Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim can pass Adolph Rupp for fourth place all-time among Division I coaches with 876 career wins if Syracuse is able to defeat Notre Dame on the road on Saturday night.
MISSING TIM: When Notre Dame lost senior Tim Abromaitis for the season, it was obvious what the effect was going to be—a lack of offense. Seventeen games have gone by since Abromaitis went down with a torn ACL and Notre Dame is near the bottom in several offensive categories. Its 68.9 ppg is 163rd in the NCAA. Its 43.2 percent field goal percentage is 185th. Rebounding? Try 34.3 a game, which is 213th. That’s what Abromaitis, who was averaging 14.0 points and 7.0 rebounds, could’ve helped out with.
SCOUTING THE IRISH: The loss of Abromaitis has sped along the development of sophomore Eric Atkins, who has seen his stats rise in a similar way to Fab Melo’s. Atkins is averaging 13.3 points in 37.9 minutes a game, up from 5.8 points in 25.4 minutes his freshman year. Junior Jack Cooley has provided some much needed toughness on the interior, and leads the Irish in rebounding at 8.3 a game and also chips in 10.4 ppg.
IN NOTRE DAME’S LAST GAME: Rutgers guard Eli Carter scored 13 points to lead a balanced attack, as the Scarlet Knights topped Notre Dame 65-58 at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. Five different Rutgers players scored nine points or more, as it led by at least four points the entire second half. Atkins had 15 points to lead the Irish, who are now 1-7 on the road.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Notre Dame and Syracuse last met on Jan. 1, 2011, with the Orange using a 19-5 run in the second half to beat the Fighting Irish, 70-58. Rick Jackson scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds in the win. SU leads the all-time series, 24-18.
GAME INFORMATION: Sat., Jan 21. 6:00 p.m. ESPN. South Bend, IN.