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Notre Dame Men’s Basketball: Virginia Preview

Riding a 4 game win streak into the belly of the beast

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

.500 in Conference Never Looked So Sweet

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball team has been on a roll. They started off the first 8 games in ACC play going 2-6. They lost so many close games, and some of those were against very good teams, too. A 3-point loss to Louisville. A 1-point loss to FSU. They are very close to having a VERY strong record in conference play and a team not only playing to be on the bubble, but a team way past the bubble.

However, the Irish are here, and I’m actually here for it. Since going 2-6 in conference, the Irish rattled off four straight wins. Three of those wins were part of a home stand, and then the Irish just picked up a victory on Sunday night at Clemson. It wasn’t as high-scoring as recent games, but they battled back to get the road dub.

Now, the Irish continue their road trip as they travel to Charlottesville to take on the Virginia Cavaliers on Tuesday night. Here is what to look for as you watch the Irish try to extend their win streak to 5 against a very strong opponent.

Up Next: A Road Game Against UVA

The Cavaliers currently sit at 5th in the ACC. They are tied with Syracuse in conference record, but Syracuse beat them earlier in January, so they have the tie-breaker for the current double-bye in the ACC Tournament next month. The Cavaliers are also coming off a road loss on Saturday afternoon to Louisville, currently the ACC leaders. But, wait. Who is that lurking in the background at sixth in the conference standings RIGHT behind Syracuse and UVA? Oh well that would be your Notre Dame Fighting Irish. That’s right, the Irish have fought back to be in contention right now for that double-bye in the conference tournament. To be fair, the Irish are tied with NC State for that sixth spot, and since the Wolfpack beat the Irish in January, they actually have the sixth spot right now. But, the Irish are very close to Syracuse and UVA.

Players to Watch

-John Mooney: I mean, of course. Mutton put up ANOTHER double-double against Clemson. The dude is an absolute machine. He will definitely be needed inside to defend against the size of UVA.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

-Juwan Durham: Durham has had some very solid offensive production comparatively speaking in the last couple of games. He had 11 points against Pittsburgh and then 8 points against Clemson. He has made his presence known, again which will be useful for the offense but also on defense against UVA.

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

-Mamadi Diakite: The big man from UVA is a menace under the bucket on both ends of the ball. He can also take some shots from outside if needed. The Irish always have to watch where he is on the court.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Virginia Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Game Details

As the Irish look to get 5 straight wins, there is of course no doubting ever of UVA and their talent. They might be having a down year for theirs (and others’) standards, but they are still a very good team with a lot of toughness and talent. This is no easy task for the Irish, but they have been battling recently. It should at least be an interesting and entertaining late Tuesday night game.

You can watch the Irish play UVA on ESPN2 on Tuesday, February 11 at 9 PM. The game will be played in John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA. The Irish look to avenge their huge loss last year to UVA when the Cavaliers were #2 in the nation last February.