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NOTRE DAME (7-3, 0-0 ACC) VS. BINGHAMTON (3-8, 0-0 America East)
Where: Purcell Pavilion (South Bend, Ind.)
Rankings: Both teams are unranked.
TV/Time: ACC Network Extra, 7 p.m. ET
Series Facts: The Irish leads the all-time series 1-0.
Last Meeting: Notre Dame 82-39 on Nov. 14, 2014.
Notre Dame returns to South Bend Tuesday evening for the first time after a three-game road trip — that took the Fighting Irish to New York City, Los Angeles and Indianapolis — to face the Binghamton Bearcats.
The Irish will aim to continue the momentum they gained with an 88-80 win over Purdue in the 2018 Crossroads Classic before ACC play begins, while the Bearcats aim to pull off the major upset.
Blue & Gold Illustrated previews both programs before the two meet this evening.
NOTRE DAME OVERVIEW
Notre Dame’s win and offensive performance against the Boilermakers on Saturday was much needed win following tough versus Oklahoma and UCLA.
A third straight defeat in the team’s final Power Five test before ACC play could have been damaging to its psyche before the grind of life in arguably the toughest league in the country began.
Notre Dame had other plans.
The Irish hit eight of their first nine attempts en route to their second-best performance in terms of field goal percentage (52 percent). Notre Dame connected at a 55 percent clip against DePaul earlier in the year.
Junior forward John Mooney put together a strong performance in his first game as a captain, going for 21 points and six rebounds while sophomore wing D.J. Harvey added 19 points in 22 minutes. It wasn’t all good news for Notre Dame, however.
Just one day after learning freshman guard Robby Carmody would be out for the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, senior guard Rex Pflueger went down in the second half with a left knee injury. The worst, an ACL tear, was feared by Mike Brey post-game.
On Monday, Pflueger announced via Twitter that he indeed tore his ACL and would miss the remainder of the season. Losing Pflueger is a tough blow for the Irish. In addition to his voice as a captain, Notre Dame will miss his defense, scoring, rebounding and passing.
Freshman guard Dane Goodwin will undoubtedly see his minutes go up. Does junior guard Nik Djogo see more action, much like last year when Matt Farrell and Harvey went down? Does Brey shake up the starting lineup a little to better balance the rotation?
The first look will come tonight, but it will be up to junior T.J. Gibbs and freshman Prentiss Hubb to lead the backcourt charge in the backcourt now, especially Gibbs when it comes to on-court leadership.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing thus far for Tommy Dempsey and Binghamton to begin the 2018-19 season.
The Bearcats are just 3-8 so far, and two of those wins have come against non-Division I programs.
Through 11 games, Binghamton is averaging just 69.6 points per contest while allowing 73.4. Dempsey’s group is shooting just 42.6 percent from the floor and 32.2 percent behind the arc.
According to KenPom.com, Binghamton ranks 335th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and 296th in adjusted defensive efficiency.
Binghamton is led by freshman guard Sam Sessoms, who is averaging 17.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game so far this season. He is joined by a trio of upperclassmen in the starting lineup: senior guard J.C. Shaw (11.1 points per game), senior forwards Chancellor Barnard (8.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest) and Caleb Stewart (8.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game).
Several other players have earned a start here and there, but junior guard Richard Caldwell (6.2 points per contest) has led the way with nine of those so he may be the most likely in this matchup.
A pair of senior guards provide solid backcourt depth in Timmy Rose (5.0 points per game) and Everson Davis (2.6 points per outing) while sophomore guard Albert Odero (6.0 points per contest) does the same. Freshman forward Calistus Anyichie should see time in the frontcourt as well.
It will take a group effort this evening in order for Binghamton to leave with a a defining win for the program.
This is obviously a matchup Notre Dame will be expected to win by around 20 points or more without much trouble.
Binghamton doesn’t have a ton of firepower offensively and the defensive side hasn’t made up for the struggles on the other end.
Notre Dame is coming off a good win against Purdue in Indianapolis, but is down two guards now with Pflueger and Carmody out for the season. Will that come into play? This contest probably won’t be the best gauge.
Notre Dame 83, Binghamton 60
It will be interesting to see how the Irish offense flows without Pflueger given his ability to make the right pass and keep the ball moving. Again, tonight won’t show a ton in my opinion.
Can Notre Dame carry over the offensive performance from the Purdue victory? If so, this will get ugly in a hurry. The Irish should cruise in this one either way.