? Brent Musburger about had a hard attack when the hosts covered late. The Sooners are one of many Dance certainties we’ll be looking at this week and next. Note that conference tournament previews begin Monday with the ACC (an event that begins Tuesday afternoon in Greensboro.

It’s MARCH and it’s time for the MADNESS. Hook up now with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for the BEST BETS on the basketball board!


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