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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. 443. Markus Burton. SG. . Markus Burton. Markus Burton. . . player

Markus Burton has been the end-all and be-all for Notre Dame basketball this season. In games where he’s been red hot, the Irish have had a real shot at pulling off big wins. In the games where he was ice cold, Shrewsberry’s crew have barely looked competent.

In many ways, Burton is Notre Dame basketball’s opposite to Reece Beekman. He’s not only the team’s leading scorer with 16 points per game, but he’s also leading the Fighting Irish with 3.6 assists per game.

Where Burton and Beekman diverge is that the Virginia point guard’s first aim is to help his teammates score. Burton’s first goal is to put the ball in the basket.

Burton’s ability to do that is going to be key on Saturday afternoon as he’s shooting 40 percent from the field. The good news for Notre Dame basketball fans is that he’s coming off one of his best games in quite a while. 

Against Marist, he scored 21 points and was 8-for-18 from the field.