Another disastrous week for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish has them reeling, with five defeats in their last six games. Holding a 6-5 conference mark within the 15-team ACC, Notre Dame currently finds itself situated in seventh place. That’s a precipitous plunge from just a few weeks ago and helps explain their tumble out of the Top 25 rankings.
A home loss to the Duke Blue Devils on January 30 was followed six days later by a road defeat at the hands of the North Carolina Tar Heels. In the latter case, that contest was pushed back 19 hours due to a water main break in the Chapel Hill area. The extra time didn’t help, with the defeat now putting them three games back with seven ACC contests left.
Notre Dame Basketball Week in Review
Facing Duke at home on January 30, the first 13 minutes of action offered scoring volleys from both the Blue Devils and Irish. However, in the final seven minutes before halftime, Duke took control with a 16-4 run to give them a 37-25 halftime lead.
Notre Dame spent the remainder of the contest trying to whittle that deficit down, yet could never get over the hump. They were able to get within a single point at 63-62 with just over seven minutes left in the game and actually had a chance to take the lead. However, a missed layup sparked an 11-2 Blue Devil run that ended any comeback hopes.
Due to those water issues, the Irish game against the Tar Heels was moved 50 miles away to the Greensboro Coliseum. That change didn’t help Mike Brey’s struggling squad, which never held the lead during the course of the game. Down by a point with six minutes left in the first half, Notre Dame was then outscored 13-6 heading into intermission and trailed 42-34 at the break.
Repeated efforts to reduce that margin resulted in the Irish trailing by just two at 75-73 with 3:35 left following a three-pointer from V.J. Beacham. North Carolina answered with eight unanswered points over the next three minutes to salt the game away.
Notre Dame Basketball Standouts
Mr. Consistency continued his strong season by connecting for 17 points in each contest, while narrowly missing a double-double in both matchups. He hauled down nine boards against Duke before grabbing 10 against North Carolina and was also effective in the paint by swatting away two shots against the Blue Devils and three more facing North Carolina.
Nothing fancy with Farrell, who tallied 11 points and dished out four assists against Duke before following that up with 18 points and three assists against North Carolina. In the two contests, Farrell also served as a long-range threat by hitting for a total of six three-pointers.
The senior forward did lead the team in scoring during their two losses, with 20 points apiece in each game. The problem was that his numbers in other categories weren’t high enough to deliver a major impact to the team’s fortunes, such as his four combined rebounds.
Notre Dame’s Week Ahead
The Irish still have the opportunity to move into the upper echelon of teams, with two home games on tap this week. Their first comes on Tuesday against Wake Forest, which is currently tied for 10th place in the ACC. That’s followed by a Saturday battle against Florida State, which is in second place, two games ahead of Notre Dame.