The Orangemen (16-5, 6-4) defeated Notre Dame (12-9, 6-5) on Jan. 17 in South Bend, Indiana 81-70. Hakim Warrick led the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Gerry McNamara added 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting.
Success will not come easy the second time around for the Orangemen, playing without point guard Billy Edelin for the fifth time in their last six games. In the first meeting between the two teams, Edelin scored 17 points and dished out seven assists in 32 minutes. More importantly, Edelin held Chris Thomas, averaging 19.0 ppg, to just 13 points on 5-of-18 shooting.
Without Edelin in the line-up, Thomas will be able to shoot over the top of McNamara and blow by the Syracuse freshmen. That should be a major concern for the Orangemen, especially with the way Thomas has played in his last three games. Against No. 4 Pittsburgh, No.5 Connecticut, and a strong Seton Hall squad Thomas averaged 26.6 ppg.
Another concern for the Orangemen will be without Edelin in the line-up, Notre Dame will undoubtedly pressure the ball in an attempt to tire McNamara and negate his three-point shooting.
During Edelin's absence, the Orangemen are 3-1, but have struggled to beat much lesser opponents like Virginia Tech and Rutgers. They finally seemed to click, without Edelin running the show, against Miami on Saturday, winning 91-74.
McNamara broke out of his shooting slump by going 8-of-12 for 23 points and he handed out six assists. During the six games between the last Notre Dame game and Miami, McNamara shot just 20-for-75 from the filed (26.6 percent) and had averaged just 11.3 ppg; scoring in single digits in four of the six games.
Hakim Warrick also shined making good on all 11 of his shot attempts for 27 points. Warrick had struggled recently as well against Providence and then Rutgers, averaging just 13 ppg during those games, down from his season average of 19.5 ppg.
Note Dame, on the other hand, is on a bit of a roll after losing three straight. Since then, they've upset Connecticut 80-74 and edged out Seton Hall 71-68. Big games from Torin Francis (14.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg) and Chris Quinn (14.0 ppg) could result in another upset from Notre Dame.
Syracuse owns a 17-14 lead all-time in the series and has won nine of the last 10 meetings.
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