The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have now endured three consecutive road losses and find themselves in a downward spiral at the worst time possible, with only two games remaining in the 2020-21 regular season. Worst of all, two of these games were eminently winnable, as the Irish choked away a 20-point lead against the Syracuse Orange and surrendered 94 points in an abysmal defensive effort against the cellar-dwelling Boston College Eagles.
The Irish now get a reprieve from this string of miserable road games with a home matchup against the North Carolina State Wolfpack. A dangerous but certainly beatable squad, the Pack are 12-9 overall and 8-8 in conference play, sitting just a few slots ahead of the Irish (9-13, 6-10) in the ACC standings. Placement in those standings is more or less all the Irish are playing for at this point in the regular season, and a win here could help them secure a winnable first-round matchup.
If the Irish are to defeat the Wolfpack, they will have to focus their defensive efforts on Jericole Hellems, an inside-outside threat similar in production and playing style to Nate Laszewski. The matchup between those two players will be crucial to the outcome of this one. Senior guard Devon Daniels (16.5 ppg) will also pose a challenge to the Irish, who were absolutely murdered by effective shooting from BC’s Jay Heath and Demarr Langford, Jr. on Saturday.
This is a very winnable game for the Irish, but they will need to rediscover the focus and fire they had at earlier points in the season to do it.
WHEN, WHERE AND HOW TO WATCH
WHEN: Wednesday, 3/3 @ 7:00 PM EST
WHERE: Purcell Pavilion, Notre Dame, IN
HOW TO WATCH: ACC Network
Assuming you’re still watching and would like to weigh in on the team’s performance in this game, this article’s comment section will serve as your game thread.