Under-whelming

Most sports books featured on the SportsOptions odds product have installed West Virginia as a six-point home favorite, with the total posted at 126½.

Notre Dame (15-8 SU/7-8-2 ATS) is coming off a 76-59 home win over 15th-ranked Marquette on Saturday as 2½-point underdogs. Pat Connaughton scored 23 points, as Notre Dame earned its fourth straight win and snapped Marquette’s seven-game winning streak in the process.

Eric Atkins added 18 points and Jerian Grant chipped in 12 for the Fighting Irish, who have beaten three ranked teams as part of their current four-game run.

Connaughton finished 5-for-8 from three-point range and 9-of-12 overall. The Irish shot 50 percent for the game (28-of-56) and connected on 11-of-23 from three-point land. Marquette made just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc (15 percent) and hit 39.1 percent overall. Connaughton also had 11 rebounds in the victory.

Notre Dame started its run by knocking off then-unbeaten and No. 1 Syracuse and also defeated a ranked Connecticut team in its previous outing. The Irish have beaten five ranked teams this season, also prevailing over Louisville and Pittsburgh when both teams were among the top 25.

The team took a hit early in the season with the loss of Tim Abromaitis (knee), last year’s leading returning scorer, but the Irish have adjusted to life without him.

Atkins leads the team in scoring at 12.9 PPG and is shooting 42.5 percent from long range. Grant is both a dependable scorer (12.7 ppg) and an effective distributor of the ball with 4.9 APG. Jack Cooley adds 10.6 PPG and leads the team in rebounding with 8.4 boards per game. The Irish also get solid contributions from Scott Martin (9.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG), Alex Dragicevich (7.4 PPG), and Connaughton (6.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG).

West Virginia (16-8 SU/12-9 ATS) is off an 87-84 OT win at Providence on Sunday as a six-point road chalk. Darryl Bryant knocked down a three-pointer in the waning seconds of overtime to lift the Mountaineers over the Providence Friars in Big East Conference action.

Bryant finished with a game-high 32 points as West Virginia snapped a three-game slide. Deniz Kilicli added 22 points and Kevin Jones chipped in with 20 points. Gary Browne grabbed nine boards and dished out six assists in the win.

West Virginia trailed 42-36 at the break after Providence shot an impressive 63 percent from the field in the first half. The Friars began the second half with a 7-0 run to gain a 13-point lead, but West Virginia went on a 19-10 run in the final eight minutes to force overtime where they outscored Providence 11-8 to escape with the non-cover win.

Jones is one of the most dominant players in the Big East as he averages a double-double with 20.8 PPG and 11.2 RPG. Bryant adds an impressive 17.1 PPG and Kilicli rounds out the double-digit scorers with 11.0 PPG, while also grabbing 5.6 RPG. Jabarie Hinds (8.0 PPG) and Browne (6.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG) also figure into the mix.

The Mountaineers took the only meeting with the Irish last year, winning 72-58 as four-point home favorites last February 19. Notre Dame is 4-1 ATS off a SU and ATS win and 27-11 ATS in Big East games. However, the Irish are just 5-11 ATS on the road against winning teams (above 60 percent) and 5-12 ATS on the road against teams with a winning home record.

West Virginia is 8-3 ATS at home and 6-2 ATS following an ATS loss and the home team is 5-1 ATS the last six meetings. The ‘under’ is now 12-0 the last dozen times these two have met, including 8-0 when they square off in Morgantown.

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