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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, March 18, 2016 at 7:00 AM

The spotlight will definitely be on big-name sports programs Michigan and Notre Dame when they square off Friday night in Brooklyn, NY in the final session of first round action in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

Michigan barely got into the Dance this year…then barely survived Wednesday’s play-in game against unimpressive Tulsa. They’ll obviously have to lift their game here to compete with #6 seed Notre Dame. But, it’s been kind of a letdown season for the Irish since their very deep run in the brackets a year ago. And, they were ushered out of the ACC tournament a week ago tonight in blowout fashion by North Carolina. Michigan may not have to lift its game much.

Is this going to be “the game of the night” Friday across the TV landscape? It certainly has marquee value in the Big Apple! Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about Michigan vs. Notre Dame…


Adjusted Offensive Efficiency

Michigan: 112.5 per 100 possessions (#35 in the nation)

Notre Dame: 118.0 per 100 possessions (#10 in the nation)

You’re going to see in this preview that these teams are extremely similar in approach and execution. That’s not necessarily a good thing this season! It has been a good thing, though, in terms of offensive efficiency. Both teams like to work the ball around for good shots. Both teams can get hot from three-point land. Ken Pomeroy’s publicly available numbers still have the Irish in the top 10. Michigan’s a respectable top 40. Now, to the other side of the coin…


Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

Michigan: 100.5 per 100 possessions (#108 in the nation)

Notre Dame: 103.6 per 100 possessions (#172 in the nation)

Are you kidding?! What pathetic defenses! By Dance standards anyway. No wonder North Carolina beat the Irish like a drum last week. Neither is in the top 100 when you adjust for pace and strength of schedule. And, you longtime readers know that defense wins championships in this sport! All sports really. Ask the Denver Broncos about that. Generally speaking, both defenses will make you work for a good shot, but will then allow that good shot if you get in close because they don’t want to get in foul trouble. Both can be very slow on rotations too.


Pace Ranking

Michigan: #292

Notre Dame: #317

Again, very similar. They might as well be the same teams. Both are very slow, with smart offenses that are very efficient, but soft defenses that will let you score inside easily if you can get the ball there. The media tends to rave about the three-point shooting, while brushing over the lousy defense. Whichever offense smartly attacks the basket rather than settling for threes will probably win the game. Neither team is currently poised to go deep with these stat profiles unless they shoot lights out or catch some breaks from upsets elsewhere in the brackets.


Against the Spread

Michigan: 17-16

Notre Dame: 14-15-1

Neither was surprising for the market this season. It’s tough for big-name programs to post great ATS records because the public likes betting them. Neither of these two could overcome that tax. Michigan did cover against Tulsa Wednesday, though it was very dicey up until the end. The Wolverines didn’t impress so much as survive against what was more realistically an NIT caliber team (and not even a #1 seed in the NIT had they been invited).

Where will the edge be in the marketplace Friday night? Did Michigan’s tune-up vs. Tulsa set them up to be sharp out of the gate? Or, will tired legs keep them from playing well the full 40 minutes. History has shown that many play-in winners have garnered great results against unprepared foes. Can Michigan be that team this time around?

No more hints here! You have to be a paying customer to get the final word for Friday. JIM HURLEY’S tournament basketball is available daily right here at the website for credit card purchase. If you have any questions about extended service, please call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 to take care of business. There’s always another game about to begin this week…so get moving!

Big game previews continue through the weekend here in the NOTEBOOK…

Saturday: best late start…once the networks have announced the schedules

Sunday: best late start…if the favorites win Friday, possible choices are Maryland/California, Villanova/Iowa, Texas A&M/Texas, and Michigan State/Syracuse.

We’ll have an opening weekend Dance recap for you Monday…and then big game previews will pick up again next week for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Be sure you’re with us for every update. Get great information here in the NOTEBOOK…then GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!


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