(25) Notre Dame (18-4) at (9) Syracuse (18-3)|
Monday, February 4, 7 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carrier Dome (33,000) -- Syracuse, New York. Television:
ESPN. Home Record: Notre Dame 13-2, Syracuse 13-0. Away Record: Notre Dame
3-1, Syracuse 4-2. Neutral Record: Notre Dame 2-1, Syracuse 1-1. Conference
Record: Notre Dame 6-3, Syracuse 6-2. Series Record: Syracuse leads, 24-19.
GAME NOTES: The suddenly struggling Syracuse Orange will attempt to bounce
back on Monday as they host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a Big East
Conference bout at the Carrier Dome.
This will be the first matchup between these teams since Notre Dame ruined
Syracuse's perfect season with a 67-58 decision at the Joyce Center on Jan. 2,
2012. The win by the Fighting Irish dropped Syracuse's all-time series lead to
Mike Brey's Fighting Irish survived a scare in Rosemont over the weekend as
they went into overtime with the DePaul Blue Demons after blowing a nine-point
halftime lead. Jack Cooley registered a monster double-double of 26 points and
16 rebounds, his 14th of the season, to help Notre Dame escape with a 79-71
victory that moved the team to 18-3, including 6-4 in the Big East standings,
a half-game behind Syracuse and Marquette for first place.
Cooley is having a sensational senior campaign, leading Notre Dame in scoring
(15.6) and the Big East in both total rebounding (11.3) and offensive
rebounding (4.6). The wide-bodied, 6-foot-9 forward has 27 career double-
doubles, which all have occurred in the last two seasons. The Fighting Irish
have a very balanced team supporting Cooley. They rank fourth in the nation as
a team in assists with 18.0 per contest, thanks to their stellar junior
backcourt combo of Eric Atkins (11.8 ppg, 6.2 apg) and Jerian Grant (12.6 ppg,
5.6 apg). Sophomore swingman Pat Connaughton provides just under 10 ppg along
with a tenacious approach on the defensive end. Scott Martin could make a big
impact as well after finishing with 13 points and six rebounds in Notre Dame's
upset of Syracuse last season.
Syracuse comes into this one looking to snap a two-game slide. First, the
Orange were upset, 75-71, in overtime at Villanova before they suffered a
65-55 setback at Pittsburgh on Saturday. The back-to-back setbacks have given
Jim Boeheim's squad its first losing streak during the conference portion of
the schedule since the 2010-11 campaign. Still, the team puts the nation's
longest homecourt win streak on the line, having won 35 straight at the
Despite the recent slump, Syracuse will be very tough to knock off. It is
leading the Big East in scoring offense at 76.0 ppg, and it is also fifth in
the 15-team league on the defensive end with an allowed average of only 59.3
ppg. The Orange were shorthanded in their loss at Pitt, as James Southerland
(academics) and DaJuan Coleman (knee) were both unable to play, which
shortened the team's bench. C.J. Fair led Syracuse with 20 points and Brandon
Triche scored 14 but couldn't stop Syracuse from its first losing streak in
nearly two years. Michael Carter-Williams added 13 points for Syracuse but the
nation's leader in assists dealt out just two helpers in the loss. The Orange
had just five assists on 18 baskets.
Triche (14.9 ppg), Fair (13.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg), and Carter-Williams (12.6 ppg,
8.6 apg) are the active Orange players carrying double-digit scoring averages
into Monday's action.
Although Syracuse is in a little bit of a slump, Notre Dame's near loss to a
suspect DePaul squad does not instill too much confidence in the Irish.
Carter-Williams has a chance to make a statement that his off-game at Pitt was
just that. The electrifying point guard will spearhead the charge as Syracuse
bounces back in The Loud House.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Syracuse 77, Notre Dame 68
02/04 13:31:53 ET