Notre Dame will look to rediscover their winnings ways Monday as the Irish host Duke in a huge ACC tilt.
After an 0-2 week, the Irish fell to No. 20 in the AP Poll. Duke lost to N.C State at home before gutting out a win on the road against Wake Forest Saturday and now reside at No. 21 in the poll.
Monday will be the 28th all-time meeting between the Blue Devils and Irish. Duke leads the series 20-7, but Notre Dame has won five of the six meetings between the two schools as ACC compadres.
Every Duke-ND matchup in the ACC has been memorable. From the first meeting in January 2014 when the Irish upset Duke in their first game in the ACC to their latest meeting in the ACC Quarterfinals last year, where ND came back from a 17-point second half deficit to defeat Duke in overtime.
The Irish defeated Duke twice last season. Once in the aforementioned ACC Tournament, but the other victory was one of the biggest in program history as Notre Dame won at Cameron for the first time in program history. The Irish survived an early onslaught from Duke and made a series of clutch plays down the stretch to earn the win.
Between the Grayson Allen tripping incidents (maybe the most overblown story in sports history) and Coach K’s medical issues, it has been a trying season for Duke - a team that was touted in the preseason as the squad with the most talent.
Although their struggles have been widely publicized, Duke still has as much skill as any team in the country and have the most potent offense in the ACC.
The Irish have their own set of issues after the Irish have lost two straight and three of four. Many ND fans are pushing the panic button after the tough week, but Brey tried to assuage some of that anxiety as he said “this is the most unpanicked program in the history of college basketball.” Ok then.
The Irish need that “unpanicked” mentality to be successful as they enter the back nine of their ACC slate.
The Irish have clearly not been at their best in the previous few games, but there doesn’t need to be a change in lineup or strategy - ND simply has to do the little things well.
In the Virginia and Georgia Tech games, ND left a ton of points on the line with uncharacteristic missed free throws. They have also been inconsistent from three. Each team goes through slumps during the season and if the Irish stick with their identity, they will pump the breaks on this mini losing streak.
I said the Georgia Tech game was the biggest game of the season to date for ND. With the loss to the Yellow Jackets, through the transitive property, Monday’s game is now the biggest of the season.
I don’t see any way the Irish beat the Tar Heels on the road Saturday, so the Irish have to win tonight to avoid a costly four game losing streak.
Georgia Tech and Virginia have a pair of the defenses in the ACC, while Monday’s pace will be much faster which will help the Irish find their offensive flow.
Vasturia and Beachem have not been on the same page all year. When one his hot, the other can’t hit the broad side of a barn. That changes Monday.
A charged home atmosphere is the perfect elixir for Notre Dame’s maladies.
Numbers don’t lie
🔴🐼 is BACK tonight | vs. Duke | 7 p.m. ET | ESPN
Irish are 5-1 all-time when the best halftime act in CBB performs…including 5 straight Ws pic.twitter.com/eR5M1204O4
— Notre Dame MBB (@NDmbb) January 30, 2017