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Free NCAA Pick Monday

#704 Notre Dame -4.5 over Miami, FL 6:00 PM CT

Miami appears to be a NCAA Tournament team right now but the Hurricanes have dropped three in a row to put that prospect in question, heading into a critical road game. Miami is 18-8 overall and 7-7 in ACC play but the profile isn’t obviously stronger than Notre Dame’s despite the Irish clearly being on the outside of the March Madness picture right now. While Notre Dame has three top 100 wins outside of ACC play Miami has just one and that is a win vs. mid-major Middle Tennessee State.

Miami has seven ACC wins compared to six for Notre Dame but two of those wins came against lowly Pittsburgh, a team Notre Dame is yet to play. Injuries were a big factor in Notre Dame losing seven games in a row in the middle of the ACC season but Matt Farrell missed four of those losses while the Irish also had to adjust to losing Bonzie Colson and D.J. Harvey to injury. Notre Dame has won the past two home games and is 4-3 at home in ACC play. The losses came by one against North Carolina, in double-OT vs. Louisville and by five against Virginia Tech, all respectable defeats against teams that rate stronger than Miami and Farrell missed two of those games. Notre Dame should be favored in the next three games as the Irish has a chance to make a late case for the tournament and they will have a crack at a major upset in the finale playing at Virginia ahead of the ACC Tournament as this team hasn’t given up hope yet.

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Miami has played one of the weaker ACC schedule and is the much lesser offensive team in this matchup while the defensive numbers are closer than one would expect. Miami is one of the worst 3-point shooting and free throw shooting teams in the ACC as they won’t be in position to take advantage of the defensive liabilities for the Irish. Every Miami loss has been a game decided by 10 or fewer points as the Hurricanes are often an appealing underdog but Notre Dame is in position to peak late in the season and this is a favorable opportunity for a team with a much higher ceiling than the season numbers suggest.

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