Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Pittsburgh Panthers
Tip-off: Monday, February 18, 2013 – 7:00 PM ET
Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Notre Dame Fighting Irish‘s Mike Brey appeared to be extremely tired after his team’s most recent contest, which does not surprise YouWager experts given the amount of basketball these guys have played over the last two-plus weeks.
However, coach Brey is hoping his players still have energy left. The 21st-ranked Notre Dame will look for a fifth straight win over host No. 16 Pittsburgh Panthers tonight as each Big East tema looks to recover from a poor performance.
The Irish (20-6, 8-5) have been one of busiest teams in the country recently, having gone to overtime in three of its last five games, beginning with a victory versus the DePaul Blue Demons on Feb. 2.
After a defeat at then-No. 9 Syracuse Orange two days later, Notre Dame defeated then-No. 11 Louisville Cardinals 104-101 in a five-overtime thriller on Feb. 9 before again needing overtime to beat the Blue Demons on Wednesday.
Coach Brey had little to say after the Fighting Irish’s 71-54 defeat versus the Providence Friars on Saturday knowing his team has another difficult contest looming.
Notre Dame earned a 56-51 win Jan. 24, 2011, in the most recent meeting in Pittsburgh to end a five-game road series losing streak. The Panthers haven’t won against the Irish since January 2009 — they’ve averaged 52.0 points in the past four meetings — and will be looking to rebound from their own tough loss after falling 79-69 at No. 18 Marquette Golden Eagles on Saturday.
The Panthers (20-6, 8-5) had won seven of their previous eight college basketball games before coach Jamie Dixon’s team set season-worsts for points allowed and defensive field-goal percentage (56.5) in Milwaukee. Pittsburgh held its previous three rivals to less than 37.0 percent from the field.
However, the Panthers could have their hands full with the Irish big man Jack Cooley, who is scoring a team-best 14.6 points per game and averaging 11.2 rebounds to rank fifth in the nation. He had 12 points and 10 boards Saturday for his sixth straight double-double, giving him a total of 18 that is tied for second-most in the country.
Pittsburgh averaged 73.0 points in its first 21 games, but is scoring just 62.6 per game over the last five.
Lamar Patterson scored 19 points Saturday for the team, who have scored more than 70 points only once in their last 10 contests.