Notre Dame basketball is 4-0 in the ACC and are showing no signs of slowing down headed towards their matchup with Virginia Tech.
After yet another win in the ACC, Notre Dame is feeling confident and has all the power in their hands as they head to Virginia Tech. At 13-3, the Hokies are no laughing matter. But for the Irish, this is just another conference battle they expect to win.
Virginia Tech finished 2016 as strong as they could with a win over Duke. 2017, on the other hand, hasn’t been as kind. The Hokies are 1-2 since the turn of the new year and are starting to look like their win over Duke had more to do with the absence of Coach K and Grayson Allen than the talent of Virginia Tech.
Notre Dame comes into this game with one thing in mind, and that’s staying unbeaten in the conference. Alongside Florida State as the only perfect ACC teams, the Irish’s future is entirely in their hands. With a chance to dethrone the Seminoles on January 18th, Notre Dame is more determined than ever to win.
The Irish’s troubles this season have mostly come from the paint. When Bonzie Colson isn’t able to dominate the post, Notre Dame tends to struggle. Against VT, Colson has a challenge on his hands with Zach LeDay.
LeDay is the Colson of Virginia Tech. Leading the team in points (16.6 PPG) and second in rebounds per game (7.3 RPG), LeDay provides the Hokies spark in every matchup.
With one strong frontcourt player, Colson should be able to handle the paint. As one of the best big men in the country, Colson has shown he can outlast anyone down low when he only has to compete with one player.
What Notre Dame’s focus needs to be on in this game, though, is scoring. The Irish have struggled recently to find productivity through an entire game. At the beginning of the year, they started games better than almost any team in the NCAA. Now, they seem to be battling for the win during the final minutes of their last few matchups.
When V.J. Beachem, Matt Farrell, Colson, and the rest of their starters aren’t producing offensively, Notre Dame’s chances of winning decrease drastically. Without the depth of many other teams, the Irish rely heavily on the core seven or eight players to carry this team.
When it comes down to it, though, Notre Dame is still more talented than the Hokies. Even without a deep bench, the Irish have the firepower to beat Virginia Tech even with the lack of contribution from their starters. As long as two or three of their stars show up, Notre Dame has enough to outlast the Hokies.
After shaking off the road trip jet lag in Miami, Notre Dame should come out much sharper than they did in their last game. When they do, their last two matchups will be nothing more than a rough patch.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame beats Virginia Tech by… A lot.
The Irish have way too much going for them to lose to Virginia Tech. When Farrell, Beachem, and Colson are clicking, this team is nearly unstoppable.
They may have had two slow starts in their previous games, but they’ll shake it off. They need to gain momentum to carry into Florida State, and they know this is their opportunity to do so. A 10 point victory isn’t the objective in this one. What Notre Dame wants to do is win and win big.
Once Colson wins the battle down low, and the backcourt of Notre Dame starts hitting shots, this game will be too far out of reach for the Hokies. Don’t expect this one to be close.
If you have other plans or know of something going on after halftime, don’t expect to miss it because of a close Notre Dame vs Virginia Tech game.