Looking to rebound against a wounded giant
After building some positive momentum with wins in four of their previous five games, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-10 overall, 4-7 ACC) suffered a close loss against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets over the weekend. After that defeat put the .500 mark a little further from their grasp, the Irish must collect themselves and hit the road once again to take on the Duke Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils (7-7 overall, 5-5 ACC) are not quite as big and bad as they have been in years past, and are likewise licking their wounds after losing a hard-fought contest against their arch-rival North Carolina Tar Heels over the weekend. This Duke team is vulnerable, and in a season where the Irish are struggling and have little chance of a deep postseason run an upset in Durham would be a great highlight.
Can the Irish pull it off? It depends which Irish team you’re talking about. The one that showed up in Atlanta on Saturday night and took a 50-35 lead into halftime, shooting 66% from the field and 46% from beyond the arc can and should beat Duke. The one that squandered that lead almost instantly, turning the ball over and choking in humiliating fashion on its final possessions, on the other hand, will likely get run out of the arena. Consistency has been a struggle for the Irish all season, and they will need it to beat this Blue Devils team which, while not up to its normal standard, is still dangerous and competent.
The best individual matchup to watch in this one should be between the one two forwards – Nate Laszewski for the Irish and Matthew Hurt for the Blue Devils – who lead their respective teams in scoring and both shoot the ball well from distance despite their size. Look for those two big boys to be leading the way in this one.
With chances at glory likely few and far between for the Irish, a win over Duke would be a high point. The Irish have the pieces and the motivation; they just need to execute.
WHEN, WHERE AND HOW TO WATCH
When: Tuesday, 2/9 at 4:00 PM EST
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
How to Watch: ACC Network
Per usual, this article’s comment section is your game thread. Go Irish!