Notre Dame Fighting Irish (20-14) vs. Hampton Wildcats (19-15)
When and Where: Tuesday, March 13, Notre Dame, Ind., 9.00 PM EST
The 2018 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) First-Round matchup between top-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish and No. 8 seeded Hampton Pirates in the Upper Left Bracket will take place on Tuesday at Purcell Pavilion in Notre Dame. NIT presents a single-elimination tournament of 32 NCAA Division I teams that were not selected in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
The first three rounds will be played on campus sites with the host team being the higher seeding one, while the semifinals and championship game being held at MSG in New York. The Fighting Irish are coming off from an ACC Tournament quarterfinal loss by Duke, 88-70 last Thursday, while the Pirates lost the MEAC Tournament Finale against North Carolina Central, 71-63.
The Pirates fall to Eagles in the MEAC Tournament Championship game
After ending the regular season schedule at the top of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with 12-4 record, and entering the Conference Tournament as one of three main contenders for the title, the Pirates got stopped in the final game by a relative underdog, the North Carolina Central Eagles who ended the conference slate at No. 6 spot with 9-7 record. Still, it was enough for the appearance on 2018 NIT, and here they are. The squad averages 79.3 points per game on offense (55th in the league) while allowing 75.2 points per duel to their opponents (249th in NCAA).
Individually, sophomore guard Jermaine Marrow tops the team in scoring and passing with 18.7 points and 5.4 assists per game. Guard Malique Trent keeps pace with 14.0 points and 3.5 assists while junior guard Kalin Fisher concludes the list of double-digit scoring contributors with 12.6 points per matchup. Sophomore Greg Heckstall is the team’s defensive leader team-high 5.9 boards on average while adding solid 8.2 points per contest. Other notable contributors are Akim Mitchell with 8.1 and Trevond Barnes with 7.1 points per clash. In a Championship loss by the Eagles, Trent led the team with 15 points while Fisher and Mitchell added 11 each.
Notre Dame earns NIT top-seed
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish ended the ACC regular-season schedule with an 8-10 record that was enough for the No. 20 spot, but the team excelled during the conference tournament, managing to get into the quarterfinals where they were stopped by the Duke Blue Devils. Solid performance during the Tournament resulted in a top-seed in the NIT, amongst Baylor, USC, and St. Mary’s. The team averages 75.0 points per game on offense (144th nationally) while allowing 68.7 points per contest to their opponents (77th in the NCAA).
Senior forward Bonzie Colson tops the team in scoring and rebounding with 20.2 points and 10.1 boards per game this season. The team’s leading passer with 5.5 assists per contest, Matt Farrell posts second-best 16.8 points per game while guard Temple Gibbs adds 15.2 points and solid 3.1 assists per matchup. The Lithuanian native Martinas Geben and junior guard Rex Pflueger are two remaining top contributors who average 10.9 and 8.3 points while Geben also adds extraordinary 8.1 rebounds on average. In a loss by the Blue Demons, Colson led the team with 18 points while Geben added 14 points and eight rebounds.
- 1-4 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
- 1-5 ATS in their last six road games following three or more consecutive home games.
- 6-2 O/U in their last eight games following an ATS loss.
- 5-0 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss.
- 5-0 O/U in their last five non-conference duels.
- 5-2 O/U in their last seven home games.
The Fighting Irish are a big straight up and ATS favorites in this one, especially if we take into the consideration the fact that they are playing in front of their own crowd. In Totals segment, the game should go Over according to both teams recent trends.