Good thing the Penguins are still a positive topic of conversation in
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Pittsburgh Panthers
Tuesday, December 28, 2021 – 08:00 PM EST at Petersen Events Center
It’s normally the Steelers who are commanding the headlines on sports pages in Pittsburgh this time of the year, but even they are wallowing in the NFL ranks. Following another down year for the Pirates on the diamond and the current state of the Panthers on the hardwood, it just leaves the Penguins for Iron City fans to be proud of.
At least Notre Dame is always a good draw, though the Fighting Irish are struggling just like their Tuesday night opponents. Notre Dame and Pittsburgh each come into the contest with modest 2-game win streaks, so maybe the winner can build off the result, which we hope is a winning NCAA basketball pick.
‘Under’ and Underdog Has Been a Winning Bet in Rivalry
Both teams will also be looking for their first conference win of the campaign when they take the floor under the watchful eye of the ACC Network. BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) has installed Notre Dame as a 4-point road favorite and is carrying 127½ for the total.
This will be the 67th time the Fighting Irish and Panthers get together for some hoops action, Notre Dame holding a 35-31 advantage in the series after coming out on top in 10 of the last 14 matchups. Pittsburgh has a 19-14 edge in games that have taken place in Iron City, though the Fighting Irish have taken four of the last six contested at Petersen Events Center.
The lone clash last season took place in Pittsburgh, and the home fans left the gym a bit embarrassed by the 84-58 spanking Notre Dame put on their Panthers. The Fighting Irish canned 13-of-24 attempts from behind the arc and took the lead for good midway through the first half. Pittsburgh was favored by 3½, making it the fifth time in the last eight meetings for the underdog to cash.
Irish Eyes Smiling with Recent 3-Point Shooting
Mike Brey has seen some improvement on the offensive end of the floor the last two times his team took the court. The Fighting Irish led Western Michigan wire-to-wire last week at home in a lopsided 85-52 final. Notre Dame shot close to 52% overall and netted 14 heaves from behind the 3-point line to easily cover the 21½-point spread on the betting odds boards.
That was followed two days later with another win at Purcell Pavilion, and another big performance from beyond the arc as the Fighting Irish topped Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by an 83-73 count. Notre Dame never could shake the Islanders despite hitting 16-of-29 (55.2%) from 3-point range, leaving backers giving up 17½ disappointed.
Brey’s bunch had been having problems putting the rock in the hoop prior to those two wins, shooting 41% from the field during a 1-4 stretch on the fixture. There’s still plenty of room to get better for a team that is 225th in scoring (70.3 ppg) and 287th on the offensive glass.
Pitt Offense Among Worst in Country
Jeff Capel wishes his Panthers were putting up 70 points a game like Notre Dame. Pittsburgh ranks 334th in the country with 60.7 points per contest, which leaves only 16 other college teams that are scoring less.
The only positive is the Panthers are allowing 63.7 PPG, good enough for 75th in the nation and good enough to cover the spreads at the top-rated sportsbooks in seven of their dozen contests.
Pittsburgh’s finest effort of the year probably came ten days ago at St. John’s where the Panthers posted a 59-57 upset as double-digit underdogs. They followed that up with another cover in a 64-55 win over Jacksonville of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Femi Odukale broke out of a scoring slump to pump in 28 points in the win over the Dolphins, and Mouhamadou Gueye tallied his first double-double (15 points, 12 rebounds) of the season.
We know that Pittsburgh is going to try and slow the game to a crawl, but will the Panthers be able to slow it enough to pull off the mild upset? I don’t think so and will be playing the road team in this ACC matchup.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.