Notre Dame vs. Florida State Basketball Odds & Pick: Eye First-Half Spread for Inconsistent Irish
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Prentiss Hubb.
- Florida State and Notre Dame conclude their regular seasons on Saturday with both teams trending in opposite directions.
- The Fighting Irish have lost four straight while the Seminoles have clinched the conference title.
- Despite the difference in play, our analyst Pat McMahon still likes a bet for the Irish.
Florida State vs. Notre Dame Odds
|Florida State Odds||-6.5|
|Notre Dame Odds||+6.5|
|Time | TV||Saturday, 12 p.m. ET | ESPN2|
Notre Dame and Florida State wrap up their regular seasons with a matchup in Purcell Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.
The Irish are limping into Senior Day losers of four straight. An up-and-down team all season, the Irish showed signs of life in early February before blowing a 20-point lead at Syracuse on Feb. 20. They haven’t won since, with the latest loss coming in a home defeat to NC State on Wednesday.
The Irish are now just 6-11 in conference play and will have to play in Tuesday’s opening round of the ACC Tournament next week.
The Seminoles (15-4, 11-3 ACC) will lock up the regular-season title and No. 1 seed in the conference tournament with a win. Leonard Hamilton has done a brilliant job with this group, putting the Noles in position to win back-to-back regular-season ACC titles despite losing two lottery picks from last season.
However, even in a down year, the Irish are tough to beat on their home floor. Mike Brey’s club would love nothing more than to play spoiler to the Seminoles on Saturday.
The Irish have struggled with consistency all season long. It’s not just a game-by-game thing, but often the swings in play appear on a half-by-half basis.
Notre Dame has blown sizable halftime leads on multiple occasions this season. The most recent example was the loss at Syracuse, where the Irish lit it up for 46 points in the first half before the offense went M.I.A. in the second half. Notre Dame scored just 21 second-half points on 32% shooting and saw its 20-point lead rapidly evaporate.
The Irish haven’t recovered from that loss, dropping their next three. The defense has been an issue all season and was where they particularly struggled in the Boston College and NC State losses.
On the season, Notre Dame ranks 185th in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom. The shooting defense has been dreadful, with the Irish ranking 205th in opponent effective field goal percentage, according to TeamRankings.
The offense isn’t typically part of the problem, as the Irish have been very efficient on that end. They rank 16th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and are third in the ACC in effective field goal percentage.
The parts are all there for the Irish to have a great offense. Nate Laszewski and Prentiss Hubb are reliable scorers, and there’s plenty of balance behind them. Six of Notre Dame’s seven rotation players can shoot the 3, and all of them do so at least a 34% clip.
Laszewski has been remarkably efficient, ranking second in the conference in 3-point percentage (46.8%), and third in field goal percentage (60.5%).
While the Irish offense is typically good for at least one strong half, they failed to get going all game against NC State on Wednesday. Notre Dame shot just 37.5% from the floor, and neither Laszewski or any of the guards were able to find their rhythm.
Florida State — Vulnerable on the Road?
In a down year for the ACC overall, the Seminoles have remained a model of consistency. They sit atop the ACC standings and have the best KenPom (9th) and NCAA Net ranking (13th) of any team in the conference.
This group is winning with the same formula for every successful Hamilton-coached team. They’re efficient at both ends, ranking eighth in offensive efficiency and 51st in defensive efficiency.
They’re very balanced, with five players averaging between 9.0 and 13.1 points per game. It’s a deep bunch, as nine players average double-digit minutes and no one averages 30 or more.
If there’s one potential flaw with this Florida State team, it would be its performance on the road. Due to a light non-conference schedule and several ACC postponements, the Seminoles have only played six games away from the Donald L. Tucker Center.
It’s a small sample size, but the Seminoles are just 3-3 on the road this season and 2-3-1 ATS. This isn’t a good sign for a top-10 team, and at minimum, is a cause for concern heading into the ACC and NCAA tournaments.
The Seminoles are shooting the ball at a notably worse clip in road games. Per TeamRankings, they have a 56.6% effective field goal percentage in home games, which drops to 50.7% on the road. The difference in 3-point percentage is very significant, with the Noles connecting on 42.6% from deep at home compared to just 31.7% on the road.
Brey has played some 2-3 zone on several occasions this season, and I expect a heavy dose of that against the bigger, more athletic Seminoles. MJ Walker (ACC best 47% from 3) leads a host of strong Florida State shooters that could potentially bust the zone, and it’ll be important they get hot and buck the Noles’ current road shooting trends.
Betting Analysis & Pick
It’s hard to stomach backing the Irish given its recent performance, but I think there’s some value in taking them to cover the first half.
Notre Dame just couldn’t buy a bucket on Wednesday against NC State, but that was a fluke shooting performance when you look at their season numbers. If the Irish come out shooting to the level they’re capable of on Saturday, they should be able to hang with Florida State for the opening half.
Another reason I think the Irish can keep it close is due to their guard play. The Irish have a talented quartet of backcourt players in Hubb, Dane Goodwin, Cormac Ryan and Trey Wertz. I don’t think there’s a huge gap in talent between the Irish and Seminole backcourts.
This group takes care of the ball as well and doesn’t beat itself. Notre Dame ranks 23rd in turnover rate, which will come in handy against Florida State’s constant pressure.
Notre Dame’s propensity to fall apart in the second half, coupled with Florida State’s ability to wear them down with its depth, has me only comfortable taking the first half number. I like the Irish to come out of the gates playing inspired ball and have a good start to its Senior Day.
Pick: Notre Dame 1H +3 or better.