Larry Ness' Weekly Wipeout Winner (33-16 s/Dec 23): Larry's Wipeout Winners have lived up to the moniker, as this 28-year vet has gone 33-16 (67%) with these exclusive releases (in all sports), going all the way back to December 23. Go "inside the numbers" and the matchup, as Larry's expert analysis details all the particulars of a game with B-L-O-W-O-U-T written all over it!
Game: Xavier at Notre Dame Mar 16 2012 9:45PM
Prediction: Notre Dame
Grade: Loser (-110)
Reason: My 9* Weekly Wipeout Winner is on Notre Dame at 9:45 ET.
Notre Dame rebounded from a rough start this year (lost four of nine to start the season), to finish third in the Big East (13-5) during the regular season. The Irish edged USF in the Big East quarters but lost to Louisville in the semis. Notre Dame got a No. 7 seed here in the Big Dance and draws Xavier (10-seed) in this second round game in Greensboro. The Irish are led by a backcourt featuring Atkins (12.2-3.3-4.1) plus two 6-5 freshman, Grant (12.3-2.8-4.9) and Connaughton (6.9-4.5). With Abromaitis (15.4 & 16.1 the L2 years but lost for the season after just two games TY) out, it’s the 6-9 Cooley (12.4-9.0), the 6-8 Martin (9.5-5.7) and the 6-6 Dragicevich (6.8) up front. Xavier opened 8-0 but that eighth win came in a Dec 10 game with crosstown rival Cincinnati. The game ended in an ugly brawl and the Minutemen (ranked No. 8 nationally) would go on to lose THREE straight and FIVE of their next six games. However, one must give head coach Chris Mack some credit, as Xavier quietly played its way back into the NCAA tournament field, including a run to the A-10 tourney final, where it lost to St Bonny’s. The guard duo of Holloway (17.0-3.7-5.1) and Lyons (15.5-3.4-2.3) provide a tough matchup for any team with 6-4 freshman swingman Wells (10.2-4.9) joining them to offer an outstanding perimeter group. The team doesn’t have a ton of depth and the frontcourt doesn’t offer all that much. The 7-0 Frease was expected to have a big senior season, after posting 11.7 PPG and 7.1 RPG last year. However, his numbers fell this season to 9.5-6.1 with 6-8 Vandy transfer Walker (5.4-5.8) and the 6-7 Taylor (4.9-4.0) being the team's “best of the rest” in the frontcourt. That group is hardly imposing and Cooley should have a big game. I mentioned that Xavier has ‘quietly’ worked its way in to the NCAA field and I say that because the Minutemen are a dismal 1-7-1 ATS over their last NINE games. Mike Brey got the Notre dame job after taking Delaware to two NCAAs in his five years there and now has the Fighting Irish in the Big Dance for the EIGHTH time in his 12 years at South Bend. He’s led this team to just ONE Sweet 16 in the past seven trips (clearly an underachieving performance) and has twice lost in his first game. However, that’s NOT happening here. The Irish get a great matchup vs a Xavier team which ‘goes away’ after tonight’s contest, which only seems right after its “reputation-destroying” incident vs Cincy back on Dec 10. Good riddance!