Exorcising the Demons (Part 1) – Irish/Orange Preview

The ACC sure didn’t do Notre Dame any favors.  After an excellent 2-1 road trip, the Irish come home to face two teams that have absolutely owned them since becoming a member of the ACC.

ND’s record the last three years against Syracuse and Virginia?  0-7.

We’ll cover the four ugly losses to Virginia in a separate preview, but let’s first discuss ND’s last three losses to the Orange.  Of obvious concern is the fact that the Irish have averaged 60.3 points against Cuse over the last three years (just wait for the Virginia stats…it gets worse).

2016 – Syracuse 81 ND 66


“Who cares that we won by 15. Look at my stylish suit, damn it.”

Last year’s trip to the Carrier Dome was a disaster.  The Irish trailed by 17 at half, as DJ missed the game with an injury.

One positive, Beach had 22 points against the zone, and was 5-9 from deep.  Matt Ryan played 22 minutes (the same amount he has played in six ACC games this year)…making two of nine triples.

2015 – Syracuse 65 ND 60


One of 37 first half complaints to the refs. (Rich Barnes – USA Today)

ND came into this late February tilt 24-4, and 12-3 in the ACC.  While they attacked the zone pretty successfully (30 FT attempts), they were ice cold from behind the arc (3-22).  Brick after brick after brick…

Stove was 0-6 from deep in this one, and the Irish turned it over 14 times.  After this L, they went on to win eight consecutive games before the epic Elite Eight game against Kentucky.

2014 – Syracuse 61 ND 55 


“33 isn’t good enough, Trevor.” (Jasen Vinlove – USA Today)

Syracuse was undefeated at 21-0 and #1 in the country coming into this one, and they needed the “Trevor Cooney Game” to beat an Irish team plodding through it’s first ACC season.  Cooney scored 33 of the Orange’s 61…that’s ridiculous.

As a frosh, Stove played 37 minutes and scored 13 points.  Old feelings (not good ones) came up seeing Garrick Sherman’s name in a box score.

Five Things to Know about Syracuse

1. Trevor Cooney is gone.  Hallelujah!!!

Boeheim Nose Pick

Not the most embarrassing thing to happen in a Syracuse – St. John’s game.

2. Here are some of the teams Jimmy B’s boys have lost to so far this year:

UConn (woof)
G’Town (not good)
St. John’s (by 33 at home…HUH?)
BC (by 15).

The other four losses were by double digits.  Cuse sits at 3-3 in the ACC, with three wins in the Carrier Dome and three losses on the road.  Let’s continue that trend.


“Why the hell can’t everyone be as awesome as Eric Devendorf?”

3. Jimmy B played six guys (not counting the scrub action at the end) at UNC on Monday.  Six.  Frank Howard started 14 games for the Orange at PG, but only got off the bench in the final minutes of the game.  Jimmy B was his usual pleasant self on a radio show when asked whether guard Tyus Battle was an option at point.

From Syracuse.com…

“No,” Boeheim said. “No. I can’t believe you’d even ask that question. He’s never played point in his life. He’s been a 3 or 2 for his whole life. … How could you even. …. Just because the point guards aren’t playing well doesn’t mean we have to move someone over there that’s never played there.”

“I thought that you knew enough about basketball that you would know the answer to that,” Boeheim said. “Please don’t ask me if Tyler Lydon can play point.”

4. Speaking of Lydon, he is a talented stretch 4, who had 26 in the 17-point loss to UNC.  He and Andrew White (a fifth-year transfer from Nebraska) are the only Orange players averaging double figures.  Lydon, White (7.7 attempts per game) and Battle all shoot better than 40% from deep, which surely will be a point of emphasis for the Irish.


“If I had anyone else he wouldn’t play a minute.”  Oh wait, that’s an actual quote from Jimmy B. (Sterling Boin – Daily Orange)

5. Didn’t Tyler Roberson have like 58 rebounds at Duke last year?  He doesn’t start anymore, only plays 21 minutes a game, and averages 6.6 PPG / 5.8 RPG.  I thought he was going to be better.

Enough about that curmudgeon’s squad.  On to the nerdy stuff.

Ten Stats to Impress Your Buddies

1. ND shot 15-21 (71%) from deep in Wednesday’s loss to FSU.  The first thing that comes to my mind is a potential regression to the mean.  In ACC play, Stove is hitting 48.3% and Farrell is at 50% from behind the arc.

2. 2nd half Farrell was much better than 1st half Farrell against FSU.  1st half – 0 assists, 5 turnovers.  2nd half – 7 assists, 1 turnover.

3.  Bonz struggled against the length of the ‘Noles (9 points, 8 rebounds).  That’s now four straight games with less than 15 points, and in the last two, he has not taken double-digit shots.  He’s still averaging 13.8 PPG / 11.8 RPG in league play.

4.  ND has now been outrebounded in five of six ACC games, with a -3.7 rebound margin.  Beach is averaging 2.8 RPG in league play, which I’d like to see creep up towards four a game.

5.  T.J. Gibbs just doesn’t play like a freshman.  25 points in the last two games, 5 points in the previous three games.  The kid is going to be a stud.

6. While the Irish still lead the country in FT shooting at 82.4%, they are at 76.7% in ACC play.  Bonz missed a big one-and-one late against FSU.

7.  Beach against Clemson and FSU:  10-15 (66.7%) from deep.  Other four games:  1-14 (7.1%).

8. After 18 turnovers against the ‘Noles, ND’s assist-to-turnover ratio in league play is 1.35.  They remain #2 in the country at 1.77 for the season.

9. Both teams are Top 50 in 3-point shooting:  ND #11 (40.9%), Cuse #41 (38.9%).  The Irish are shooting 43.1% from deep as a team in ACC play.

10. Bonz has 71 rebounds in six ACC games.  The other four starters have 78 combined.


Give this man some help on the glass.


11 a.m. (CST) – ESPN

YES. No feed from 1985 that WatchESPN made us suffer through on Wednesday.


ND -8


Coming off a loss, expect the Irish to come out quickly and take it to the ornery Jimmy B.  While they won’t hit 71% again from three, they’ll make enough to get a relatively comfortable win.  Please no “game situations,” Irish.

Notre Dame 78 Syracuse 66


One response to “Exorcising the Demons (Part 1) – Irish/Orange Preview

  1. Pingback: The Absurdity of College Gameday…and Saturday Picks | HEAD VS GUT·

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