Previewing Notre Dame

The Blue Devils and Irish will tip off on Saturday afternoon in South Bend in the ACC opener for both squads.

ROSTER
SCHEDULE
STATS
?SCOUT SITE

?PROJECTED STARTERS
?G- 24 Pat Connaughton (13.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg)
?G- 00 Eric Atkins (13.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg)
?F- 23 Demetrius Jackson (7.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
?F- 25 Tom Knight (4.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg)
?C- 11 Garrick Sherman (14.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg)

STAR WATCH
?Garrick Sherman -- A senior, Sherman presents a match-up problem for Duke and most other teams facing the Irish. He leads the active team in scoring (14.5 points per game) and rebounds (7.6), and has posted a double-double three times in the last five games.

Duke will counter Sherman with a platoon of Josh Hairston, Amile Jefferson, Jabari Parker, and perhaps Marshall Plumlee. Sherman is shooting a team-best 53.7% (73-136) from the field. He also is shooting 75.0% (42-56) from the free throw line.

Sherman began his career at Michigan State for the 2010 and 2011 seasons before transferring.


STORYLINES

  • The Fighting Irish are coming off an 87-81 overtime victory over Canisius on Sunday.

  • Saturday will be the first meeting between Notre Dame and Duke since the Blue Devils topped the Irish, 84-77, in the second round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament in Greenville, S.C. It will be the 22nd meeting all-time between the two programs with Duke holding a 19-2 advantage in the series. The Blue Devils have won the last 11 encounters with the Irish.

  • Duke hasn't been to South Bend since 1995 when the Blue Devils beat the Irish by 13. Notre Dame hasn't beaten Duke since 1987.

  • Of course there are significant ties between the two programs beginning at the top. Irish coach Mike Brey was an assistant to Duke's Mike Krzyzewski for eight seasons.

  • Senior point guard Eric Atkins was named the ACC Player of the Week for his performance in Sunday's win over Canisius. He became the first Fighting Irish player to garner an ACC weekly honor after he logged a career-high 30 points and played all 45 minutes in the overtime victory over Canisius.

  • Atkins was named to the watch list for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. Atkins is averaging 13.2 points and 4.5 assists per game this season and boasts a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.

  • Notre Dame ranks 10th nationally in free throw percentage (.763). That is the third-best percentage in the ACC.

  • Notre Dame ranks eighth nationally and second in the ACC with a 1.68 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Irish have the country's seventh-best assists-per-game mark (17.8), which is first in the ACC.

  • Prior to the 2013-14 campaign, Notre Dame men's basketball players would close out their huddles with the slogan "Together." That all changed this season as the team has adopted a new motto "One More" when it breaks its huddles. Notre Dame's One More theme signifies the team's desire and ability to go beyond the normal levels of preparation — it represents the desire to win one more game by focusing on the business at hand in order to achieve that goal.


    Notre Dame athletics contributed to this report.


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