Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 38 of 47 FEBRUARY 2018 39 MEN'S BASKETBALL BY COREY BODDEN A fter compiling a 10-3 record in non-conference play, Notre Dame began its always-chal- lenging ACC schedule with a 68-59 victory over Georgia Tech Dec. 30 in Purcell Pavilion. With records overall and in the league as of Jan. 1, here is a synop- sis of all 15 ACC programs follow- ing non-conference play and heading into league action — rated by our pro- jected finishes in the regular season. 1. Duke (13-1, 1-0 ACC) The upset versus Boston College notwithstanding, Duke is arguably the most talented team in college basket- ball with four starting freshmen ranked among the nation's top 12 high school players to complement senior guard Grayson Allen. The Blue Devils have defeated current-No. 1 Michigan State. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski's group has five double-figure scorers, led by potential No. 1 overall NBA pick 6-11 Marvin Bagley III's 21.9 average to go with 11.6 rebounds per contest. 2. Virginia (12-1, 1-0 ACC) Per usual, head coach Tony Ben- nett has a suffocating defensive unit, while trying to be efficient on offense. The Cavaliers didn't post a signature non-conference win and lost to the lone top-25 foe: then-No. 18 West Vir- ginia (68-61). Still, look for Virginia to battle for the regular-season ACC title. 3. North Carolina (12-2, 1-0 ACC) Like Notre Dame, the defending national champs ran into a buzz saw against Michigan State (63-45). The reloading Tar Heels also fell at home to Wofford (79-75). Point guard Joel Berry remains a threat offensively, while forward Luke Maye and guard Kenny Wil- liams have been improving. Forward Cam Johnson, a transfer from Pitts- burgh, adds another scoring threat after returning from injury. 4. Miami (12-1, 1-0 ACC) No ACC team returned more play- ing time this year than the Hurri- canes, led by guards Ja'Quan New- ton and Bruce Brown, and they added top-20 recruit Lonnie Walker. Head coach Jim Larranaga's group has a signature win over then-No. 12 Minnesota on the road in the ACC- Big Ten Challenge. 5. Louisville (10-3, 0-0 ACC) The Cardinals lost head coach Rick Pitino and star freshman forward Brian Bowen prior to the season due to the FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting. In non-league action, Louisville lost to Purdue (66-57) and Seton Hall (79-77), and were drubbed by Kentucky (90-61). Interim head coach David Padgett and the Cardinals still have plenty of talent to cause damage. 6. Syracuse (12-2, 1-0 ACC) Like most Orange teams under Jim Boeheim, this year's version shines on defense, which has led to wins over former Big East counterparts George- town and Connecticut, plus a triumph versus Maryland. The Orange was upset at home by St. Bonaventure, and it will need to get more from its players outside the trio of Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett and Frank Howard. 7. Virginia Tech (11-3, 0-1 ACC) Head coach Buzz Williams' group was the No. 6 scoring team in the nation (91.3 points per game) during the non-conference slate, highlighted by wins versus Washington (103-79), Iowa (79-55) and Ole Miss (83-80). However, Syracuse's 2-3 zone sti- fled the Hokies in a 68-56 Orange win in the league opener. 8. Clemson (12-1, 1-0 ACC) A seven-game win streak entering conference play included defeating Florida, South Carolina and Ohio State. H o w e v e r, h e a d c o a c h B r a d Brownell's group was 10-2 in non- conference games last year, too — in- cluding vanquishing the Final Four- bound Gamecocks — before going 6-12 in the ACC. ACC GAUNTLET BEGINS Notre Dame attempts to compete while star Bonzie Colson is sidelined with injury BONZIE COLSON OUT UP TO EIGHT WEEKS WITH INJURY Notre Dame was dealt a severe setback Jan. 2, when the team announced All-Amer- ican senior forward Bonzie Colson was sched- uled to undergo surgery Jan. 4 for a fractured left foot he suffered in practice. He is pro- jected to miss eight weeks of game action. Colson, the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, was averaging 21.4 points and 10.4 re- bounds per contest and had notched nine double-doubles in 14 games. "We are all feeling for Bonzie right now, who was performing as well as any player in the country," head coach Mike Brey said. "We need to embrace this challenge." Sophomore John Mooney (3.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game), junior Elijah Burns (1.5 points and 2.0 rebounds) and senior Austin Torres (1.0 point and 1.2 boards) could see their minutes increased to varying degrees moving forward. Freshman wing D.J. Harvey (5.1 points and 2.2 rebounds) could also play the four. — Lou Somogyi Colson, who averaged 21.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game during Notre Dame's 11-3 start, suffered a fractured left foot in practice and is expected to miss eight weeks of game action. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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