Notre Dame gets one final tune-up before beginning its grueling ACC schedule when it hosts Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday. The Fighting Irish are 16-1 under coach Mike Brey as they prepare for their final game before Christmas.
The Irish slipped from the Top 25 after Saturday’s 80-77 overtime loss to Indiana – their third defeat in five games. They got back on track with a 97-87 triumph over Dartmouth on Tuesday in which Bonzie Colson poured in a career-high 37 points on 15-of-21 shooting – the highest scoring output for an Irish player since 2010. The Lions, who have dropped two straight and are coming off an 82-74 loss at Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday, are playing their first Power Five opponent this season. Notre Dame is 6-0 against Southland Conference teams but never has faced the Lions.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra
ABOUT SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA (6-6): The Lions will have a tough time matching up with Notre Dame’s size as they have only one player on the roster taller than 6-7. Seven members of the team average at least 7.2 points, but only two score in double figures – 6-7 forward Jordan Capps (12.8 points) and 5-9 point guard Marlain Veal (12.8, 5.3 assists). Moses Greenwood (8.8 points, 6.4 rebounds) is the team’s top rebounder.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (9-3): Although undersized at 6-6, Colson (21.8 points, 9.8 rebounds) is one of the most productive big men in the nation and leads the ACC in scoring. Colson gets plenty of room to operate because the Irish have a couple of excellent 3-point shooters in Matt Farrell (16.8 points, 5.5 assists) and T.J. Gibbs (14.1 points). Farrell shoots 41.3 percent from long range, while Gibbs hits a blistering 51.8 percent.
1. Brey is three wins shy of passing Digger Phelps (393) as Notre Dame’s all-time winningest coach.
2. Colson has scored in double figures in 29 straight games and leads active ACC players in career double-doubles (30) and rebounds (806).
3. Veal has been boom-or-bust in the scoring column, topping 20 points three times but failing to reach double digits on six occasions.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 85, Southeastern Louisiana 64