"I think it's Irish guys because Gerry killed you for four years," Boeheim said. "Gerry didn't lose at Notre Dame. I think he won all four times out there. Trevor killed Notre Dame the whole game last year and then this year, right at the end. It must be those Irish guys. You've got to get those Irish guys."
Naturally, that begs the question. Do Syracuse's Irish players play better when they're taking on the Irish? Do we have to make sure we have an Irish guy on the roster at all times for just such an occasion? We did some extremely analytical analysis to find out.
Here's some season stats for both Gerry McNamara and Trevor Cooney compared to when they went head-to-head with Notre Dame. Each instance of that player vs. ND is under the season it happened.
|Player||Points||3pt %||Reb||Ast||FG %|
|Gerry McNamara 02-03||13.3||.357||2.3||4.4||.401|
|Gerry McNamara vs. ND||18.5||.566||3.0||4.5||.514|
|Gerry McNamara 03-04||17.2||.389||2.6||3.8||.385|
|Gerry McNamara vs. ND||18.5||.287||2.5||5.5||.400|
|Gerry McNamara 04-05||15.8||.340||2.3||4.9||.370|
|Gerry McNamara vs. ND||22||.316||1.5||4||.388|
|Gerry McNamara 05-06||16.0||.334||2.7||5.9||.353|
|Gerry McNamara vs. ND||25||.438||1||4||.348|
|Trevor Cooney 12-13||3.4||.267||0.8||0.6||.322|
|Trevor Cooney vs. ND||6||.400||0||0||.333|
|Trevor Cooney 13-14||12.1||.375||2.1||1.1||.404|
|Trevor Cooney vs. ND||33||.750||2||2||.733|
|Trevor Cooney 14-15||13.5||.315||2.9||2.2||.359|
|Trevor Cooney vs. ND||11||.167||3||2||.455|
In the case of McNamara, there's something there. Gerry inherently scored more points than on average when he took on the Irish, even having better shooting nights than average in most contests as well.
As for Cooney, it's really all about that one game last season when he had The Most Trevor Cooney Game Ever. This year he made some clutch shots late but it wasn't a complete performance and he actually scored less and shot worse from three than he usually does.
Next year will be the true test of Boeheim's theorem. If Cooney can put together another standout performance when the Orange and Irish meet, we might have to give credence. In the meantime, I don't know if anyone's looked into Tyler Lydon's ancestry, but we might have our bases covered just in case.