College Basketball Best Bets: Back the Pack

Even though the Irish have been frequent flyers to the training table this season—Rex Pflueger and Robby Carmody are done for the year, while Juwan Durham continues to nurse an ankle injury—I was cautiously optimistic that Notre Dame would keep it competitive, especially with the support of a packed Joyce Center behind them.

The Cavs' long and methodical offensive possessions create a false sense of hope for defenses who will often guard successfully for 20–25 seconds, only to give up a soul-crushing bucket moments before the shot clock expires.

Head coach Kevin Keatts started him on the bench on Saturday, but Johnson provided instant spark when he eventually checked in and finished with 16 points in just 23 minutes of action.

While NC State has quick, athletic guards in spades, freshman Jericole Hellems is the only player in the primary rotation who would be undoubtedly characterized as a “wing.” Torin Dorn, Devon Daniels and CJ Bryce all have decent length at 6'5", but will still be surrendering a couple of inches and a few pounds to the longer and bigger Hunter.

It takes away transition opportunities at the 43rd-best clip in the country (Hoop Lens) and ranks 38th in steal rate (kenpom), led by swiping extraordinaires Lamar Peters, Tyson Carter and the Brothers Weatherspoon.

A big adjustment Ford has made recently is slowing down the offense and burning more of the shot clock, creating a lower-possession game which only helps this stingy Bears defense.

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