SOUTH BEND, In. — After a three point loss to the Indiana Hoosiers, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will have to shift gears quickly to Dartmouth, as the Big Green are traveling to South Bend for a Tuesday night match-up inside Purcell Pavilion.
This will be the sixth meeting between the Irish and the Big Green, with Notre Dame holding a 5-0 lead. These two teams last met back in 2011, when the Irish rolled past the Big Green, 65-47.
Per ESPN, Notre Dame has a 97% chance to win this game against Dartmouth, but the Fighting Irish cannot afford to take the Ivy League school lightly. The Irish should have blown out Indiana, as they were the better team, but they continued to let them back in it. Notre Dame can’t afford to let any of their opponents back in it, regardless of how weak they may seem.
After the struggles they have had in their last few non-conference games, Notre Dame must give the same attention to the Big Green as they would teams like the Duke Blue Devils.
The Dartmouth Big Green are 3-5 on the season, and are coming off a loss to the UIC Flames of the Horizon League, 76-60.
Dartmouth sits among the bottom half of the Ivy League based on their non-conference record alone, but will continue to be one of the weaker teams in the conference as the season progresses.
The Big Green average almost 70 points per game, having not scored more than 78 points all year, and give up almost the same amount each contest.
They don’t have an overly big team, and are fairly young with 10 players that are either a sophomore or freshman. The Big Green struggle with depth just like the Fighting Irish, as they only rely on the efforts of seven players.
Five players average double digit figures, with their next two scoring six to seven points per game, but after that, their next player only contributes 1.8 points per game.
Three Players to Watch
Having scored in double digits in every contest except for their 76-60 loss to the Canisius Golden Griffins, the Big Green’s leading scorer, Brendan Barry, averages 12.4 points per game, to go along with 2.4 rebounds and three assists per game.
Scoring only 10 points in Dartmouth’s loss to UIC in their last outing, Barry will need to increase his scoring production if the Big Green are to have any shot of winning on Tuesday.
While Miles Wright is the leading rebounder for the Big Green, he has never grabbed more than seven in a game this season; and that kind of performance came in their first game of the season back in November.
But here’s the funny part: he’s a guard and is leading the team in rebounds, standing 6″5 feet tall. He is averaging more than the tallest player on the Big Green, in Will Emery (6’9”), who only averages 3.8 rebounds per game. Granted, he gets 10 less minutes of playing time than Wright.
Wright is scoring only 0.1 less points per game than Brendan Barry, at 12.3, and is grabbing 4.6 rebounds per game.
The 6″4 senior from Fort Worth, Texas is coming off a quiet game against UIC, in which he only scored seven points after dropping 29 points and grabbing five rebounds against the Maine Black Bears in the previous game before that.
Leading the team in assists, the guard averages 12 points per game and 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
If Johnson can explode for another 20 point game like he did against Maine, where he went 11 for 13 from the field, the Big Green might have a chance.
On paper, this should not be a close game at all. Dartmouth doesn’t possess any players who put up consistent flashy numbers or have the talent to take down an Irish team hungry to find an identity.
If Dartmouth wants to have any chance of winning, they need to get the Irish in foul trouble, making them turn to their unproven bench for production, as well as needing their top scorers to put up 20 points.
But I don’t foresee that happening, considering the Irish are playing better defense and have more size than the Big Green. The Irish will bounce back in a big way.
Notre Dame – 90
Dartmouth – 54
– R. Scarfone