3/02/2009 12:05:00 AM
7:00 p.m., 2 March 2009 at the Joyce Center.
Line: Notre Dame -3.5
The Wildcats travel to South Bend, Indiana today to play a very desperate Notre Dame team whose NCAA tournament chances are teetering on the brink of the abyss.
Villanova, once among the hottest teams in the nation, opens the week in a bit of a slump, after losing two of its last five games and surviving close calls with cellar-dwellers DePaul and Rutgers.
Notre Dame will be fired up, and the Irish will come ready to play. Hopefully, Villanova will also feel the urgency after losing at home to Georgetown on Saturday.
The Irish, who lost to Connecticut on Saturday, have good wins over Texas, Louisville, Providence, and Georgetown. Conventional wisdom says Notre Dame must win its final two regular season games, against Villanova and St. John's, to finish 9-9 in conference and have a decent chance at an at-large NCAA bid.
Needless to say, this is the biggest game of the season for Notre Dame, because if the Irish are able to beat Villanova, it not only enables them to finish .500 in the Big East, it also puts one more premium win under their belt for consideration in a very tight NCAA bubble.
KenPom predicts a two-point Irish win, with a 43 percent chance of victory for Villanova.
Check out the previews on the other 'Nova blogs (linked in the right sidebar), and then predict the game's final score in the comments below.