The Irish face Depaul tomorrow in a must win game. Depaul is just 2-9 in Big East play. A loss to the Blue Demons would put a nasty bruise on Notre Dame’s resume for the “Big Dance.”
Home court advantage:
The Fighting Irish are 96-7 in their last 103 games played at home. That .932 home winning percentage over the course of the last six seasons ranks third nationally. Losing to Depaul just doesn’t make sense, at least according to these statistics.
Notre Dame seems to play well when the students show up and cheer on their team. The 12pm (eastern time) start time might be a little early for the students if they have homework and such, but I fully expect the student section to be crazy starting at game-time.
Players to watch for:
For Depaul, look to see how Cleveland Melvin plays. He averages the most minutes (31.8), rebounds (6.8), and points (18.2) on the team. Depaul isn’t a strong team, but look for the action to run through him.
For Notre Dame, look for Jack Cooley to play well. He had his 7th double-double of the season last Wednesday against West Virginia. Cooley was expected to fold against WVU’s powerful front-line, but he steeped up and was the factor that decided the game. I can’t see the Blue Demons stop him and I think he will have his 8th double-double of the season.
Notre Dame 68, Depaul 46
Notre Dame will roll over Depaul at home. The perimeter shooting for the Irish should be pretty decent (35-40%) and will help them pull away in the second half. The Irish will move to 8-3 and be “that much closer” to second place Marquette.
Game-time: 12pm eastern time
TV: Big East Network (Regional)
ABC 57 (South Bend area)
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