3 players to watch in Notre Dame basketball's tilt against Virginia

The Notre Dame basketball team begins the ACC schedule in earnest against one of the best teams in the conference. Who should fans keep an eye on?

Dec 22, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Markus Burton (3) reacts
Dec 22, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Markus Burton (3) reacts / Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
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The Notre Dame basketball team has had a rather up and down season so far, though honestly, it's been more down than up. The Fighting Irish are 5-7 on the season and while they're coming off a win against Marist, it's been a while since Micah Shrewsberry's squad has looked particularly good.

That's the bad news. The good news is that having the kind of struggles the Irish have seen so far this season means they can only surprise someone like the Virginia Cavaliers. Shrewsberry's crew isn't expected to win today. In fact they're 9.5-point dogs according to FanDuel.

10-2. ACC Network. 443. Virginia -9.5. 446. December 30, 2023. Notre Dame vs Virginia Basketball. 5-7. 12:00pm

But what if they could? What if Notre Dame basketball could pull off a victory? There is a trio of players that fans should keep an eye on if they're holding out hope for a Saturday shocker.

. . Reece Beekman. . . player. Reece Beekman. Reece Beekman. PG. 446

The Virginia Cavaliers are where they are in large part thanks to Reece Beekman and his ability to dole out the ball while also being a scoring threat all on his own. Beekman's 5.7 assists per game is close to tops in the ACC and the nation. According to KenPom he's third in the country in ARate.

In other words, Virginia assists divided by the field goals made by the player’s teammates while he is on the court. That's just one of the reasons why he's considered one of the best players in his conference.

Beekman is also scoring 12.9 points per game, making him the Cavs leading scorer. The fact of the matter is that if Notre Dame basketball wants to pull off the upset, they're going to need to find a way to make Reece Beekman a non-factor.

Of course, very few teams have managed to make Beekman a non-factor so far this season. Can Notre Dame basketball somehow manage to do that? Stay tuned.