Radford vs Notre Dame Preview and Prediction
Radford vs Notre Dame Preview
Date/Time: Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.
Location: Purcell Pavilion (South Bend, Ind.)
Watch Live (ACC Network Extra)
The Radford and Notre Dame men’s basketball programs will meet for the first time ever on Wednesday night in an underrated clash of two solid teams.
The Highlanders moved to 2-0 on the season with a solid 88-78 victory against UIC at the Dedmon Center on Friday night. Redshirt sophomore guard Carlik Jones tallied a 24-point, 10-assist double-double in the game, both of which are new career highs. The Flames kept things close throughout the first half, bouncing back from Radford’s 19-7 run to make it a four-point game heading into halftime. UIC even took a 44-41 lead at the 16:25 mark of the second half, but the Highlanders outscored them, 47-34, from that point on the secure the victory.
Just like Radford, Notre Dame played and beat UIC 84-67 on Nov. 6th. The Fighting Irish finished the UIC game 36-for-38 at the free throw line. It was the third-best free throw shooting performance for a team with 35 FTA or more since 1996-97.
Notre Dame has led the ACC in free throw shooting the past two seasons, posting a school and ACC record .800 in 2016-17 and following up with a .758 mark to pace the league in 2017-18. If the first two contests of 2018-19 are any indication, Notre Dame should be among the league leaders from the charity stripe again throughout the year. The Irish are 50-for-57 from the free throw line in two games, good enough to rank fourth in the NCAA.
Battle on the Boards
If Radford will want any chance to top the Irish, they will need to rebound the basketball, specifically on the defensive end. Notre Dame has hauled down 18 offensive rebounds in both of their games this season.
The Highlanders haven’t been a slouch on the boards, averaging 38 RPG in their two games, but those were against opponents with less rebounding prowess as Notre Dame.
Radford’s offense has been elite
The Highlanders’ offense has been clicking on all cylinders through the first two games of the 2018-19 season. They are currently averaging 89.5 points per game which ranks first in the Big South and would easily surpass the school record for scoring average of 82.9 (1987-88). Radford also ranks first in the Big South in field goal percentage (60-120, 50%), 3-point field goal percentage (30-54, 55.6%) and assists per game (20.0).
Notre Dame’s fresh faces
Graduated from the team are star players Bonzie Colson (19.7 ppg, 10.7 rpg), Matt Farrell (16.3 ppg) and Martinas Geben (11.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg).
The freshman class of Robby Carmody, Dane Goodwin, Prentiss Hubb, Nate Laszewski and Chris Doherty was ranked 10th in the nation by ESPN – the highest recruiting class rating of the Mike Brey era. The four players active in this freshman class have combined to score 71 points in two games this season – a total that already surpasses three Brey-era rookie classes.
Robby Carmody became the first Notre Dame true freshman to start the first game of the season since Torin Francis against Belmont on Nov. 17, 2002.
LINE: -13 Notre Dame
The line of this game is telling–Radford has played lights out to start the season with an offense that looks like it can put up 80+ a game. Notre Dame is on a different level despite playing with a lot of newcomers and less experience than any other Mike Brey Irish team.
I think Radford will hang in this game until the final minutes of the second half, and if I’m putting money on it, I’m taking the Highlanders plus the points.
Notre Dame 82 Radford 75