Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Monday, May 20, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame men’s basketball heads to Virginia looking for a series sweep

After a challenging four game losing streak, Notre Dame Men's Basketball heads to Virginia, attempting to fight for a key win.

Once again, the Notre Dame men’s basketball team heads into a road matchup trying to climb out of a pit. Entering Wednesday’s matchup against Virginia, the Irish have lost four straight games — all against unranked teams. The Irish head to Charlottesville to take on a tough Virginia team who the Irish managed to beat at home earlier this year. The rematch should be a key opportunity for the Irish to take a leap, and for the Cavaliers, it will be a test to see if its hallmark defense can step back up.

One of the keys to the game is Virginia’s defensive prowess, a hallmark of coach Tony Bennett’s system. The Cavaliers boast impressive rankings nationally, holding opponents to an average of 60.5 points per game and a field goal percentage of 41.5%. Their renowned pack-line defense, designed to stifle penetration and force contested shots, poses a significant challenge to Notre Dame’s offensive architects. Against Boston College’s first half zone defense, the Irish struggled. Markus Burton and Tae Davis often drove to the hoop but kicked out a pass for a three-point shot, which the Irish often missed. Bennett will attempt to make the Irish take more of these quick looks closer to the three-point line.

At the same time, Notre Dame steps into the matchup flaunting a clear weakness on offense. Notre Dame’s scoring offense is the worst in the power five and in the bottom 2% of Division I,  averaging 62.4 points per game. In recent games, head coach Micah Shrewsberry has been more open to having his players shoot from deep. Notre Dame has taken 106 three-point shots during its four-game losing streak. 

On the season, Virginia is undefeated at home. Their last loss at home was against Houston in December 2022. Virginia is not overly reliant on any one player. Reece Beekman leads the team with 12.9 points per game. The Cavaliers have won their last four games. 

Wednesday’s action tips off at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 and the ESPN app.