SOUTH BEND, In. — Coming off a 14 point road win against the Big East’s DePaul Blue Demons, the 13th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish return to South Bend to welcome the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers to the Purcell Pavilion for their home opener.
This will be the third meeting between the Irish and the Mountaineers, with Notre Dame leading the all-time series 2-0. Notre Dame won by 14 points against Mount St. Mary’s in 2004 and by 26 in 2014.
Tonights match will be one of the regional match-ups of the 2017 Maui Jim Maui Invitational.
The Mountaineers started their 2017-18 campaign with a loss to the Marquette Golden Eagles, 80-59, and look to regroup on Monday to prevent an 0-2 start going into their next game against the Georgetown Hoyas.
Mount St. Marys is led by their top returning scorer and senior Junior Robinson, a 5″5 point guard who averaged 14.1 point per game in 2016. He dropped 20 points in their loss to Marquette in the season opener.
Donald Carey is another name too look for, as the 6″5 freshman recorded 11 points in his collegiate debut. Guard Greg Alexander dropped nine points and grabbed 4 rebounds last game, and will look to be a factor for the Mountaineers against the Fighting Irish.
The Mountaineers will look to build off of the production they saw from their two young starting forwards, in freshman Bobby Planutis (five points) and sophomore Ryan Gomes (six points).
These two did not record nearly as many rebounds as you would like your forwards to come down with, as they grabbed a combined five boards between them; with Planutis bringing down four of the five.
Mount St. Marys’ other freshman, Jonah Antonio, might cause some fits for the Irish, as the frosh recorded three steals in his debut while also scoring eight points.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers is, where was 6″8 forward Chris Wray last game against Marquette? He was nursing an injury in the preseason, but was expected to be cleared in time for the 2017-18 season.
The Mountaineers will need him in their line up to bolster a weak front court, considering he averaged seven points and six rebounds per game last season.
In order for there to be an upset in tonight’s game, the Mountaineers are going to need everything to click. Notre Dame shot 47.2% from the field, and 44.4% from three in their victory over DePaul and will be playing fast.
Notre Dame will need to be taken out of their rhythm if the Mountaineers have for any chance of winning.
The Mountaineers’ inability to rebound very well or have any sort of production at the forward position makes me believe that this team is heavily reliant on their guards to win them games.
This is not a good thing for the Mountaineers, considering the Fighting Irish’s best player, Bonzie Colson, is one of the nation’s best and will look to take advantage of a weak front court.
A game that will be decided fairly early, my prediction:
Notre Dame – 88
Mt. St. Mary’s – 55
Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM EST, on Monday November 13th, broadcasting live on the Watch ESPN app and the ACC Network Extra.
– R. Scarfone