Notre Dame sits comfortable at 4-0 and in second in the ACC. But before they take one #1 Florida State, they need to get past Virginia Tech.
The Fighting Irish head to Virginia to take on the Hokies. As Notre Dame hopes to stay perfect in the ACC, Virginia Tech just wants to move above .500 in the conference.
With the struggling ACC, Notre Dame is hoping to turn this hot start into a conference championship. They may not be playing Duke or North Carolina, but to the Irish, every game is just as important.
The two intriguing matchups to watch for will be Bonzie Colson vs Zach LeDay, and whoever is guarding Chris Clarke.
Colson has already secured his name as one of the best frontcourt players in the country. Leading Notre Dame in points and rebounds, the junior forward has been the Irish’s best player all season. LeDay has been known more of a scorer than a rim protector this season but will have to control the paint if he wants to outlast Colson.
Against Clarke, Notre Dame better find a physical guard to face him. Averaging 7.6 rebounds per game, Clarke will be a threat for the Irish with his scoring and athleticism in the paint.
The Irish’s solution to stopping Clarke may be a group effort. Matt Farrell will likely take the first duty of stopping this 6’6 sophomore. From there, Notre Dame will probably use Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachem to contain Clarke.
Virginia Tech has the same issue as Notre Dame, and it will be the reason they fall short. The Hokies have struggled to find depth in 2016-2017 much like the Irish. The only difference is that Notre Dame has one of the most talented and determined starting five in college basketball.
Without exhausting their core players, the Hokies won’t be able to outmatch Notre Dame. They’re going to have to out run the Irish, which is essence will only tire their stars as well. Without a deep bench, the Hokies come into this matchup with a significant disadvantage.
They don’t have the talent to beat the Irish face-to-face, and they don’t have the depth to wear Notre Dame out. The Irish should take home a win and move to 5-0 in the ACC heading to Florida State.
Here’s how to watch Notre Dame vs Virginia Tech:
Date: Saturday, January 14, 2017
Start Time: 2:00 PM EST
Location: Blackburg, VA
Venue: Cassell Coliseum
Live Stream: ACC Network