Fade Alert: Notre Dame favored & at home

Published on Tuesday, 2/11/14, at 1:18 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

Mike Brey’s team is really struggling. After getting out to a 10-4 start including a win over Duke in its ACC opener, Notre Dame has fallen on tough times.

Obviously, the loss of Jerian Grant was a monumental one. The team’s best player was averaging 19.0 points and 6.2 assists in the first 12 games, but Grant was dismissed from school due to an academic situation.

His exit, along with a few other injuries, has brought about dismal results. Notre Dame has lost eight of its last 10 games both straight up and against the spread.

The Irish have been atrocious in the favorite role, limping to a 1-10-1 spread record. Brey’s bunch has been a serious money burner at the Joyce Center, posting a 2-11-1 spread record in 14 lined home contests.

As of early this afternoon, most books had Notre Dame installed as a 4.5-point home favorite vs. Clemson tonight. I made the Irish a 1.5-point ‘chalk’ based on being at home and having an extra day of rest (the Tigers lost by 13 at Syracuse on Sunday).

But I think Clemson is going to win this game. It has won 12 of its 13 games against teams that aren’t in the RPI’s Top 100 (Notre Dame is #119). The Tigers are 4-3 ATS as underdogs this year and they’re in dire need of a victory here to improve their resume, which is one that currently has them on the bubble.

A few other notes/nuggets in college hoops…

–After last night’s overtime loss at Kansas St., Bill Self indicated that he was going to give freshman center Joel Embiid some time off. Self noted that his body was pretty beat up from the last few weeks. K-St. blew a nine-point lead in the final minute of regulation and had to go to an extra session after Andrew Wiggins’s tipped in his own miss with a few ticks remaining. Nevertheless, Bruce Weber’s team, which had controlled the game from the opening jump, got the win in OT as a four-point home underdog. The Wildcats hooked up money-line supporters with a +150 payout (risk $100 to win $150).

–Nobody wants to play West Virginia right now. Along with Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings, WVU’s Bob Huggins is doing one of the more underrated coaching jobs in America this year. The Mountaineers gave out a backyard assbeating to Iowa St. in Morgantown last night. WVU won in blowout fashion as a two-point home underdog. Going into this week, ESPN’s Bracketology guru Joe Lunardi had WVU as part of his ‘next four out,’ so it certainly got a bump up with the victory over the Cyclones (#13 RPI). WVU (15-10) has lost seven of its games against opponents with an RPI of No. 35 or better. Only two of its defeats have come to teams outside of the RPI Top 50. Huggins’s squad has three really good wins now over Iowa St., K-St. and Oklahoma. The Mountaineers will probably be underdogs in four of their last six regular-season games, but that offers them chances to post more quality wins. After watching it give Kansas fits this past Saturday in Lawrence, I give WVU an excellent chance of beating KU (#1 in RPI) in its regular-season finale in Morgantown. If WVU does get to the Tourney, it can beat any team on a given night because point guard Juwan Staten might the best PG in the country.

–Florida won its 29th straight home game in a non-covering triumph vs. Alabama on Saturday. The Gators are two-point road favorites tonight at Tennessee. UF blasted UT 67-41 in Gainesville 16 days ago. However, Billy Donovan is just 5-12 in Knoxville and UF has dropped six of its last seven at Thompson-Boling Arena. In the loss at UF, Vols’ stud Jordan McRae was a horrendous 1-of-15 from the field. Since then, however, McRae has scored 26, 26, 16 and 24 points in the last four games. You know he’ll be geared up tonight to make amends for his piss-poor performance at The O-Dome.

–DePaul’s leading scorer and rebounder Cleveland Melvin was recently suspended and it was revealed Monday that he’s no longer in school and obviously not part of the team anymore.

–Toledo will be without its leading scorer Justin Drummond (14.6 points per game) Wednesday against Ohio. Drummond was arrested Saturday night on DUI charges.

–Since Jan. 12, my college hoops picks have cashed at a 57-34 clip (63%, +20.3 units!). I’ve got four selections going tonight if you want to check them out (three really, since I’ve already noted my fondness for Clemson).

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