With struggles all around, Notre Dame’s schedule will not get any easier, as the Irish host Virginia today.
What was “the tough road ahead” has arrived. Notre Dame men’s basketball had a ridiculous schedule for the month of January and it’s about to get more difficult. With No. 3 and No. 2 in a three-day stretch looming, the Irish will first host Virginia today.
This month has gone about as bad as Notre Dame could have imagined. Sitting at 1-5 in the ACC with their lone coming by way of a three-point win over Boston College, the Irish are desperate to turn things around.
In all fairness, Notre Dame’s last four losses have been by an average of 5.5 points. They’ve proven that they can run with the rest of the ACC, they just haven’t been able to finish games.
There is a feeling that this team, no matter how far south things go, will be able to surprise us when it’s all said and done.
Will Virginia be the game that changes that?
The Cavaliers come into this game the way they always do — as one of the best defensive teams in the nation. They hold opponents to an average of 52.4 ppg — tops in the nation.
Notre Dame’s best chance is to double down on their defense. The constant issue with this team is their lack of consistency on the offensive end. John Mooney will have his double-double that he’s averaged for the season and one underclassman will have close to a career day.
Outside of that, this is a very streaky shooting team. With how Virginia plays defense, the Irish will not be able to find 80-some points to outscore the Cavaliers.
Offensively is where this Virginia team differs from last season. They won’t put up record numbers, but paired with their defense, it’s a problem.
Kyle Guy, an Indiana product, is currently holding an 18 game 3-pointer streak while averaging 15 ppg. But the arguably bigger issue will be the ever-growing offensive weapon that is De’Andre Hunter.
Shooting 53-percent from the field, Hunter is the type of player that succeeds in any iso situation. But, if there’s a team that can figure it out on the defensive end, it’s a Mike Brey led team.
Tip off is today at 1 p.m. ET. You can catch the action on CBS.