Notre Dame basketball will go from playing the nation’s most efficient team last Saturday to playing perhaps the nation’s most talented team Monday.
Notre Dame has fallen to 1-6 in the ACC and things went about as south as possible in their most recent 82-55 loss to Virginia.
The depleted and young roster has left coach Mike Brey scratching his head. He has been forced out of his comfort zone with such a young roster. Injuries have continued to harm this team, as well.
There has been a revolving door of players into Notre Dame’s starting line up. Most recently Nate Laszewski was the newest member into the starting five. His three points on one-of-six shooting weren’t what the Irish were hoping for on Saturday afternoon.
We don’t know what the lineup will be for Duke, but it’s likely to be one with heavy defensive influence.
Tre Jones made his return in Duke’s 66-53 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. He scored six points, dished out four assists, and grabbed four rebounds. It took some time, but Jones did eventually shake off the rust after missing the last two weeks.
Duke ended that game on a 35-15 run, but the Yellow Jackets exposed some issues. The zone was something that Duke struggled with in transition. Cam Reddish was also held to 1-of-11 shooting.
Notre Dame’s John Mooney has 12 double-doubles this season and his rebounding will be key when the Irish face the Blue Devils Monday night. It will also take a much more balanced scoring performance for Notre Dame to hang around.
On Saturday, Mooney was the only Irish player in double-figure scoring. Notre Dame will not be able to find success being that one-dimensional.
Brey will also be focusing on how to force Duke into settling for jump shots. They are one of the worst teams in the ACC from beyond the arc. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, there has been no recent update on Juwan Durham. If Durham is unavailable to play against Duke, his shot-blocking will be missed against a Duke team that likes to attack the basket.
At this point, it’s David vs. Goliath as these two teams’ seasons head in opposite directions. Tip-off is set for 7 PM EST as part of ESPN’s Big Monday slate.