Day & Time: Saturday, February 20, 2 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Line: Syracuse -3
TV/Streaming: ACC Network, WatchESPN
Notre Dame Blog: One Foot Down
Rivalry: 30-22, Syracuse
Current Streak: 1, Syracuse
First Meeting: By early basketball standards, Syracuse had an offensive field day against Notre Dame on February 12, 1914. The Orange won comfortably 50-14 with Lew Castle scoring 20 points.
Last Meeting: Both teams blew double-digit leads at one point during the January 22, 2020 game in South Bend. In the end, a strong start to the second half from Elijah Hughes and clutch shots from Buddy Boeheim down the stretch were just enough for Syracuse to hang onto an 84-82 win over Notre Dame on the road.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Jim Boeheim (45th year, 1,077-405) | Notre Dame - Mike Brey (21st year, 446-243)
Coach Bio: Brey started his collegiate basketball career with Northwestern State for three years and finished at George Washington during his final season. He would return to his high school, the prolific DeMatha High School in Maryland, as an assistant for five years before being hired by Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. Brey served as an assistant on Krzyzewski’s staff for eight seasons before taking the head coaching job at Delaware in 1995. He led the Blue Hens to three 20-plus win seasons and two NCAA tournament appearances during his five years as head coach.
Brey then became the head coach of Notre Dame in 2000, where he has stayed since. The Fighting Irish have accumulated 15 20-plus win seasons and 12 NCAA tournament appearances. That includes a 32-win campaign during the 2014-15 season where Notre Dame won the ACC tournament, the only conference championship that the Fighting Irish have won under Brey. His deepest tournament runs with the Fighting Irish were back-to-back trips to the Elite Eight in 2015 and 2016.
Last Year: After a dismal 2018-19 campaign that saw Notre Dame suffer only its second losing record under Brey, the Fighting Irish bounced back in the 2019-20 season. Despite not winning a game against a ranked opponent, Notre Dame increased its overall win total from the previous season by six and its conference win total by seven. The Fighting Irish got the seven seed in the ACC tournament and beat Boston College in its first game. Notre Dame was scheduled to play Virginia in the next round before the tournament’s cancellation.
Last Game: A season-high 18 points from Nikola Djogo propelled the Fighting Irish to a second-half lead over Miami on February 14. The Hurricanes briefly retook the lead with 6:30 left to go in the game, but the Fighting Irish clamped down defensively to secure a 71-61 lead.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: The last thing this Syracuse defense needs to face this season is a stretch forward. Nate Laszewski leads the Fighting Irish in points per game with 15.2 and rebounds per game with 7.5. To make matters worse, the 6-foot-10 forward is 32-of-62 from deep, which is a 51.6% clip.
If Syracuse Wins: Clemson rules apply here. An immediate two-touchdown advantage for Syracuse the next time the football programs meet on the gridiron.
If Syracuse Loses: Which college basketball bracketologist says “bubble burst” first?
Fun Fact: Back in the Big East days, Syracuse dominated Notre Dame, The Orange were 20-8 against the Fighting Irish as Big East foes.