By Julio Salazar | Staff Writer
February 2, 2016
NOTRE DAME, IN- January was a very important month for Notre Dame as it started its ACC slate of games. Nine games and three major road games later, the Irish sit at 6-3 in the conference. The first month of 2016 also saw the Irish leave Cameron Indoor Stadium with a win and suffer a loss in the Carrier Dome without Demetrius Jackson (hamstring). Overall, January was a successful month for Coach Brey after a tough start to the season. Currently, Notre Dame is just outside the rankings and sitting at fourth in the conference. A tough slate in February proves that it never gets easier in the toughest conference.
The University of Notre Dame Athletic Department released the Men’s Basketball Schedule; find it here. This monthly post will look ahead at the Irish schedule and make predictions. Now is time for February.
Irish record: 15-6
Salazar record: 16-5
*All rankings show reflect the AP ranking at time of writing
February 3, 2015 @ #17 Miami (16-4): February begins with a tough road game at BankUnited Center. This game, televised on ESPN, will feature Dick Vitale calling the action. Each team has high offensive production and star players. Particularly, all eyes should be on ND’s Demetrius Jackson and Miami’s Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan, a finalist for two national awards (Jerry West Award and Oscar Robertson Trophy). The crowd at Miami will certainly be raucous, looking to avenge Miami’s loss in Purcell last year. Notre Dame’s defense is still suspect, and Miami has too much firepower. Miami win.
February 6, 2016 vs #2 North Carolina: The Irish return to the comfort of Purcell Pavilion, this time with a huge game against the probable number one team in the nation. ESPN’s College GameDay will be on hand to cover this marquee matchup. Purcell will be rocking for this game, matching the intensity of last year’s Duke trip to Notre Dame. With the motto “no one leaves Notre Dame number 1,” UNC will have a tough test. Irish come away with a big win against the Tar Heels.
February 8, 2016 @ Clemson: Clemson has been a very inconsistent, yet surprising team. Early on, the team had some bad losses to UMASS, Minnesota, and has lost to Georgia. However, they did put together a five game winning streak against Florida State, Louisville, Duke, Miami, and Syracuse, possibly the best streak of wins in the nation. Clemson seems to be trending down however, while Notre Dame is turning it on at the right time. Notre Dame gets another road win in the ACC.
February 13, 2016 vs #19 Louisville: Another tough matchup against a great ACC team provides a challenge for the Notre Dame squad. All of the Cardinals’ losses come to high-quality teams which could make deep pushes in the tournament. After three tough games, Louisville will catch the Irish at a vulnerable point of the season and steal a victory in South bend.
February 20, 2016 @ Georgia Tech: A trip to the deep South for the Irish against a team it defeated 72-64 in January should pose no true threat. Irish win.
February 24, 2016 @ Wake Forest: Yet another notch in the travel heavy schedule for the Irish, Notre Dame visits Salem-Winston to face the Demon Deacons, who were handedly defeated by Notre Dame at the end of January. Senior captain Austin Burgett shone against WF, so expect to see him get quality minutes again in this one. Notre Dame wins.
February 27, 2016 @ Florida State: The February schedule closes on the road for the third straight game in what promises to be a brutal month for Notre Dame. It’s hard to see this Irish team (or any ACC team) win three straight conference road games. For that reason alone, matched with FSU’s talent and crowd, Notre Dame heads into March with a loss.