Syracuse and Notre Dame meet on Wednesday evening in South Bend. Can the orange win Saturday and go on a long run to finish the regular season? Or will Notre Dame rebound after losing a tough road to Wake Forest?
TV schedule: Wednesday, February 23 at 7 p.m. EST. ESPN news
Arena: Joyce Center in South Bend, Indiana.
Syracuse (14-12, 8-7 ACC) travels to Notre Dame by winning their latest game Saturday at home to Boston College in blast style, 76-56. Syracuse this year has been very inconsistent. If you need proof, look no further than their record.
In their last 10 games, they’ve been 6-4 and are playing a better brand of basketball with wins in five of their last six games overall. The Orange team kept home through thirteen matches, with the score being 10-3. The problem is far from Carrier Dome they are 3-6 in real road games.
It is no secret who Syracuse leads in court. Top guard Buddy Boeheim is the real man and captain of the Syracuse team. Boeheim will always be the main man in the scouts’ report to try to limit throughout the match for the opposing team. The problem is that even with all the attention, Buddy Boeheim always seems to be putting up big numbers night after night. How good is Buddy playing this year? Out of twenty-six games this season, Boeheim has been limited to single digits scoring only four times.
Besides Buddy Boeheim, Orange has three other starters with double-digit average scores in scoring. Those players are goalkeeper Joseph Gerrard III, along with forwards Cole Swayder and Jimmy Boheim. Villanova’s move at Cole Swider and Cornell’s move at Jimmy Boeheim was too huge for Orange. They are hovering around the .500 with them. It’s scary to imagine what their record would look like without being a good fit for Syracuse.
Syracuse suffered a heavy loss recently with injury to midfielder Jesse Edwards. Edwards’ sophomore senior man broke his wrist a few weeks ago against Boston College and will now miss the rest of the season. Jesse Edwards was really having a great year averaging 12 dpi and 6 rebounds. He was also a significant factor in being a back-line defender in the famous Syracuse area and being such a big body around the edge.
Notre Dame (19-8, 12-4 ACC) suffered a tough loss on the road at Wake Forest on Saturday as it fell 79-74. The Irish were at one point in the first half leading by 12 points, but were unable to hold off the talented Wake Forest team in the end. Much of this can be traced back to the fifteen coups perpetrated by the Irish. Something doesn’t happen often under coach Mike Bree at Notre Dame.
No one except the players and coaching staff has seen or expected Notre Dame to sit alone in second place in the ACC standings with only four conference games remaining in the regular season. If Notre Dame can take care of the business the rest of the way they will find themselves with a great chance of securing a double farewell at the upcoming ACC Championship in Brooklyn. They will also be on track to return to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2017.
It wasn’t always pretty for Notre Dame, but the Irish went on to win for the most part. They’ve been winning especially recently as the Irish have drawn 8-2 in their last 10 games. Notre Dame has lost only four games dating back to December 18th, more than two months ago. It shows you how well the Irish have played after their tough start to the season.
Senior goalkeeper Dane Goodwin and new goalkeeper Blake Wesley have been the Irish’s most consistent players all year. One of the players who really stepped up in ACC playing is striker Paul Atkinson Jr. Yale’s move at Atkinson Jr was very fruitful and everything the Irish coaching staff could have imagined when they brought him off the season. Paul Atkinson Jr. averages 12.3 points per inch and 6.9 rebounds. In his last 10 games, he’s reached double digits in scoring for eight of those games.
Neither of these teams go deep into their seats, but with Edwards hurting late at Syracuse, it should dig a little deeper in an effort to find more production. On the other hand, the Irish are still working on attacking full-back Nate Laszowski on the course after he missed a few matches with a leg injury. Goalkeeper Trey Wertz, along with Laszewski, gives Notre Dame a slight push off the bench to drop strikes from distance against the Syracuse area.
Notre Dame had had a dozen home games before this match, an impressive 11-1 with a lone loss against Duke last month. The factor that Syracuse struggled so far from home gives an advantage here to the Irish. This veteran-led Notre Dame team has only lost consecutive games at least once this season. We fully expect them to be back in a very competitive match against Syracuse.
Prediction: Notre Dame 79, Syracuse 72