#18 Fighting Irish (20-8) vs Red Storm (12-16)
They are not a mid-major but Notre Dame may be the most surprising team in the top 25 right now.
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Saturday February 25
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Moneyline: no money line currently listed
Spread: Notre Dame -6.5
They have just 3 Big East losses and dealt Syracuse their only defeat of the season to start their current 9 game winning streak.
This team may not get a lot of 5 star recruits but it seems like they have been near the top of the conference ever since coach Mike Brey took over. They have three games left in conference play and could win them all (@ Georgetown will be tough).
So just who are these Fighting Irish? Well in guards Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins they have one of the least heralded but productive backcourt’s in the country. Both score 13 points a game, log heavy minutes and distribute the basketball. Neither is probably a true one or two. Up front, they have power forward Jack Cooley.
His haircut is from the Harangody School for Men and his game is rough and tumble too. He had a streak of 4 straight double-doubles before Notre Dame’s recent demolition of West Virginia last time out.
Much was made of how this is a whole new St. John’s team this year and it has shown in their record. These guy’s compete hard, but last year’s squad loaded with veteran players found ways to win against teams like Duke…this year’s team, with an amazing lucky 13 freshmen on the roster, finds ways to lose to teams like Northeastern. But at least they are getting experience.
There is talent though, with guard D’Angelo Harrison averaging 17 points per game and forward Moe Harkless averaging 15 and 8. Both are part of that large frosh class and show that there is a lot of upside with this group. Typical of a young team they struggle with defense giving up 71 points per game (rank #268 in the nation).
They are also pretty slight with mostly wing players and even Harkless barely over 200 pounds. That might be a problem against a Notre Dame player that won’t be shy about being physical.
Spread Pick: St. John’s +6.5
O/U Pick: Under
Score Prediction: Notre Dame 63 – St. John’s 60