Notre Dame Basketball: Previewing the Syracuse Orange

SOUTH BEND, In. — After beating the NC State Wolfpack by 30 points without their top two scorers, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish look to move to 3-0 in conference play on Saturday January 6th when they take on the Syracuse Orange.

Tip off is set for 3:15 PM, and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

This game will be played at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, where Notre Dame is down 28-20 in the all-time series between the Orangemen. The Irish haven’t won a game at the Carrier Dome since 2007, a span of over 10 years.

According to Mike Brey on his radio show, point guard Matt Farrell, will not be making the trip to Syracuse, as he is still recovering from a sprained ankle that he suffered against NC State.

In addition to Bonzie Colson being out for eight weeks due to a foot fracture, Farrell will also be out, which means Notre Dame will be without their top two scorers once again.

T.J. Gibbs, Rex Pflueger, Martinas Geben, and D.J. Harvey will look to steer Notre Dame towards a win after good performances last game. Against the Wolfpack, Gibbs had 22 points, Harvey dropped 17 points, Pflueger added 16 points, and Geben contributed 10 points 13 rebounds.

Syracuse is 12-3 on the season, and 1-1 in conference play, with their lone loss in ACC play coming against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 73-67. They have wins against Virginia Tech, University of Connecticut, Maryland, Georgetown and losses to Kansas and St. Bonaventure in addition to Wake Forest.

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Teams stats between Notre Dame and Syracuse. (Source: ESPN.com)

From a player standpoint, Syracuse has three players averaging double digit points per game. Tyus Battle averages 19.4 points, 2,8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game, while Frank Howard averages 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game.

While those players have been scoring more points, Oshae Brissett is the player to watch for Syracuse, who is their leading rebounder.


Players to Watch

Syracuse – Oshae Brissett

The 6’8”, 210 pound freshman forward from Canada averages 15.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game, and coming off a 16 point, seven rebound performance against Wake Forest. Look for Brissett to go off on a depleted Notre Dame front court who will be without their best player.

Notre Dame – Rex Pflueger

For the Irish, Rex Pflueger is the player to watch, as he has been playing very well for the Irish in the last four games, and is coming off a 16 point performance against NC State.

Over Notre Dame’s four game win streak, Pflueger is averaging 14.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. With Farrell out, look for Pflueger, in addition to Gibbs, to step up and come up big for the Irish.


Prediction

Notre Dame hasn’t had much success in the Carrier Dome, and even though the Orangemen lost to Wake Forest, they will be hungry for a win. Even though they did not miss a beat without their top two scorers, they will struggle against a more athletic team in the Syracuse Orange and suffer their first loss in conference play.

Syracuse – 75 
Notre Dame – 70

-R. Scarfone