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Notre Dame-George Wash. Preview

NOTRE DAME VS. GEORGE WASHINGTON
Where: Purcell Pavillion (9,149), at Notre Dame
Records: Notre Dame (3-1); George Washington (1-1).
Time/TV: Today at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN3.
Radio: Sirius channel 123, XM channel 190 and streaming live at UND.com.

Jerian Grant and the Irish are coming off a win over BYU and enter tonight's game vs. George Washington 3-1 overall

Notre Dame Notes
The Fighting Irish return home after a weekend trip to Brooklyn, N.Y. Notre Dame finished 1-1 at the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic, losing in overtime to St. Joseph’s (79-70) in the championship semifinals and beating Brigham Young (78-68) in the consolation game. The Irish entered last weekend ranked 20th in the Associated Press poll, but dropped out of the top 25 this week.

This is the first meeting between Notre Dame and George Washington, but there are plenty of ties that bind the two programs, including Irish head coach Mike Brey, who played one season for the Colonials (1981-82), received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and met wife, Trish, a varsity volleyball player, there. Brey was named captain prior to that season and earned team MVP honors. It’s the second Atlantic-10 opponent of the year for Notre Dame after already facing preseason conference favorite St. Joseph’s. The Irish lost to A-10 member Xavier in the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament.

Notre Dame is averaging 72.5 points per game and shooting nearly 46 percent from the field, 33 precent from 3-point range and 67 percent at the foul line so far this eyar. The Irish have limited their first four opponents to an average of 63.2 points per game and 38.6-percent shooting overall and 25.4 percent from deep.

Probable starters:

Jack Cooley The senior forward is averaging a team-high 17 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, registering double-doubles in three of the team’s first four games. The 6-9, 246-pounder made the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top-50 list.

Eric Atkins Leading the team with 21 assists, the junior point guard has scored 10 points per game. He’s a big reason the Irish have a 1.26 assist-to-turnover ratio — a number that will improve based on what Brey-coached teams have done the previous 12 seasons.

Jerian Grant With 11.3 points and 3.3 assists per game, the junior guard was critical in a rally against BYU, when he scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half.

Pat Connaughton The do-it-all sophomore guard is averaging 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

Scott Martin A sixth-year senior, Martin has put up 11.3 points per contest as the leader of a veteran lineup that will suit up together for the 20th time going back to last year.

Reserve Review
Senior center Garrick Sherman, in his first season with the Irish after transferring in last year from Michigan State, is averaging nine points per game. His single-game high was 10 points as a sophomore for the Spartans. He scored 22 off the bench in a win over Monmouth on No. 12. Freshman forward Cameron Biedscheid has contributed 6.3 points, 1.8 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game.

George Washington Overview
The Colonials regrouped from a season-opening loss to Youngstown State with a 72-59 win on the road at Boston University. Freshman guard Joe McDonald and senior forward Isaiah Armwood paced GW, which made 24 of 46 shots from the floor. McDonald led all scorers with 21 points and seven rebounds, while Armwood collected a game-high 12 rebounds and eight blocks.

George Washington finished 10-21 last year, including a first-round loss in the A-10 tournament. Armwood played two seasons at Villanova before transferring to GW and sitting out last season per NCAA rules.

Outlook
George Washington has added plenty of size to its roster, but Notre Dame has it covered with Cooley and Sherman. Don’t be surprised to see Irish freshman forward Zach Auguste get some run if enough of a cushion is established early in the second half, which should be the case. Notre Dame has won 20 straight nonconference games at Purcell Pavilion, and it should be 21 after tonight.

Morgan’s prediction: Notre Dame 79, George Washington 62.

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