Day & Time: Saturday, January 6, 2018, 3:15 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Notre Dame blog: One Foot Down
Rivalry: 29-19, Syracuse
Current Streak: 1, Irish
First Meeting: Syracuse showed up in South Bend and embarrassed Notre Dame, 50-14. Lew Castle scored 20 points for SU en route to the Irish getting stomped like the rest of Syracuse’s opponents in 1913-14. It remains SU’s lone unbeaten season in program history (the 0-0 World War II-suspended season excluded).
Last Meeting: Notre Dame shot well from the jump, and the Irish beat Syracuse 84-66 last year. V.J. Beachem went off for 30 points and Notre Dame out-rebounded teh Orange by 11. SU pretty much had only three players who were a factor on offense -- with Tyler Lydon, Tyus Battle and Andrew White III combining for 57 points.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (42nd year, 1,016-360); Notre Dame: Mike Brey (18th year, 391-187)
Coach Bio: Brey played at Northwestern State and George Washington, then headed back to his high school alma mater (DeMatha) to serve as an assistant for the next five years. He jumped from there to Duke (somehow?), then became head coach at Delaware in 1995. Three 20-win seasons — and two NCAA Tournament bids — in five years earned him a call from Notre Dame. Brey has been there ever since, with 11 trips to March Madness, three Sweet 16s and two Elite Eights. Notre Dame also won the ACC Tournament in 2015.
Last Year: The Irish fell in a pretty entertaining ACC Championship Game to Duke, then managed to outlast Princeton in the first round of the NCAAs. West Virginia pretty much ran through them in the second round. But the 26-10 season with a breakout performance by Bonzie Colson was pretty good, for the most part.
Last Game: In the team’s first game without the injured Colson, the Irish completely blew out NC State 88-58. Notre Dame shot nearly 52 percent from the floor and hit 11 threes while out-rebounding the Wolfpack by 11 on the evening. TJ Gibbs led all scorers with 22 points, and ND held State to just under 34 percent shooting. So much for them being lost without Colson...
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: It’s probably Gibbs, who’s averaging nearly 15 points per game and is shooting over 47 percent from the floor (and from three). That skillset’s likely to be an asset versus the Orange, especially with more touches coming his way now that Colson is out of the lineup. He led the team with 12 shots vs. State, and also hit 7-of-8 from the line.
Jack Ferguson Memorial Random Three-Point Performance: Gibbs is a major threat from outside, but if we’re looking for something out-of-nowhere, Mooney’s 8-of-19 on the season and would seem to fit the bill. He comes in off the bench, but the forward gets involved on the glass. Mooney could be a pretty pesky contributor.
If Syracuse Wins: Things are back on track for the Orange, picking up a quality victory (albeit at home, against a team without its best player). The Wake Forest game displayed everything that could go wrong for this team. A win over ND would showcase all that can go right for a team that should be able to out-rebound most opponents (though certainly didn’t vs. the Deacons).
If Syracuse Loses: Now we’re officially in panic mode. Despite preseason expectations, Colson’s absence opened this one up as a potential win. And with tough games against Virginia and Florida State (both on the road) coming up, the Orange could very well be staring down a 1-4 start in the ACC with NCAA Tournament hopes already in serious doubt.
Fun Fact No. 1: Notre Dame is entering year 40 without a trip to the Final Four, having last made the national semifinals in 1978. That sounds like a long time, but it’s actually far fewer seasons than a bunch of other power conference teams have waited between appearances. Oregon just ended their drought of 78 years last season, while Pitt’s been absent from the Final Four for 77 years and Penn State hasn’t been there in going on 64 years. Rutgers, Kansas State, Florida State and Oregon State are some of the other programs with longer Final Four droughts than Notre Dame’s right now.
Fun Fact No. 2: In terms of flaming out in the NCAA Tournament, Notre Dame was Georgetown before it was (un)cool. From 2007 through 2013, the Irish lost to double digit seeds five separate times (four of those in the first round). Mike Brey’s since acquitted himself pretty well, however, making two Elite Eight appearances in the last three years. Still, not the best track record in March.