The Notre Dame Fighting Irish could not get over the hump against the Syracuse Orange yesterday. A strong first half was followed by a deflating second half that saw the Orange take control of the basketball game. The Irish ultimately lost 72-62. Syracuse has the potential to be a very good team this year but has not shown it quite yet. This would have been a substantial win for Notre Dame but they are still looking for their first ACC win. This is what we learned.
Syracuse Has Better Players
Plain and simple, the team with the guys who are better at playing basketball won the game. Syracuse has a strong first four players. You could argue that if all the players from both teams were available to be picked in a draft, the Orange would have the first four picks. That is something Notre Dame is not used to after years of having guys like Demetrius Jackson and Bonzie Colson. The talent difference can easily be seen.
I have seen some good/great things from Prentiss Hubb this year. I think he has potential and could eventually be a really good college basketball player. The problem is that this is not the year. He is going to be over matched in ACC play. Hubb finished yesterday’s game with a stat line of 0 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds. This was in 28 minutes of play. You just cannot have that out of one of your starting guards. Notre Dame is young and thin at the guard spot after two injuries. The best thing might be to let Hubb play through the growing pains and look forward to next year.
Everyone Is Coming Back
Yesterday had some good news after the loss with the announcement that Rex Pflueger will return for a 5th year next season. This means that the entire team will be back next year. If we see improvement from the young guys and some competitive games, that could be promising for 2019-2020. I still trust Mike Brey to get Notre Dame through this rough patch and even upset a few teams they have no business beating. But with Pflueger coming back next season, things are not as bad as they currently seem.
Notre Dame drops to 10-5 and 0-2 in the ACC. It will be interesting to see how this team responds to adversity. The good news is that a winnable game looms after a week off to prepare. Next Saturday the Irish will welcome Boston College to The Joyce Center in what could be their best chance to get an ACC win.