Well folks, I know ND’s most famous team was just moved up to #3 in the country in the College Football Playoff rankings, but on the hardwood, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team is already a game into the season, and about to play its second game this evening!
On Tuesday, the Irish hosted Illinois-Chicago in the 2018-2019 season opener, taking down the Flames 84-67 in a game that was, for 30 minutes, much more of a blowout than even that 17-point win implies.
All the newcomers who saw the court looked pretty good, especially Nate Laszewski (high scorer for the Irish with 12 points), Robby Carmody (started, scored 10 points), and Dane Goodwin (10 points as well).
Now, with a win under the collective belt of this young, mostly inexperienced squad, Brey’s Boys will host the Chicago State Cougars this evening. Let’s dive into what that means for the Irish.
- This is the 6th meeting between ND and Chicago State, with the Fighting Irish leading the all-time series 5-0 (per Alan Wasielewski, Associate Athletics Communication Director)
More context for @NDmbb FT shooting vs. UIC - it was the 3rd-best in the NCAA since 1996-97 for FT% with 35 or more FTA -— Alan Wasielewski (@NDmbbSID) November 7, 2018
Bowling Green - 34-35, .971 vs. Kent State 1/26/06
Arizona - 38-40, .950 vs. Washington 1/27/05@NDmbb - 36-38, .947 vs. UIC 11/6/18
best in 12 1/2 yrs
- Robby Carmody became the first Notre Dame true freshman to start the first game of the season since Torin Francis against Belmont on Nov. 17, 2002 (per Alan Wasielewski)
- Former Irish football All-American, College Football Hall of Famer, Lombardi Award winner and 1988 National Champion Chris Zorich (‘91) is in his first year as the Athletic Director at Chicago State (per Alan Wasielewski)
Where: Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame, Indiana
When: Thursday, November 8th at 7:00 PM ET
How to Watch: ACC Network Extra with Juan Jose Rodriguez (play-by-play) and Mike Lightfoot (analysis). Notre Dame Basketball Network with Darin Pritchett (play-by-play) and Zach Hillesland (analysis). Available via network affiliates, und.comand the Notre Dame app.
Chicago State Cougars (0-1)
The Cougars have been one of the easiest opponents in the country for teams to face in the past few years (a fact Notre Dame knows all too well from having played them a few times), and under new head coach Lance Irvin, it was more of the same in the Cougars’ season opener on Tuesday. Chicago State lost 104-55 against the Indiana Hoosiers, as Irvin began the tall, long, arduous task of turning around a program that has gone 13-83 over the past 3 seasons.
Against the Hoosiers, the Cougars did have a trio of players stand out in terms of scoring, as Anthony Harris led the way with 14 points, Travon Bell chipped in 11 points, and Delshon Strickland added 11 points and 5 rebounds.
Those three will likely be the guys to watch this evening on the Chicago State side, along with guard Rob Shaw distributing the rock (6 assists on Tuesday vs. IU) and Ken Odiase (brother Tai plays for UIC) patrolling the paint (5 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block).
Considering the Irish just pretty easily handled a much better team and program in UIC, don’t expect ND to struggle much with Chicago State. TJ Gibbs and DJ Harvey will likely play better than they did on Tuesday, and even if the freshmen who played mostly very well against UIC look more like freshmen tonight, it’s unlikely that Nate Laszewski, Robby Carmody, Dane Goodwin, and Prentiss Hubb could possibly mess up enough to allow this game to be close — especially considering how poised and veteran-like they all looked in the season opener.
Cougar to Watch
Delshon Strickland, Guard, Senior
Although Harris was the leading scorer on Tuesday for the Cougars, I think Strickland contributes more all over the floor, and with his size at guard could be an interesting test for the young perimeter players on the Irish. Look for Strickland to be one of the best threats for the Cougars in this one.
DJ Harvey, Guard, Sophomore
DJ Harvey did not look fantastic in the opener, but still managed to score 10 points and grab 6 boards in his 24 minutes of play. However, as one of the most talented scorers on the roster, and as someone who has been out a while with leg injuries, it is critical that he begins to pick up his play on BOTH ends of the floor. His defense against UIC was pretty bad, and he needs to continue to show the ability to attack the hoop to give ND a reliable, consistent scoring option that isn’t TJ Gibbs or a freshman.
Not sure ND will blow Chicago State out quiiiiite as badly as IU did, but make no mistake — this won’t be a tough one and we won’t learn much about this Irish team tonight, aside from if they’re able to crush a bad opponent. I think they’ll do fine in that regard.
Notre Dame wins this one 92-63.