Another Road Trip For The Syracuse Basketball Team In South Bend

Can the Syracuse basketball team finally get their first road conquest of the season? Well Neil Adler is saying there’s a chance.

The Syracuse basketball squad is hoping for some good luck when it faces Notre Dame at noon on Saturday, Jan. 21, the Orange’s second brutal road match-up in a row.

The ‘Cuse (11-8, 3-3 in the ACC) is coming off a 17-point defeat at the hands of No. 9 North Carolina on Monday night in Chapel Hill.

The No. 15 Fighting Irish (16-3, 5-1 in conference competition), meanwhile, fell 83-80 at No. 10 Florida State on Wednesday night. The loss snapped Notre Dame’s seven-game winning streak and placed the Fighting Irish into a three-team tie atop the Atlantic Coast Conference standings, along with the Tar Heels and the Seminoles.

Notre Dame sports a terrific resume at this juncture. Strong successes include No. 12 Louisville and Clemson at home; Miami, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech on the road; and Colorado as well as Northwestern on neutral-courts.

Even the Fighting Irish’s setbacks are impressive; to the aforementioned Florida State on the road, as well as to No. 1 Villanova (by eight points) and No. 21 Purdue (by five points), both at neutral-sites.

I won’t bother discussing Syracuse’s resume, because it will only make my head hurt.

Head coach Mike Brey, a former long-time assistant at Duke to the legendary Mike Krzyzewski,

has served at Notre Dame’s helm since the 2000-01 season, helping to turn the well-known football school into a basketball powerhouse as well.

In the last two NCAA Tournaments, he has guided the Fighting Irish to consecutive Elite Eight appearances. In the 2014-15 campaign, Note Dame amassed 32 victories, the most in South Bend by a men’s team in more than a century.

About a year ago, on Jan. 28, 2016, Syracuse took it to No. 25 Notre Dame in an 81-66 triumph at the Carrier Dome. Senior Trevor Cooney, often an Irish-killer in his SU career, paced the Orange with 22 points.

Similar to in years past, Notre Dame is one of the most efficient offensive outfits in the country. Fighting Irish players share the ball extremely well, and they only turn the ball over about 10 instances per contest (compared with 12 for SU).

However, Syracuse likely can perform better on the boards, as Notre Dame doesn’t sweep the glass nearly as adeptly as the Tar Heels did versus the ‘Cuse earlier this week.

So far this season, the Fighting Irish average 81 points a game and allow 68. Notre Dame shoots an impressive 47 percent from the field, 41 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent (astounding!) from the free-throw line.

The Orange, on the other hand, puts up 76 points and gives up 67. SU connects on 46 percent of its field goals, along with 39 percent from downtown and 69 percent from the charity stripe.

The Fighting Irish grab 36 boards, tally 18 assists, block four shots and secure seven steals. These numbers are fairly even with the ‘Cuse (37 rebounds, 17 dimes, six blocks and eight thefts).

Notre Dame has four guys who average double-figures, led by junior

Bonzie Colson and Senior Steve Vasturia. These two studs each shoot higher than 47 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free-throw line. Ouch.

Syracuse is undoubtedly desperate to pick up a signature win, as well as its first victory outside of Central New York. Coming out on top over an ultra-solid Notre Dame squad, on the road, is a tall task.

Despite this, I think SU has a more realistic shot of conquering the Fighting Irish than it did of North Carolina. The Tar Heels owned the paint, which is a recipe for disaster in the ‘Cuse’s 2-3 zone defense.

If Syracuse can keep Notre Dame’s shooters at bay, force some turnovers and garner easy buckets in transition, the Orange has a chance.

For a change, maybe, just maybe, the luck of the Irish will appear on SU’s side.

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