Hyderabad, India (PressExposure) March 11, 2011 -- It seems pretty clear now that the Pittsburgh Panthers are out of this tournament, that the Fighting Irish control their own destiny for a No. 1 seed in March Madness. The team has won five straight games and has covered four NCAA basketball betting lines in a row.
Their quarterfinals Big East beat down of the Cincinnati Bearcats were awfully impressive, as no team has been able to manhandle the Cats like that this season. It seems like just another night, but Tim Abromaitis and Ben Hansbrough combined for 40 points, 10 assists, and 10 boards in the victory. Carleton Scott had a nice day with 18 points and six rebounds, while Scott Martin added 11.
There were nine three balls knocked down, which is almost pedestrian for the men in green and gold. However, Notre Dame also only turned the ball over five times against 10 for UC, and it shot 56.1 percent from the field. The Bearcats only shot 32.8 percent from the floor. Perhaps the most impressive stat? The Fighting Irish forced more turnovers (10) than the Bearcats had in assists (9).
After two great efforts in a row, the Marquette Golden Eagles finally succumbed to a fantastic team in the Big East, as the Cards absolutely came out in the second half and romped their foes to get into the semifinals. Little known Mike Marra came up big with six three pointers and he totaled a team high 22 points. He wasn't the only one that was in double digits in scoring on the day for the Redbirds. Preston Knowles nearly came up with a triple-double, as he had 15 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds. Peyton Siva chipped in with eight points and seven assists.
Poor Marquette just never had its legs, but we have to credit the Louisville defense as well. The Golden Eagles only made 17 shots in the entire game and shot just 28.8 percent. They also dominated three point range over the course of the first two games in the Big East Tournament, but they only went 3-for-16 in this one. There were also only four assists for Marquette in the quarterfinals, much to the delight of Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino.
These are two true behemoths, and nothing would really surprise us in this one, but there still seems to be a bit of a lack of respect for the Fighting Irish. Back Notre Dame on the NCAA basketball betting lines to get into the Big East finale and make the case for that coveted No. 1 seed.
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College Basketball Free Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish