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November 22, 2017

There is one pick tonight.

Take Wichita State -3 spread against Notre Dame for 3% of the bankroll. 

A pair of heavyweights square off tonight in the championship game of the Maui Invitational as the #6 ranked Wichita State Shockers take on the #13 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Both teams have dominated their competition enroute to this showdown, so this should be a quality match prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.

There are a lot of similarities between these two teams which makes this matchup so intriguing. Both Wichita State and Notre Dame have experienced coaches who have been with the program for and there will be a lot of seniority on the floor for both sides. A main difference however is that Wichita State relies less on the shot beyond the arc than any other top team in the country. They are able to generate points the "old fashioned way" and that is with good ball movement, taking high quality shots and rebounding the basketball. It's been their toughness as a team in these key areas that has made this team successful.

While the Shockers play a more traditional, hard-nosed style of basketball, shooting the 3-ball is a big part of what Notre Dame does. While Wichita State only shot 19 threes against Marquette yesterday (with 6 made) Notre Dame, by contrast, went 15 for 32 against LSU in their semifinal matchup. While this type of style has worked for Notre Dame thus far this season, this will be their toughest defensive test they have seen all season long. In their matchup with Marquette, another high powered, perimeter shooting team, the Shockers managed to hold them to just 37.7% from the field and 9 of 32 from beyond the arc. Their ability to defend the perimeter shot will be critical in this matchup and the fact that they are 8th in the nation in rebounding, averaging 47.7 boards per night should allow them to limit the Irish’s second chance opportunities. Notre Dame has an efficient offense; however, it is tough to gain any type of momentum if you are going one-and-done each trip up the floor. If the ND players fail to hit their first shot, it could be a long night for the Irish in this contest.

This should be a hard-fought, back and forth matchup throughout and while everyone has to be impressed with the way the Notre Dame offense has looked thus far this season, we believe they will cool off tonight. The Shockers have the talent, depth, and defensive acumen to shut down the perimeter shots and if they can limit the damage done by the Irish from beyond the arc, they should be able to beat them up and grind them down in the post on their way to a win and cover tonight.

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