Don’t look now, but your Notre Dame Fighting Irish have won three of their last four games, all in conference play. After an unexpected weekend rout of the Pittsburgh Panthers, the Irish head home for a plum home matchup against the struggling Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Tuesday night, looking to equal the win-loss record of a slightly-below-average NFL team.
Notre Dame (6-9 overall, 3-6 ACC) has showcased wildly uneven play throughout the season, but if one thing about this team is consistent it is its ability to win against the bottom tier of the ACC - which makes Wake Forest (5-7 overall, 2-7 ACC) a welcome sight in South Bend. The player to watch for Wake is Daivien Williamson, who leads the team in points per game and is a threat from beyond the arc, but the Irish defense has recently shown the ability to contain opponents’ shooting (38.2% in the last four games). The Deacs have struggled mightily with ball control (14.9 turnovers per game) and scoring defense (71 points allowed per game in conference play) this season, which should afford inconsistent Irish guards like Prentiss Hubb and Dane Goodwin opportunities to get in rhythm, while Juwan Durham and Nate Lazsewski should have no problem finding defensive mismatches to exploit.
ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gives the Irish a 72.6% chance to win, and with the team returning home and coming off a solid victory, Irish fans have good reason to expect one. After a miserable start to the season, the Irish are on a long march toward the warm embrace of mediocrity, and a win here is the next step.
WHEN, WHERE AND HOW TO WATCH
When: Tuesday, 2/2 @5:00 PM EST
Where: Purcell Pavilion, South Bend, IN
How to watch: ACC Network
If you’re looking to offer in-game commentary, cheer on the Irish or offer somber meditations on how far this program has to go, the comments section here will serve as your game thread. Go Irish!