The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are coming off a colossal ego boost win over Coach K’s Duke Blue Devils. Yes, the same Blue Devil team that just got Krzyzewski his 1000th career win and in doing so Irish guard Jerian Grant has cemented himself as the ACC MVP. That win also propelled the Fighting Irish to 20 wins, the second squad to do that this NCAA college hoops season.
— Notre Dame MBB (@NDmbb) January 30, 2015
“He’s got a big basketball IQ,” Irish coach Mike Brey said of Grant. “He knows our sets, he knows our system. He loves the moment. He is such a bright lights, big stage guy. He’s really clutch.”
Proving his worth, Grant has scored at least 23 points and dished out at least six assists in three of Notre Dame’s last four. His 6.7 assists per game are tied for seventh in the country. The senior said he believes Notre Dame has become an elite team after a 15-win year last season.
“We are definitely up there,” Grant said. “Obviously, [No. 2] Virginia is undefeated. They came in here and beat us, but hopefully we get another shot at them. I definitely think that we are in the top tier. ”
The Irish, who are riding a 5 game winning streak, travel to the Peterson Events Center to play Pittsburgh on Saturday at 12 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and can be streamed on WatchESPN.
The Pittsburgh Panthers season has not been as fortunate as they have now dropped three straight and are all but out of the March Madness conversation, unless they beat Notre Dame this Saturday. The Panthers rank 183rd nationally in points per game (67.3), 175th in rebounds (34.9) and 165th in field-goal percentage (43.7%).
A Closer Look At The Notre Dame at Pittsburgh College Hoops Odds, My Final Prediction & TV/Live Streaming Info
Matchup: (8) Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Pittsburgh Panthers
Date: Jan. 31, 2015
Start Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Stadium: Petersen Events Center
TV Info: ESPN 3
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Notre Dame Vs Pittsburgh
Click here for Live College Hoops Odds
The Notre Dame Irish Can Beat the Pittsburgh Panthers If
- Notre Dame gets Pat Connaughton involved – Connaughton scored 13 points and grabbed 12 boards in the Irish’s 77 to 73 victory over Duke. Connaughton has to get involved early. He was 3 out of 6 from three-point land versus Duke and needs to be at least that good against Pittsburgh.
- Jerian Grant not only scores but dishes the rock as well – Grant scored 23 points versus the Blue Devils, but he also dished 12 assists. That’s an awesome stat line. When Grant is garnering assists and points, Notre Dame is very difficult to beat.
— Notre Dame MBB (@NDmbb) January 29, 2015
- The Irish commit to grabbing offensive rebounds – Notre Dame only got 6 offensive boards versus Duke. They have to do better than that against Pittsburgh if they hope to beat the Panthers who are a very good rebounding team.
The Pittsburgh Panthers Can Beat the Notre Dame Irish If
- They play much better on defense than they have this season – Teams average 43.7% from the field against the Pittsburgh defense. That’s a big problem versus Notre Dame since the Irish are such a good shooting team. Pitt will have to clamp down much better than that if they hope to beat the Irish.
- Robinson and Young can counter Jerian Grant – Pitt fans can’t expect James Robinson or Cameron Wright to contain Jerian Grant alone, but if the two Panther guards work together they could play a two-guard game that at least keeps Grant from taking over the matchup.
- Pitt shoots much better than 32.5% from behind the three-point line – When you face a really good shooting team, you have to find a way to hit a big three once in a while to keep you close. Pittsburgh must get their three-point shooting percentage higher than 37% in order to have any shot against Notre Dame in this game.
Bet On the Notre Dame Irish to Beat the Pittsburgh Panthers
This is a bad matchup for Pittsburgh. Notre Dame proved against Duke that they are a complete team. Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton make life very difficult for opposing guards because both can drive to the basket or hit three-point shots.
Pittsburgh will keep it close but eventually Notre Dame should be able to pull away in the final 6 minutes or so.