Notre Dame Basketball: V.J. Beachem’s Big Game Against Clemson Means Nothing


Notre Dame basketball barely escaped Clemson behind a big game from V.J. Beachem. But don’t think this game was anything special.

With a 75-70 win over Clemson, the Fighting Irish move to 3-0 in the ACC and are sitting pretty at the top with Florida State. It was a close one in South Bend, as the Irish barely pulled off a victory late in the second-half.

What sparked the Irish over the Tigers in this one was a huge scoring night from V.J. Beachem. Finishing with 22 points, the senior forward was the biggest impact in Notre Dame’s win. With a late three with under a minute left in the game, Beachem gave the Irish the push they needed to edge Clemson.

Don’t expect Beachem’s big scoring game to mean anything, though. We’ve seen Beachem have these type of games before. It isn’t a surprise he had a big day, even after two horrid games.

The preseason Wooden Award watch list player has become the least valuable option in this Notre Dame starting five recently. Some games, the Irish may have even played better without him even on the court.

Don’t get it wrong, Beachem is an exceptional basketball player. He isn’t a bust or an overhyped athlete. He was just in a funk. Many people believe this game was the breakout performance he needed, but looking at his season, it was just an impressive day and nothing more.

At 6’8, 200 pounds, there’s no question that next year Beachem will be competing for minutes in an NBA locker room. If he can have an impressive run towards the end of the season, he could even be a first-round pick, possibly even towards the lottery end. It’ll be well deserved after four years of hard work and leadership at Notre Dame.

Beachem isn’t playing any worse than the Irish need him to. He’s never been known for his defense and has always been a more valuable asset with his scoring than anything else. A 22-point game isn’t much for him. It may tie his season high, but he hasn’t been too far off every other game.

The sharp-shooter averages 14.6 points per game this season and has had three games under 10 points. He may not have done much in his previous two outings, but look three games back, and he’s still the scorer he’s known to be.

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Through 15 games, Beachem has shot 50% or higher nine times. All but three of those under 50% shooting games, Beachem finished with at least 15 points. This guy scores and he hasn’t stopped scoring all season.

A two-game funk is always something to be concerned about. As fans, coaches, and teammates, the concern will always be about when he’ll begin to produce again. But with the season he and the Irish have been having, two games isn’t going to hurt Notre Dame much.

This team has one of the best starting units in the nation. When one player doesn’t perform, they have two more coming off the bench who can play just as well as the starters. Notre Dame isn’t low on superstar talent. They may not have a lot of depth, but the core of this team consists of guys who can step up at any time.

Don’t let Beachem’s two-game slump fool you. This team and this forward are exactly where they want to be. Three games into ACC play, Notre Dame would rather him get this poor stretch over with now, then late in the season.

It was two games. V.J. Beachem and the Irish are going to be fine.