Matt Cashore / IrishIllustrated.com

The Gauntlet

Tim O'Malley and Tim Prister outline Notre Dame’s upcoming ACC schedule, ranking 18 game situations by degree of difficulty.

  1. At Virginia (Jan. 2) – The Cavaliers Pack Line defense presented a bad matchup for the Irish WITH graduates Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton in the fold. Beginning in Charlottesville is a tough break.
  2. At Duke (Jan. 16) – Won’t be like last season (a humiliating 30-point defeat) but winning is a tall order in Cameron, and Notre Dame has never done it.
  3. At Miami (Feb. 3) – A veteran, deep team seeking revenge after an ACC Tournament loss to Notre Dame last spring.
  4. North Carolina (Feb. 6) – Lost to the Irish twice on Tobacco Road last season including the ACC semi-finals. The Tar Heels own a major athletic advantage nevertheless.
  5. At Florida State (Feb. 27) – Freshmen duo of Bacon and Beasley certain to bring it vs. visiting Irish.
  6. At Syracuse (Jan. 28) – It’s a mixed bag in the Carrier Dome for the Irish, where they’ve played well and won, played well and lost, and been blown out.
  7. Louisville (Feb. 13) – Notre Dame’s home success against Cardinals merits a drop down the list but Louisville’s talent, coaching overrides that thought.
  8. At Georgia Tech (Feb. 20) – Yellow Jackets and Irish played to the wire twice last season – one squad has improved since.
  9. Miami (March 2) – Could be a NCAA bid-deciding clash for the Irish at Purcell. Will be the fourth meeting between the teams in 14 months.
  10.  At Wake Forest (Feb. 24) – Sandwich contest in a three-game road trip makes this visit to Winston-Salem a bit of a trap game for the Irish.
  11.  At Clemson (Feb. 8) – Comes two days after home tilt with North Carolina – and thus offers a letdown scenario regardless of the outcome. Benefitting Brey’s bunch is that Clemson is displaced from its home court for 2016, playing instead in Greenville, home of the ACC Tournament Champion Irish.
  12. North Carolina State (March 5) – Just the 10th meeting between these two programs with Notre Dame’s dramatic OT win in Raleigh last year the most recent.
  13. Pittsburgh (Jan. 9) – First ACC home game for Mike Brey’s squad after what will likely be a 1-1 road split to begin conference play.
  14. Georgia Tech (Jan. 13) – Big man Charles Mitchell will be a load for Irish to handle in the paint. The two teams have played close in four straight over last two seasons.
  15. Virginia Tech (Jan. 20) – Irish hold a five-game winning streak against Hokies but head coach Buzz Williams has Tech moving in the right direction.
  16. Wake Forest (Jan. 31) – Demon Deacons own wins over basketball royalty Indiana and UCLA already this season. Will make fifth-ever trip to South Bend and rematch Irish 25 days later.   
  17. At Boston College (Jan. 7) – Irish likely will be coming off ACC-opening loss at Virginia. They’ll be ready to even the score before ACC home-opener vs. Pittsburgh.
  18. Boston College (Jan. 23) – Usually by this point, the Eagles are about ready to cash it in after another slow start.

Irish Illustrated Prediction – 11-7 (7-2 home; 4-5 road)


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