Delaware State (2-12) at (12) Notre Dame (7-2)
Saturday, December 20th, 7:00 p.m. (et).
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Joyce Center (11,418) -- South Bend, Indiana. Television: Local. Home Record: Delaware St. 2-1, Notre Dame 4-0. Away Record: Delaware St. 0-8, Notre Dame 1-0. Neutral Record: Delaware St. 0-3, Notre Dame 2-2. Conference Record: Delaware St. 1-0, Notre Dame 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The 12th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish are heavily favored in this evening's home matchup with non-conference foe Delaware State.
The Hornets have already played 14 games this season, and 12 of those have resulted in defeat. They currently own a three-game losing streak that includes a 60-55 setback at Rutgers last Sunday. Delaware State, which is 0-8 in true road games, figures to be much more competitive against teams from the MEAC than most of the non-conference opponents it has faced.
Notre Dame has been idle since last Saturday when it recorded a 74-67 triumph over Boston University. The Fighting Irish, who are 7-2 overall, suffered their only two loss to top-ranked North Carolina and a strong Ohio State squad. The most impressive victory thus far came by a single point over Texas.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Delaware State and Notre Dame on the hardwood.
Generating offense has proven to be extremely problematic for Delaware State, which is averaging only 55.9 ppg. The club is permitting 69.6 ppg to the opposition, and it certainly hasn't helped matters that the Hornets have committed 82 more turnovers than the clubs they have faced. Donald Johnson leads the Hornets with 11.0 ppg, and Frisco Sandidge provides 10.6 ppg. As for Arturo Dubois, he adds 10.5 ppg and 8.9 rpg to the lineup. In the five-point loss to Rutgers last time out, Delaware State got 15 points and 14 rebounds from Dubois. Sandidge pitched in 11 points before fouling out for the Hornets, who shot only 38.2 percent from the floor and finished with nearly twice as many turnovers as assists.
Opponents that play Notre Dame have to worry about Luke Harangody and Kyle McAlarney, one of the top inside/out duos in the nation. Harangody is scoring 23.0 ppg on 51.2 percent shooting from the floor, and the big man is ripping down 12.4 rpg as well. He is the reigning Big East Conference Player of the Year and figures to contend for that honor again. McAlarney has knocked down 43 three-pointers through nine games and is averaging 18.6 ppg. Ryan Ayers (12.7 ppg) and Tory Jackson (11.9 ppg, 6.0 apg) add balance to the lineup. Harangody racked up 23 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and blocks to carry the Fighting Irish to victory over Boston University last weekend. McAlarney pitched in 16 points in that tilt, and Notre Dame finished with 20 assists against only seven turnovers. It also helped that the club managed to limit the Terriers to 36.9 percent shooting from the field.
There is no reason that this game should even be close, as Notre Dame figures to dominate Delaware State from the opening tip. Expect McAlarney and Harangody to put up big numbers as usual.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Notre Dame 79, Delaware State 55
12/20 10:26:41 ET