Game Preview: ND/Georgia

Notre Dame begins Old Spice Classic play with a 7:00 PM Thanksgiving tip-off.

Notre Dame vs. Georgia

Team Records: Notre Dame (4-0). UGA (3-0)

Tip-off: 7:00 PM on ESPN2

Previous outings: Notre Dame defeated Maine 97-72. Georgia last played on November 20, defeating St. Louis at the Chaifetz Arena, 61-59 on a last second layup.

Stat to Note: Notre Dame's last two victories have showcased two statistical highlights: In a 102-62 win over Chicago State, the front line of Carleton Scott, Tim Abromaitis, and Tyrone Nash each posted a double-double. Earlier this week, six Irish players scored in double digits though none attempted more than nine shots from the field.

Early Season Quote to Note: "If they get you moving a little bit they really make that extra pass…They also have great size and are able to get their shots off. That's one of the keys for them: not only are they great shooters but you're talking about guys that are 6'8" that are great shooters. We've been a pretty good defensive basketball team for the last couple years and we really struggled to guard them today." – Maine head coach Ted Woodward.

Point Spread: Notre Dame -6

Notre Dame Starters and Key Contributors

  • Forward: 6'8" 218-pound senior Carleton Scott – Efficient to date hitting 14 of 24 shots including 6 of 12 from long range while leading the Irish with 32 boards in just 92 game minutes…Has added a team-high 7 blocks with 9 assists and 3 steals though has committed 4 fouls in each of the season's first four contests.
  • Forward: 6'8" 235-pound senior Tim Abromaitis – Broke out of a 4 for 22 three-point shooting slump by drilling 5 of 6 from long range vs. Maine; 8 of 9 shots overall and a perfect 4 for 4 from the charity stripe…Vastly improved passer has 13 assists vs. 3 turnovers while ranking third on the team with 25 boards in four games…Hit for 26 points on Monday night to lead all scorers.
  • Forward: 6'8" 232-pound senior Tyrone Nash – Senior middle man has attempted twice as many free throws (35) as field goals (17) en route to an 11.8 ppg average…The formerly awful free throw shooter has connected on 29 of 35 from the charity stripe this season while serving as a facilitator of the Irish offense from both the high and low post…Nash has 25 boards, (14 offensive to lead the squad), 13 assists and just 3 turnovers while averaging better than 26 minutes per contest.
  • Guard/Forward: 6'8" 219-pound senior Scott Martin – Missed Game Three vs. Chicago State with back spasms but returned vs. Maine to notch his Irish career high 16 points on 6-8 shooting…Had shot 4-16 from the field and 1-8 from behind the 3-point line in the first two games prior to righting the ship…Has 10 boards and 8 assists though also 6 turnovers in his assimilation to the college game after two full seasons on the sideline (transfer followed by a torn ACL).
  • Guard: 6'3" 203-pound senior Ben Hansbrough – Has drilled 16 of his first 27 three-point shots while leading the Irish in scoring in three of the first four contest…Suffered through first "off" night: a 2-7 effort from the field vs. Maine but still managed 1-2 from downtown…Senior has dished out 23 assists vs. just 8 turnovers through 118 minutes.

Key Reserves:

  • Guard: 6'2" 173-pound freshman Eric Atkins – Shooting 52 percent from the field; 54 percent from the 3-point line and has posted 17 assists with just 4 turnovers as the Irish sixth-man…Chipped in with 10 boards and 8.5 ppg vs. four overmatched foes…Earned his first career start in Game Three vs. Chicago State replacing injured swingman Scott Martin (back spasms).
  • Forward: 6'6" 215-pound sophomore Joey Brooks – Has connected on 5 of 7 two-point shots but just 1 of 8 from downtown through four games…Provides extra physical presence at SG or SF as the team's 8th man…Has 10 boards with 5 assists, 5 steals but 4 turnovers in just over 55 minutes of action…Needs to play much more under control to earn better than 10 minutes during the course of the season.
  • Center/Forward: 6'9" 244-pound sophomore Jack Cooley – Sophomore center has emerged as an early season surprise with 20 rebounds (10 offensive) while connecting on 13 of 16 field goals and 4 of 6 free throws in an average of 11 minutes per game off the bench…Ranks second on the squad with four blocked shots…Could be foul prone early in his career especially as the level of competition rises.
  • Forward: 6'9" 248-pound sophomore Mike Broghammer – Brings a physical presence to the court as one of the team's best screen setters and board men…Still developing a limited offensive game though he's not tentative with the ball.

Meet the Bulldogs

The 3-0 Bulldogs are a bit more battle tested than are the Irish, defeating Big 12 foe Colorado by 9 in Athens then traveling to St. Louis to nip the Billikens, 61-59 on a buzzer-beating layup. The bulk of Georgia's scoring is courtesy a trio of upperclassmen with Travis Leslie, Jeremy Price and Gerald Robinson each totaling between 16.7 and 18.7 points per contest

Pre-season SEC Player of the Year candidate Trey Thompkins has yet to play this season after injuring his ankle in late October.

The high-flying Leslie is 20-34 from the field on the young season and at just 6'4" 200, leads UGA with 8.3 boards per contest. At 6'8" 264 pounds, senior Jeremy Price has matched Leslie from the field hitting on 20 of his first 31 shots through three contests. Price has averaged nearly 20 minutes per game since his freshman season in Athens and banked home the aforementioned game-winner last week vs. St. Louis.

Robinson, a 6'1" 165-pound point guard who sat out last season after transferring from Tennessee State, has logged better than 30 minutes per night to begin his Bulldogs career. The junior has 17 assists but 14 turnovers while connecting on at least one three-point field goal over the first three games (4-7). Both Hansbrough and Atkins will have their hands full defending Robinson's ability to off the bounce.

Sophomore guard Dustin Ware has logged better than 32 minutes per contest and over his two-years at Georgia while maintaining an 8-point per game average. The Powder Springs native had better than a 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio as a true freshman last season to lead the SEC while adding a steal per game.

Rounding out the starting five is 6'7" senior transfer Connor Nolte, the second of two forwards in the Bulldogs three-guard offense. 6'8" 24-pound forward Chris Barnes sees ample time of the bench and has grabbed 8 offensive boards in 48 minutes of game action.

Georgia had dropped 11 consecutive road games prior to last Saturday's win at St. Louis though first-year Bulldogs head coach Mark Fox did guide his overmatched troops to three wins over Top 25 opponents last winter. Look for the Irish size, experience and versatility to prove too much in their first matchup vs. a BCS conference foe this season.

Prediction: Notre Dame 85 Georgia 73


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