Notre Dame’s Nate Laszewski (14) dunks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wake Forest on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame won 79-58. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
- Wake Forest (16-6, 12-4 ACC) battles Notre Dame (13-5, 8-4 ACC) on Tuesday, March 9, at 7:00 pm ET
- In the first round of the ACC tournament, the Fighting Irish and Demon Deacons meet for the second time this season
- The odds for the game, as well as matchup analysis and pick, can be found in the article below
The ACC tournament begins on Tuesday, March 9, and among the first matchups is 11th-seeded Notre Dame facing 14th-seeded Wake Forest. The Fighting Irish crushed the Demon Deacons, 79-58, when these teams met back on Feb. 2.
Neither team enters the conference tourney with much momentum. Wake Forest has lost eight of nine and Notre Dame has lost four of five, but they earned an emotional 83-73 victory over #15 Florida State in their most-recent game and oddsmakers heavily favor the Irish brushing aside Wake.
Wake Forest vs Notre Dame Odds
|Wake Forest||+8 (-110)||Off||Over 141.5 (-110)|
|Notre Dame||-8 (-110)||Off||Under 141.5 (-110)|
Odds as of March 8th at FanDuel.
How They’ve Fared Recently
Notre Dame is typically one of the worst teams when it comes to getting to the foul line (306th in NCAA Division I in free throw rate), but they got their 34 times against the Seminoles — and made 28 of their attempts.
A win over a ranked team at home ✓
Double figures for five players ✓
A 65th Irish player reaches 1,000-career points ✓
— Notre Dame MBB (@NDmbb) March 7, 2021
That’s how things look in the Irish’s brightest moments. There have been some darker days lately, though, as Notre Dame had lost their four previous games (including a 94-90 defeat against Boston College, ranked 134th at KenPom). Notre Dame’s defense is brutal at forcing turnovers (346th in turnover rate), and that can be problematic.
Speaking of problems, let’s talk about Wake Forest! Their last win came on Feb. 10 (they’ve since lost seven in a row), while their last — and only — win against a KenPom top-100 team came on Jan. 23.
— Wake Basketball (@WakeMBB) March 6, 2021
Simply put, Wake Forest has not beaten anyone as good as Notre Dame (68th in KenPom) this year. With an offense that ranks outside the top 200 in effective field-goal percentage, turnover rate, and offensive-rebound rate, the Demon Deacons are in a tailspin.
Notre Dame is 11-13 against the spread this season, while Wake Forest is 10-10 ATS. The Irish covered with a straight-up win as seven-point underdogs last time out against Florida State, which snapped a four-game ATS losing streak.
— Notre Dame MBB (@NDmbb) March 5, 2021
The Demon Deacons are currently mired in a six-game ATS losing streak.
The over has hit in five of Notre Dame’s past eight games and four of Wake Forest’s past seven.
Last year, Wake Forest and Notre Dame split their pair of games, both earning a straight up win and an ATS win. This year, they met just once, and Notre Dame earned a 79-58 win to cover convincingly as 5.5-point favorites (the game hit the under by four points).
In that Notre Dame win, on Feb. 2, the Irish built a commanding lead early in the second half and cruised. In fact, if not for an 11-0 run by Wake Forest in the final few minutes, the final score could’ve been much uglier.
We can’t say that Notre Dame has another 20-plus-point blowout up its sleeve, but an eight-point spread is well within their ability to cover.
Pick: Notre Dame -8 (-110)
Jordan Horrobin is a sports journalist whose MLB, NHL, NFL and NCAA work has appeared in outlets such as The Athletic, MLB.com, the Detroit Free Press and more. He is currently based in Toronto, also working as a contributor for Forbes.com and a freelance editor for Sportsnet.