Team Name: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Head Coach: Mike Brey, 300-159 (.654) overall, 6-12 (.333) in first season as a member of the ACC.
SB Nation Community: One Foot Down
Last Year Record: 15-17, 6-12, 13th place in the ACC
Final Kenpom Ranking: 99
Key Losses: Erik Atkins (13.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.9 apg), Garrick Sherman (13.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 0.9 apg)
Key Returnees: Jerian Grant (19.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 6.2 apg), Pat Connaughton (13.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.0 apg), Zach Auguste (6.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.4 apg), Demetrius Jackson (6.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.8 apg), Steve Vasturia (5.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.2 apg)
Additions (Transfers, Recruits): Austin Torres (sophomore back from knee surgery), Matt Farrell (freshman from Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.), Matt Gregory (freshman from Avon, Ind.), Martin Geben (freshman from Vilnius, Lithuania), Bonzie Colson (freshman from New Bedford, Mass.).
Games vs. BC: February 4 in South Bend, 7:00 p.m., RSN/NESN, February 21 in Chestnut Hill, 4:00 p.m., RSN/NESN
Projected Starting Lineup:
G Demetrius Jackson, sophomore
G Jerian Grant, senior
G-F Pat Connaughton, senior
F V.J. Beachem, sophomore
F Zack Auguste, junior
He's a Dude: Jerian Grant, senior guard. The Irish's leading returning scorer and preseason All-ACC selection missed the second half of last season after he left school "due to an academic manner that [he] did not handle properly" -- a situation very similar to Irish QB Everett Golson. Grant is back for his senior season. He's a dynamic guard that creates a lot of opportunities with his ability to slash to the rim. Also is a threat to score from deep (20-of-49 last year from 3 in limited action).
All-Time Series vs. Boston College: 13-10 Notre Dame
First Meeting: Notre Dame 74, Boston College 66 (February 7, 1963)
Last Meeting: Notre Dame 73, Boston College 69 (February 16, 2014)
Last Five Meetings:
L - Notre Dame 73, Boston College 69 (February 16, 2014)
L - Notre Dame 76, Boston College 73 (OT) (February 1, 2014)
L - Notre Dame 68, Boston College 65 (February 8, 2005)
W - Boston College 76, Notre Dame 69 (February 4, 2004)
L - Notre Dame 101, Boston College 96 (OT) (January 25, 2003)
How they match up with Boston College: I can't decide whether Notre Dame's first year in the conference will end up looking more outlier or new normal for Irish hoops in the ACC. The Irish lost Grant around the holidays, but still didn't quite click early on with losses to Indiana State and North Dakota State. BC let both games against the Irish slip away, but the program was without Jerian Grant by the time those February games rolled around. Losing Atkins and Sherman hurts, but the Irish return nearly every other significant contributor from last year's team to go with a four person 2014 recruiting class (remember when BCI freaked out when Donahue received a verbal from guard Matt Farrell ... yeah ...).
Grant returning worries me. So does Pat Connaughton, the former St. John's Prep (Mass.) wing who torched the Eagles for 34 points in two games last season (17 and 17).
GIF if Boston College wins:
GIF if Boston College loses:
Way Too Early Prediction: Notre Dame 80, Boston College 70 (South Bend), Boston College 76, Notre Dame 71 (Chestnut Hill)
Boston College is in a serious funk against the Irish. The program has only won twice in the last 11 games vs. the Irish, with a majority of that success coming at home (7-4 at home vs. Notre Dame). The Irish get the best of the Eagles in South Bend, but BC returns the favor later that month in Chestnut Hill.