It's Big Monday and No. 5 Syracuse (17-1) vs. Notre Dame (14-4) is the game that kicks it all off at 7pm. Syracuse has 22-18 advantage in the all-time series and the Orange are 10-7 all-time at South Bend.
Syracuse has actually won five of the last six times it's gone to South Bend, but it doesn't feel like that, right? Probably because the last time, in '08, the Orange lost 94-87 in a high-scoring affair and featured the three-point-stylings of Kyle McAlarney. If there's a team that seems to know how to break down the Orange zone, it's Notre Dame.
McAlarney is gone but the Orange will still be faced with a slew of three-point shooters to contend with, including Tory Jackson, Ben Hansbrough (Tyler's little bro) and especially Tim Abromaitis.
A sophomore who has been slow to develop due to redshirting last year and a scarcity of minutes his freshman year, over half of Abromaitis’ field goal attempts have been threes, but he’s hit about half of them (47-95). Goofy-looking and pasty to boot, he’s got the look of a McAlarney successor.
Of course, Luke Harangody is still the man at ND, Arinze and RickJack will have their hands full as usual. Harangody is averaging 24 points and almost 10 rebounds a game. He's also on the verge of some big all-time Big East marks, currently held by SU players.
He currently ranks 12th on the Big East's career scoring list with 1,160 points. With 13 conference games left on the schedule, he would need to average 18.8 points per game to break former Syracuse star Lawrence Moten's mark of 1,405 points.
In addition, Harangody is sixth on the conference's all-time rebounding chart with 584 rebounds. He needs just 117 more rebounds, an average of 9.0 per game, to break Derrick Coleman's all-time record of 701.
The game might also be about something other than W's and L's. The Orange don't historically recruit well in the Midwest and a good showing here could speak volumes to the great recruiting base in the area.
SU has never done too well in this state, but the potential is right there: Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Josh McRoberts all hale from the region. And coach Rob Murphy's connections in that area (western Great Lakes) could be tapped, despite it's traditional stance as a Big 10 hot bed.
Mike Waters has the scouting report and if you want a preview of the action you can check out the video below. For the love of God though, let's steer clear of the blue jerseys.