NOTRE DAME VS. GEORGETOWN
Where: Purcell Pavillion (9,149), at Notre Dame
Rankings & Records: No. 24 Notre Dame (15-3, 3-2 Big East), Georgetown (12-4, 2-3).
Time/TV: Today 7:30 p.m. EST on ESPN.
Radio: UND.com, Sirius/XM channel 85.
[b]Line: Notre Dame by 6.
Last Meeting: This is the 29th meeting between the two programs, with the Hoyas owning a 15-13 edge in the all-time series. In the most recent showdown, Georgetown defeated Notre Dame 59-41 on Feb. 22, 2012, in Washington D.C.
Jerian Grant and Co. will have their hands full with another good group of guards from Georgetown
Notre Dame Notes
Following a two-game slide, Notre Dame returned home last Saturday and fought off Rutgers for a 69-66 victory. Head coach Mike Brey said it was a productive way to bounce back, saying a 13-point lead that melted away provided an opportunity to overcome an extra layer of adversity. That’s an optimistic way of looking at things, to be sure.
The Fighting Irish nearly watched another middling conference foe deliver a third consecutive blow, one that could have been crippling for a Notre Dame program that hoped to contend for its first regular season league crown. Now the Irish, still ranked first in the Big East in field goal percentage (.505), 3-point field goal percentage (.406) and assists per game (18.7), are trying to regain the confidence, consistency and defensive presence that propelled them through a 12-game winning streak earlier in the year.
The load has been packed on the backs of the starting five, with not nearly as much help from the bench as expected.
Jack Cooley — The senior forward leads the Big East with 10.7 rebounds per game and is averaging 15.1 points per outing.
Eric Atkins — The junior point guard (12.3 points, 6.7 assists) is coming off a season-high 21 points against Rutgers but he also had five turnovers.
Jerian Grant — Averaging 13.2 points and 5.4 assists per game, the junior guard dished out 10 asssists, which tied a career high, against the Scarlet Knights.
Pat Connaughton — The sophomore guard is puttingup 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest.
Scott Martin — Leading the team with a 47.7 shooting percentage from behind the arc, the sixth-year senior has been quiet offensively over the last three games (seven total points).
Off The Bench
Senior forward Tom Knight has been the next big man off the bench the last two games, contributing 12 points, four blocks and three rebounds in 26 total minutes. Freshman forward Cameron Biedscheid is 1-for-10 from the field over the last two contests.
The Hoyas lost 61-58 on the road at South Florida Saturday night and are 4-8 all-time in South Bend. Sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. scored 21 points and had five rebounds to lead Georgetown against USF, while freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 16 points, had six rebounds and four assists.
Porter Jr. leads the team in scoring (14.3 points per game) and rebounding (7.6 rebounds per game. He ranks seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (41.7). He is also third on the team with 2.6 assists per game.
The Hoyas have averaged 16 points, 15 rebounds and 5.7 assists from their bench over the last three games.
Georgetown’s depth and bench production should worry a Notre Dame team that has become increasingly dependent on its starters since the start of conference play. If Martin remains silent, the Irish will have an uphill battle tonight. Weary legs could be an issue for both squads, but the Hoyas have more in reserve. The Irish will have to cut back on turnovers (15 against Rutgers) and limit second-chanes on the defensive end to get by an athletic Georgetown outfit, but one that isn’t particularly good on the offensive glass.
Morgan’s prediction: Notre Dame 68, Georgetown 63.