Before opening up ACC play with trip to Pittsburgh on New Years Eve, the No.24 ranked Notre Dame men’s basketball team have one final tune up on Wednesday night against St. Peter’s. The Irish come in at 10-2 and fresh off a 15-point win over Colgate last Monday night. The Peacocks are 5-6 and have played just one Power 6 opponent in Maryland. The Terps blew away the Peacocks in the first half, but St. Peter’s stayed with them and even outscored Maryland in the second. Nonetheless, Maryland ended up winning by 10.
Notre Dame comes in at heavy favorites as VegasInsider.com has the Irish winning by 20. This should be a rather easy win for the Irish, but they did let 2-9 Colgate hang around in the second half last week.
When: Wednesday, December 28, 2016, 7:00pm ET
Where: Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN
Where to Watch: WatchND or WatchESPN
St. Peter’s Peacocks (5-6)
The Peacocks have lost three of its last four, but did come away victorious in its last matchup last Friday against St. Francis. They haven’t had a winning season since the 2010-2011 season when they went 20-14 and earned an NCAA Tournament bid. If the first two months of the season are any indication, this year doesn’t look any more promising for head coach John Dunne’s team.
The Peacocks have a tough time scoring the basketball as they only average 66 points per game. As we’ve seen earlier this season one of the only ways to knock off Notre Dame is to simply outscore them. St. Peter’s doesn’t have the firepower to keep up with Notre Dame’s high octane offense.
Peacock to Watch
Quadir Welton - 6’8”, Forward, Senior
Welton comes in as the Peacocks’ leading scorer and rebounder at 14.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He’s a classic forward where he’s going to get most of his points in the paint. Welton is not one to step out and shoot jump shots. Notre Dame’s Martinas Geben and Bonzie Colson will have the responsibility of guarding Welton on Wednesday night.
Pick to Click
Matt Farrell - 6’1”, Guard, Junior
Farrell has really been Notre Dame’s most consistent player all season. He has yet to have an off night, but now that he’s my pick to click he’ll probably have his first. In his last six game Farrell has averaged 34.3 minutes, 16 points, 6.6. assists and 2.5 rebounds per game. I like Farrell to keep up his hot play as Notre Dame approaches conference play. St. Peter’s really does not have a strong group of guards and I expect Farrell to feast on them all night.
Notre Dame 82 - St. Peter’s 63
I’d like to see more minutes for Geben. He came out strong against Colgate, but only saw 13 minutes of action. As Notre Dame’s biggest player, the Irish are going to need him in conference play.
V.J. Beachem is coming off one of his best shooting games as he was 6-10 from three against Colgate. The Peacocks rank 109th in opponent three-point shooting, so the likes of Beachem, Steve Vasturia and Matt Ryan should have their chances to knock down long balls.
I like Notre Dame to cruise to an easy victory on Wednesday night. I know they kind of schlepped by against Colgate, but I would imagine most of the guys were ready to go home for Christmas. They are all now refreshed from the Christmas break and I expect them to come out firing.