Tonight in South Bend the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will face the Louisville birds with teeth. The game will be in Purcell Pavilion at 7:00 pm ET and will be aired on ESPNU. The Irish come in as 7.0 point favorites and have won four out of their last five.
The Louisville Cardinals are on a five-game losing streak that started back on January 22nd against the Irish. Exactly two weeks ago today they officially announced the separation from their Head Coach Chris Mack who was in his fifth season as the leading man for the Cards. Mike Pegues has been serving in that position as interim Head Coach while the University decides on how to fill the position (it was announced in the last few days they would be using a search firm to assist).
After an admirable showing against North Carolina in a 90-83 loss in OT last Tuesday, the Cardinals came out and fell flat against Syracuse 92-69 on Saturday. The Irish closed out their week with a win in Raliegh against NC State 69-57. These final eight games are extremely important for the Irish and their NCAA Tournament hopes. They need to take care of a schedule that includes only two teams who at this time have a single digit in their loss column (Wake Forest 19-5, FSU 13-9). Those games are on the road but five of these last eight are at home. The Irish are still in the chase for the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament and look like a team who could make a run in it. Tonight is an opportunity to take care of a Cardinals team that is reeling, and use it to springboard into the end of the season and the ACC and NCAA tournament.
I think the Irish will come out fresh and take care of business. They were able to get a four-day rest after a grueling week and a half. That combined with the strong finish against the Wolfpack on Saturday - I believe gives Notre Dame confidence heading into a game against a team they know they can beat. The last time out against Louisville the Irish overcame a 7 point halftime deficit to take control in the second half in an 82-70 victory.
Notre Dame 75, Louisville 68