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Wednesday, December 19, 7 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Joyce Center (9,149) -- South Bend, Indiana. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: KSU 0-3, Notre Dame 8-0. Away Record: KSU 1-3, Notre Dame 0-0. Neutral Record: KSU 0-2, Notre Dame 2-1. Conference Record: KSU 0-0, Notre Dame 0-0. Series Record: Notre Dame leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The 22nd-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish will try to keep their incredible run at home alive when they play host to the Kennesaw State Owls on Wednesday Night.
It's been a rough start to the season for Kennesaw State to say the least. Since beating South Carolina State in overtime on Nov. 12 (67-65), the team has been mired in a seven-game losing streak. The Owls most recently lost on Sunday afternoon at home to Charlotte, 66-52.
Notre Dame has lived up to its preseason ranking by winning 10 games through the first five weeks, with only a 79-70 overtime setback on a neutral floor to Saint Joseph's keeping it from an undefeated mark. The Irish took care of business at home against IPFW on Monday night (74-62), and they now have a 14- game winning streak at the Joyce Center. They've also won 67 of their last 68 games against non-conference opponents on their home floor.
In the only previous matchup between these two programs, Notre Dame came away with an 80-62 home win in November of 2009.
Kennesaw State has been lackluster at both ends of the floor this year. Not only does it shoot just 39.9 percent from the field and average less than 60 ppg, but it also allows its opponents to make good on 50.9 percent of its field goal attempts for 68.9 ppg. It was more of the same in the Owls' 14- point home loss to Charlotte, as they were only 20-of-53 from the floor (.377). Breaking free from the struggles was Andrew Osemhen, who shot 7-of-10 from the field on his way to 14 points. Myles Hamilton also had a solid game, going 5-of-11 for 12 points. It didn't help that the team was without leading scorer Markeith Cummings, who puts up 18.4 ppg on nearly 50 percent accuracy from the floor. Delbert Love and Aaron Anderson are close to joining the double-digit scorers club, netting 9.9 ppg apiece, while Love leads the team in assists (3.8 apg) and Anderson rips down 8.2 rpg.
Unlike its counterpart in this matchup, Notre Dame has been outstanding in all aspects of the game this season, as it shoots 49.3 percent from the field while outscoring its foes by 15.0 ppg. It was just another day at the office for the Irish against IPFW, as they made good on 51.8 percent of their field goal attempts and led by double figures for the entire second half. Leading the way was Pat Connaughton, who barely missed from the floor (7-of-9) while tallying 18 points, six rebounds and five assists. Jack Cooley had another solid game in the paint with 14 points and eight boards, while Scott Martin drained 3-of-5 from beyond the arc on his way to 13 points. Not only does Cooley make 61.5 percent of his shots for 14.5 ppg, he's also one of the most physical forwards in the Big East, putting up 10.8 rpg and 1.7 bpg. Jerian Grant (11.9 ppg) and Eric Atkins (10.9 ppg) have combined for more than 12 assists per contest, while Garrick Sherman is a solid option coming off the bench with 10.0 ppg on 64.1 percent accuracy from the floor.
With a national power playing at home against a struggling program from a small conference, anything other than a huge Notre Dame victory would be a surprise.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Notre Dame 88, Kennesaw State 50
12/19 10:40:29 ET
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