Virginia Tech finds itself in a familiar position as last year, needing a deep run to make it to March Madness. They pulled it off last year, winning the ACC championship. They are poised to get off to a good start, sitting as a -7.5 favorite in their first-round matchup against Notre Dame. With their spread-out style of offense, my prediction is that the Hokies cruise to victory while covering the spread.
Notre Dame Vs. Virginia Tech Prediction
It’s been a season to forget in what is head coach Mike Brey’s last ride for the Fighting Irish, ending the year 11-20 and as a sizable underdog to Virginia Tech. While they were able to scrape together some offensive success behind their patented perimeter play, defense was optionable as they were one of the worst defensive units in the nation. Notre Dame finished the year ranked 263rd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per Kenpom.
This doesn’t bode well for the Fighting Irish yet plays right into VaTech tickets hands as the Hokies offense will be able to generate lean looks at the basket throughout the course of forty minutes. The Hokies have maintained their offensive identity that has proven to be successful, mirroring Virginia’s spread it out style approach with elite facilitation that leads to the best look possible from deep. Virginia Tech finished the season 33rd in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency.
Their shooting numbers back up their style of play, shooting a respectable 36.1% from the perimeter and 46.9% from the field. They were able to catch fire behind their style of play in their run last season, a run that saw an offensive explosion to win the ACC Championship. Notre Dame’s defense should pose no threat to their scheme, allowing opposing offenses to shoot 34.3% from deep. That’s good for 191st in the nation per TeamRankings.
Notre Dame’s perimeter defense has also somehow mightily regressed as of late. Over the course of their last few games, they have allowed teams to complete at an incredible clip from deep, allowing a three-point completion percentage of 38.1%. Should their recent downward trajectory hold serve in this one, then this opens up the court for the Hokies to stretch out the Irish defense. Once Notre Dame has to creep more towards the perimeter, then this allows VaTech to start slashing through the middle and getting higher quality opportunities at the rim.
Notre Dame Vs. Virginia Tech Prediction: Wait on Virginia Tech spread
Notre Dame Vs. Virginia Tech Odds
While I believe Virginia Tech cruises to victory, other bettors have believed otherwise by backing the Fighting Irish down to +6.5 in some shops. This is a sharp contrast to the opening number after oddsmakers opened the spread at 7.5. Because of the early movement, I will wait to see how low this can go before putting a position on the Hokies. The lower the number the more valuable for their pace of play, as they run at a tempo good for 214th in the nation.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a quick pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 144.5. Bettors are slightly favoring the under, taking the number down to 144 as of writing. Both run at a very slow pace and are perimeter dependent on their offensive success. A cold shooting night by just one of the units gives a drastic swing towards the unders favor as points will come at a methodical pace.
Notre Dame Vs. Virginia Tech Key Matchups
Virginia Tech perimeter defense Vs. Notre Dame three-point shooting
Notre Dame fields an identity that slightly mirrors the Hokies, basing a brunt of their offensive success from the perimeter. The issue for Notre Dame is that the Hokies excel at defending the arc. Virginia Tech’s ability to limit three-point success as of late is a key reason why I believe they cover the spread in my Notre Dame Vs. Virginia Tech prediction.
While they held opponents to an average mark in three-point success throughout the season at 33.5%, they actually drastically improved in that area in the last three games by taking it down to 30.4%.
Notre Dame bases their offense off of screens and movement from the arc, connecting from deep at a 35.8% off of open looks. With the Hokies playing back to their old ways of lockdown perimeter defense, this forces Notre Dame to scramble towards the interior. An area they have lacked versatility in as a guard heavy unit.
With early money flooding in on Mike Brey’s potential last game of coaching the Irish, I will wait to see how low this can go before putting a position on the Hokies.