The #1 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish will host the #8 seed Hampton Pirates in first round action of the NIT Tournament Tuesday night from the Purcell Pavilion. Hampton went a solid 12-4 in MEAC play and lost to NC Central in the MEAC Tournament final. Notre Dame posted an 8-10 record in ACC action and lost to Duke in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tourney.
Hampton Stunned in MEAC Title Game
The Hampton Pirates will look to shake off a very disappointing 71-63 loss to sixth-seeded NC Central in the MEAC championship game. The Pirates went 4 for 18 from beyond the arc in that one, while NC Central was able to shoot 47%. Hampton’s leading scorer Jermaine Marrow has been quiet, scoring 12 or fewer points in three out of his last four games which included only nine points on 3 for 14 shooting in the MEAC title game. Overall, the sophomore guard had a terrific season, posting an average of 18.7 points and 5.4 assists per game. Malique Trent-Street was outstanding in the MEAC Tournament, averaging 22 points in three games. The senior guard has scored at least 15 points in four consecutive games, and he is currently averaging 14 points on 51.6% shooting.
Hampton had their 10 game winning streak snapped in the MEAC championship game loss. They scored at least 79 points in seven of their ten games in their winning streak, and they are placed at 246th overall in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings. The Pirates are scoring an average of 79.3 points, good for 55th in the nation. They are conceding an average of 75.2 points, placing them 249th overall.
Notre Dame Contender for NIT Title after NCAA Tourney Snub
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will no doubt be determined after they were omitted from the NCAA Tournament. They dropped an 88-70 decision to Duke in the quarterfinals after defeating Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech in their first two tourney games. Notre Dame’s leading scorer Bonzie Colson led the way offensively in the loss to Duke, netting 18 points along with nine rebounds. The senior forward missed a good portion of ACC play due to injury which put a damper on Notre Dame’s season. Colson is averaging 20.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Matt Farrell played well in the first two games of the ACC Tournament, scoring a total of 40 points followed by an 11 point effort in the loss to Duke. The senior guard played well in Colson’s absence, and he stands second in team scoring with 16.8 points on 42% shooting.
The Fighting Irish have won four out of their last six games and many felt they should have received a bid to the NCAA Tournament. This is a very talented team and their record is misleading due to the extended absence of star Bonzie Colson. Notre Dame is ranked at 31st in the country in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings. They are averaging 75 points, ranking them 143rd overall. The Fighting Irish are holding opponents to 68.7 points, placing them 77th in the country.
The Hampton Pirates are:
- 12-4 ATS in their last 16 road games.
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS loss.
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Tuesday games.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
- 2-9 ATS in their last 11 home games against a team with a losing road record.
I am taking the points with Hampton with this large spread. Hampton is solid in both ends of the court and they should be able to at least keep this one somewhat close. They have won 10 out of their last 11 games and they are on a roll offensively, averaging 82 points in that 11 game span. Furthermore, Hampton is holding opponents to 41.8% shooting on the season, and their three-point defense ranks 53rd in the country, so I am confident they can contain Notre Dame’s scoring. While Notre Dame will win this game, they have been inconsistent offensively and they will give up three’s.