**Notre Dame at Syracuse**
--After winning eight consecutive games, Syracuse (18-3 straight up, 10-7 against the spread) has dropped back-to-back contests. The Orange went down 65-55 Saturday at Pittsburgh as a three-point underdog. They lost a 75-71 decision at Villanova in overtime the previous Saturday.
--Jim Boeheim’s team is mired in a 1-5 ATS slump in its last six games. The ‘Cuse is unbeaten in 13 home games at the Carrier Dome, though. They are 6-3 ATS at home.
--BetOnline.com opened Syracuse as a 9 ½-point favorite.
--Notre Dame (18-4 SU, 10-9 ATS) lost three of four games in mid-January. Since then, however, the Fighting Irish have won three in a row, including Saturday’s 79-71 win at DePaul in overtime. Mike Brey’s team hooked up its backers with a miracle cover as a six-point road favorite. Jack Cooley had an incredible game, logging minutes of playing time and producing 26 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots. Eric Atkins added 16 points, five assists, four steals and three boards.
--Syracuse is ranked ninth in the RPI with a 3-1 record against RPI Top 50 opponents and an 8-3 mark against RPI Top 100 foes.
--Notre Dame has an RPI of 40. The Irish are 3-2 against RPI Top 50 foes and 7-4 vs. the RPI Top 100.
--Notre Dame has only been an underdog once this year, winning 66-60 at Cincinnati as a 4 ½-point puppy.
--Syracuse is led by Brandon Triche, who is averaging 14.9 points per game. C.J. Fair, a junior forward from Baltimore, is averaging 13.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
--Cooley is enjoying an outstanding senior campaign, averaging team-high in points (15.0 PPG), rebounds (11.3 RPG), 3-point percentage (50%) and field-goal percentage (58.8%).
--Syracuse’s James Southerland (13.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG) remains ‘out’ due to eligibility concerns. Notre Dame is also missing a key player, as Scott Martin (7.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG) will miss his fourth straight game with a knee injury.
--When these teams met in South Bend last year, Notre Dame captured a 67-58 win as a nine-point home underdog. Cooley was the catalyst for the Irish with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
--Totals have been an overall wash (8-8) for Notre Dame this season, but the ‘under’ has cashed in six of its last eight games.
--The ‘under’ is 8-7 overall for the ‘Cuse.
--The ‘under’ has connected in the last three head-to-head meetings.
--Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**Texas at West Virginia**
--Both of these proud programs are in the midst of nightmare seasons. Unless they win out or win the Big 12 Tournament, both schools are going to miss the NCAA Tournament – and possibly the NIT, too!
BetOnline.com opened West Virginia (10-11 SU, 7-10-2 ATS) as a 4 ½-point ‘chalk.’
--Texas (10-11 SU, 10-9 ATS) has not missed the NCAA Tournament since 1998. In fact, the Longhorns have heard their name called on Selection Sunday in all 13 previous seasons during Rick Barnes’s tenure. But the Longhorns have lost six of their last eight games.
--Texas picked up its second Big 12 victory Saturday by thumping TCU 60-43 as an 11 ½-point home favorite. Sheldon McClellan scored a game-high 15 points for the winners.
--West Va. has not missed the Big Dance since 2007. The Mountaineers had lost five of their last six until beating up on Texas Tech in Saturday’s 77-61 victory as 4 ½-point road favorites. Freshman guard Eron Harris led the way with 18 points.
--Bob Huggins’s squad is 6-3 SU but 2-4-1 ATS at home in Morgantown. WVU has been a single-digit home favorite twice, failing to cover the number both times.
--Texas has been a road underdog five times this season, compiling a 3-2 spread record.
--These teams met in Austin on Jan. 9 and West Va. captured a 57-53 win in overtime as a 4 ½-point road underdog. Aaric Murray scored had a double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and four steals, while Jabarie Hinds was also in double figures with 11 points.
--McClellan averages a team-high 14.9 PPG for the ‘Horns, but he was held to nine points against WVU earlier this year. The Mountaineers forced him into an abysmal 2-of-13 shooting night.
--The ‘under’ is 9-6 overall for Texas, but the ‘over’ is 4-1 in its five true road assignments. The ‘over’ is also 3-1 in the Longhorns’ last four games.
--The ‘under’ is 10-9 overall for WVU, but the ‘over’ is 4-3 in its seven home games with a total.
--ESPN will have the telecast at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--Florida has won 10 consecutive games by 14 points or more. However, the Gators saw their 8-0 ATS run halted in last night’s 78-64 win over Ole Miss as 17 ½-point home favorites.
--BetOnline.com opened Iowa St. as a five-point home favorite for Monday’s Big 12 showdown vs. Oklahoma. ESPNU will have television coverage at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
--BetOnline opened Pitt as a 15 ½-point home favorite for Monday’s Big East clash vs. Seton Hall. Tip-off is slated for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU.
--What has happened to Old Dominion? Two seasons ago, the Monarchs got beat at the buzzer by Butler’s Matt Howard in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. As we know, the Bulldogs went on to play for the national title. Then last season, they won 22 games. This year? Blaine Taylor’s squad is an atrocious 2-19 straight up going into Monday’s game vs. George Mason as a five-point home underdog.
--Not that it matters, but who do you think should be No. 1 this week? My vote is for the Gators, but it will most likely be Indiana following its 81-73 win over Michigan as a 5 ½-point home favorite. All five IU starters scored in double figures with Cody Zeller leading the way with 19 points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
--Iowa had a golden opportunity to bolster its resume Sunday at Minnesota, but it let a lead get away in the final minute of a 62-59 loss. Gamblers taking the Hawkeyes were hooked up, though, as 10-point underdogs.
--Villanova’s profile has been on the rise but that’s a bad home loss to Providence on Sunday afternoon.