To say the Big East in basketball is like the SEC of Big XII of football does not do the conference enough justice. What Big East basketball teams are going through this season is even a bit extreme for for Big East standards and just days after an overtime loss on the road in Louisville, Notre Dame looks to get things back on track against #8 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.
When you talk about teams who are statistically twins, Notre Dame and Syracuse come about as close to that as they can. Notre Dame averages 81.6 points per contest while Syracuse enters only scoring 80.9 a game themselves. Defense is the same story where both the Irish and Orange are allowing averages of 68.8 and 68.1 ppg respectivley.
In order for Notre Dame to win Luke Harangody needs to play an entire basketball game. Against Louisville, Luke faultered down the stretch a bit and did nothing in overtime. By no means can you expect the Irish to win going away, having Harangody be a factor for all forty minutes and then possibly beyond is a must because Syracuse offers great guard play that could very well shut down the outside game to a certain degree.
Personally, based on the skill of the opposition I do not feel that McAlarney, Jackson, and Ayers can be counted on to put up their usual numbers. The more I look into this game, the more I feel Luke Harangody needs to have a "Harangody type game".
Syracuse, led by coach Jim Boehiem, has seen great guard play this season from both Jonny Flynn (Soph.) and Eric Devendorf (Junior). Flynn enters whiel putting up 16.3 ppg and dishing out nearly six assists per contests. Devendorf enters scoring right at fourteen points a game. The Orange are led on the boards by forwards Paul Harris and Arinze Onuaku.
I feel that due to better defense being played by Syracuse and them being able to handle the Notre Dame snipers a little bit better than most schools are, expect to see this game not be quite as high scoring as many think it will be. I feel that Notre Dame is too good of a team to not beat a quality Big East team on the road this season and they get a big victory this afternoon in the dome.
Prediction: Notre Dame 72 Syracuse 70