SOUTH BEND, In. — The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are back in action on November 16th when they take on the Chicago State Cougars who are making a return back to South Bend after the Irish took them down last season, 91-60.
Thursday night’s game will be the fifth meeting between the Irish and Cougars, with Notre Dame leading the all-time series at 4-0.
Notre Dame has won all four of their games against the Cougars by at least 27 points, and look to advance to 3-0 on the season. Chicago State will look to build off their first win, which they notched over the Silver Lake College Lakers two days ago.
Chicago State had a tough first two games to start their season, as they had to travel to Iowa City to face the Iowa Hawkeyes (loss 95-62) as well as to West Lafayette to take on the #20 Purdue Boilermakers (loss 111-42).
Coming off two demoralizing losses, the Cougars got back on track after a win against NAIA‘s Silver Lake College, with two players recording 19 points; Fred Sims Jr., and South Suburban College transfer Anthony Harris who also recorded seven steals.
Out of the 12 Chicago State players that showed up on the stat sheet in last years game against Notre Dame, five players return, with three of those five being starters last year.
The Cougars are led by guard Fred Sims Jr., who is averaging 13 points, four rebounds, and one assist through three games. Last year, the junior averaged 18.8 points per game and is the only returning player who scored double digit figures in last year’s loss to Notre Dame.
Sophomore forward Patrick Szpir and senior guard Glen Burns both return as the other two starters to have faced Notre Dame previously, with Szpir averaging four points and just under three rebounds per game so far. Burns is averaging six points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
In addition to Harris joining the starting lineup, the Cougars also welcome Rob Shaw to the starting five, who had to sit out all of last season after transferring from Kentucky State.
After only averaging 3.4 points and 2.1 assists per game over 18 games with the Thorobreds, Harris is contributing 7.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and four assists per game this season. His best performance came in their loss against Iowa, where he dropped 10 points, dished out six assists and stole the ball four times.
Tracy Dildy, Head Coach of the Cougars, has a tendency of playing a variety of guys, as the Cougars have played 14 or more players in their last three games. Expect senior guard Deionte Simmons to make a contribution coming off the bench.
Chicago State plays a four guard system, with their lone forward not producing eye catching numbers. Given the National Player of the Year candidate and the height advantage the Irish have, expect them to pound the ball inside.
The Cougars have a lot of experience on their roster, with four of their starting five classified as juniors. But the Irish have too much talent for the Cougars to handle. A strong shooting performance and a powerful inside game will put this one away for the Irish.
Notre Dame – 95
Chicago State – 65
– R. Scarfone