3:30 PM ET, January 1, 2011
Carrier Dome, Syracuse, New York
Notre Dame passed the first test of this stretch of three straight Big East games against top 10 opponents. The next one figures to be an even greater challenge when the 15th-ranked Fighting Irish will try to end No. 5 Syracuse's 14-0 start on Saturday in the Carrier Dome.With half of the top 10 comprised of Big East teams, Notre Dame (12-1) had the bad luck to start conference play against three of them. The Fighting Irish won 69-55 over Georgetown on Wednesday by outscoring the Hoyas 22-5 at the foul line to give them some momentum heading into their first true road game."We're old, and you like when you have an old team and they play maturely," coach Mike Brey said. "We'll smile for another 30 minutes and then we've got to go play an undefeated team in the Carrier Dome."Syracuse (14-0, 1-0) is off to its best start since the 1999-2000 team began 19-0. The Orange won by an average of 18.0 points during the non-conference schedule before opening Big East play with an 81-74 victory over Providence on Tuesday."I told the players there's not going to be many easy nights, I don't think in this league," coach Jim Boeheim said, "If you have one maybe, I not even sure if you really have one."A strong defensive effort in which Providence was limited to 39.7 percent shooting and 26.7 on 3-pointers was one of the keys Tuesday. A similar performance may be needed considering how well Notre Dame has fared from the perimeter against Syracuse.Brey's teams have excelled at solving the Orange's vaunted 2/3 zone in recent meetings, making at least 11 3-pointers and shooting 45.0 percent from beyond the arc in going 3-2 in matchups between the 2006-07 through 2008-09 seasons.Syracuse finally clamped down last season, limiting the Irish to 26.7 percent shooting on 3s in an 84-71 victory in South Bend.Former Orange guard Andy Rautins made five 3-pointers in that contest, and his shooting had been sorely missed before a big effort from Kris Joseph on Tuesday.Joseph made 4 of 6 3s after entering the contest at 31.0 percent from long distance. He's averaging 26.0 points in his last two games."I definitely feel more comfortable shooting the ball, and I think pretty soon teams are going to stop backing off of me," Joseph said. "I'm no Andy Rautins, but I think I'm pretty respectable at this point in time."Big East leading rebounder Rick Jackson pulled down 17 boards against the Friars, and will go up against a Notre Dame team leading the conference with 29.1 defensive rebounds per game.Syracuse will want to try and limit Irish top scorer Tim Abromaitis, averaging 21.0 points on 56.0 percent shooting in his last four games. He was a bright spot in last season's loss to the Orange with 26 points.Abromaitis is part of Notre Dame's all-senior lineup that has paid dividends. Four are scoring at least 10 points per game and three are averaging at least six rebounds."With this group of guys we should win every game, but we have to keep coming out here, working hard, staying aggressive, playing defense and get better," forward Tyrone Nash said. "Who knows what will happen if we keep getting better."
|Avg Points Allowed||65.6||63.3|
|» Jan 1, 2011||@SYR 70, ND 58||Recap|