- The Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are set to play in the final “First Four” matchup on Wednesday at 9:10 PM EST.
- Notre Dame is favored by 1 point in the matchup, despite their struggles against top competition throughout the 2022 season.
DAYTON, Ohio – The final “First Four” March Madness matchup will tip-off Wednesday night at 9:10 PM EST between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. They will battle it out for the 11 seed in the West region.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights Vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Odds
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish -115
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights -105
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish -1 (-105)
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights +1 (-115)
- Over 134 (-110)
- Under 134 (-110)
Rutgers Looks To Continue Success Against Tough Opponents
Rutgers comes into the tournament hoping to continue a hot streak that began in early February when the Scarlet Knights took down Big 10 frontrunners #13 Michigan State, #16 Ohio State, #14 Wisconsin, and #12 Illinois in four consecutive games.
Rutgers has primarily run their offense through senior swingman Ron Harper Jr., who leads the team with 15.6 PPG. Harper Jr. also averages 1.1 steals per game (one of four Scarlet Knights to average at least 1 steal per game) and 5.9 rebounds per game.
Outside of Harper Jr., guard Paul Mulcahy leads the team in assists per game (5.3) while also averaging 9 PPG and 4.1 RPG.
Harper Jr.’s total points over/under is currently set at 15.5 (over -113, under -115) at legal sports betting sites. If Rutgers is to defeat the Irish, they will need a strong offensive performance from Harper Jr., making the over/under (set right at his season average) a potentially great value for Rutgers backers.
The Scarlet Knights have been very good defensively, allowing 65.8 points per game to opponents and averaging 7.2 steals per game – defensive success is crucial for Rutgers, as they rank 289th in the NCAA in adjusted offensive tempo.
If Rutgers can keep the game close late, their versatility, experience against strong competition, and excellent defense could lead to them moving on in the tournament and covering the spread as 1-point underdogs.
However, if they fall behind early, their lack of offensive explosiveness could spell a short March showing for the Scarlet Knights.
Can Notre Dame Finally Play Up To Their Competition?
On the other hand, Notre Dame comes into their initial tournament matchup with several question marks.
Throughout the season, the Fighting Irish have handled business against inferior competition; however, they have struggled when taking on more skilled opponents.
The lone exception to this trend was a January 5 home victory against North Carolina. Otherwise, losses against St. Mary’s (CA), Texas A&M, Illinois, Boston College, Indiana, Virginia Tech (twice), Duke, Wake Forest, and Florida State paint a grim picture for the Irish.
For Notre Dame to play up to their competition in March, they will need big performances from big man Paul Atkinson Jr. and guard Blake Wesley. Atkinson Jr. averages 12.3 PPG, 7 RPG, and 1.7 APG while Wesley averages 14.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 2.5 APG.
On top of these two, shooting guard Dane Goodwin averages 13.9 PPG while ranking in the top five in the ACC in a 3-point percentage (.448).
Atkinson Jr. has a total rebounds over/under currently set at 7.5 (over -121, under -108), a full half-rebound higher than his season averages; he will face off against Rutgers center Clifford Omoruyi, who averages 7.9 RPG (2.2 ORPG).
It may be difficult for Atkinson to reach this mark with Omoruyi attacking the offensive glass, making the under a solid play for those who plan to bet on March Madness.
While the Irish offense has been solid all year, they will need to step it up on the defensive side of the ball if they wish to advance in the tournament and cash in on their (-115) moneyline odds.
Notre Dame ranks last in the ACC in turnovers forced, blocks, and steals, which could be disastrous in the tournament against a Rutgers team that excels on the defensive side of the ball. Watch the turnover battle in this one – if Notre Dame can maintain a solid turnover ratio, they will be in a great position to cover the slim 1-point spread.
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News tags: Atlantic Coast Conference | Big 10 Conference | Blake Wesley | Boston College Eagles | Clifford Omoruyi | College Basketball | Dane Goodwin | Duke Blue Devils | First Four | Florida State Seminoles | Illinois Fighting Illini | Indiana Hoosiers | March Madness | Michigan State Spartans | NCAA | Notre Dame Fighting Irish | Ohio State Buckeyes | Paul Atkinson Jr. | Paul Mulcahy | Ron Harper Jr. | Rutgers Scarlet Knights | St. Mary’s Gaels | Texas A&M Aggies | Virginia Tech Hokies | Wake Forest Demon Deacons | Wisconsin Badgers
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