Notre Dame has one non-conference game remaining before the challenging Big East schedule opens.
A meeting with Maryland-Baltimore County likely won't be much of an indicator of what the 22nd-ranked Irish can expect when conference play begins.Notre Dame looks to close its non-conference slate with an 11-1 record when it hosts the winless Retrievers in the first meeting between these programs Wednesday night.The Irish have a brutal start to Big East play, opening against No. 10 Georgetown next Wednesday then traveling to fifth-ranked Syracuse on New Year's Day and hosting No. 4 Connecticut three days later.While any of those three schools could be hoisting a national championship trophy this spring, UMBC is unlikely to find itself in that situation.The Retrievers (0-11) have been outscored by an average of 17.5 points and have finished no closer than nine in their last seven games.Defense has been a major problem for UMBC, as it's among the worst in the nation in allowing 82.2 points per game and opponents to shoot 50.1 percent. In Saturday's 75-62 loss to Morgan State, their 20th defeat in 24 road games, the Retrievers allowed an opponent season-high 60.5 percent shooting.That poor defense could be a major problem because the Irish boast one of the nation's top offenses.Notre Dame, off to its best start since opening 13-1 in 2006-07, is averaging 88.7 points in going 7-0 at home.The Irish had little trouble against another America East Conference school Sunday, rolling to an 88-62 win over Stony Brook at the Joyce Center. Tim Abromaitis led the way with 22 points, while Carleton Scott connected on all eight of his shots -- four 3-pointers -- for 20 points.Scott has recorded back-to-back 20-point games -- his first two of the season -- while making 7 of 9 3s after averaging 10.9 points while going 10 of 39 from beyond the arc in his first nine."I think the opposing team is always going to have a difficult matchup with him," coach Mike Brey said. "We also have done a good job screening for him as of late too. He has been very efficient and confident lately as well as taking good shots."The Irish, 13-0 against current members of the America East, outrebounded the Seawolves 42-33. They shouldn't have much difficulty grabbing boards in this game either, as the Retrievers are minus-5.2 in rebounding differential.As bad as UMBC has been defensively, its offense hasn't been much better, averaging 58.4 points on 38.0 percent shooting in five games this month.Junior guard Chris De La Rosa finished with a game-high 20 points and 11 assists Against Morgan State, but the rest of the starters combined for nine points.This will be UMBC's second game against a ranked opponent and Big East team after falling to then-No. 7 UConn 94-61 on Dec. 3. The Retrievers, 0-16 all-time versus the Big East, have been outscored by an average of 29.9 points in losing all nine games against Top 25 opponents since the 1996-97 season.