Expect turnovers to be a big factor Saturday in South Bend. Notre Dame averages 10.4 turnovers per game, the fewest in the Big East and seventh fewest in the nation. The Fighting Irish are allowing a Big East-low 10.0 points per game off turnovers and have not given up more than 20 such points in a single game. Compare that to the Louisville Cardinals, who average 23.7 points per game off turnovers, the most by any "big six" conference school.
Over the past two seasons Louisville is 21-0 if it scores at least 24 points off turnovers, including 13-0 this season.
In transition, no one is better in the Big East than Louisville’s Russ Smith. He averages 6.1 transition points per game, the most in the Big East and sixth most in the nation.
However, Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley might be able to negate Louisville’s transition game. Cooley grabs 20.0 percent of Notre Dame’s missed shots while he’s on the floor, tied for the highest offensive rebounding percentage in the nation. Cooley has also scored the second most points on put backs in the nation (see chart).
No. 3 Michigan at Wisconsin
As good as Notre Dame is at taking care of the ball, the Irish aren’t as good as Wisconsin (9.2) and Michigan (9.4), who are first and second, respectively, in fewest turnovers per game. The only other Division I team that turns the ball over fewer than 10 times per game is Cal Poly (9.5).
Assuming both teams take care of the ball, the game will come down to Michigan’s offense against Wisconsin’s defense. The Wolverines lead the nation in offensive efficiency, scoring 121.5 points per 100 possessions. Michigan has scored less than 110 points per 100 possessions in two games this season -- and those were their two losses at Indiana and at Ohio State.
Wisconsin allows 92.3 points per 100 possessions in conference games, which is the best defensive efficiency in the Big Ten. Overall, the Badgers are 2-5 this season when they allow more than a point per possession.
No. 5 Kansas at Oklahoma
The Jayhawks have lost two straight, but haven’t lost three in a row since February of 2005. Good news for Bill Self’s squad is that Oklahoma has lost 10 straight game against opponents ranked in the top five.
Jeff Withey averages 4.2 blocks per game, third most in the nation. Out of Withey’s 92 blocks 82 have been kept inbounds (89.1 percent). Kansas has recovered 70 of those blocks and converted them into 66 points.