UMBC (0-11) at (22) Notre Dame (10-0)
Wednesday, December 22nd, 7:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Joyce Center (11,418) -- South Bend, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: UMBC 0-4, Notre Dame 7-0. Away Record: UMBC 0-7, Notre Dame 0-0. Neutral Record: UMBC 0-0, Notre Dame 3-1. Conference Record: UMBC 0-0, Notre Dame 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The 22nd-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish carry a wealth of momentum into tonight's non-conference clash with the winless UMBC Retrievers.
UMBC has lost all 11 of its games thus far, seven of which have taken place on the road. On Saturday, the Retrievers dropped a 75-62 decision to Morgan State. Members of the America East Conference, UMBC will begin a full league slate in January.
Notre Dame has also played 11 games thus far, and all but one have resulted in victory. The lone loss came against a strong Kentucky squad, and the Fighting Irish have bounced back with two wins since that setback. On Sunday, Notre Dame cruised past Stony Brook by an 88-62 final, and the most notable wins to date have come over the likes of Gonzaga, California, Wisconsin and Georgia.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between UMBC and Notre Dame on the hardwood.
The Retrievers have struggled mightily at both ends of the court this season. Offensively, they are scoring just 64.7 ppg on 39.3 percent shooting from the floor, including 30.8 percent from three-point range. At the defensive end, they are permitting 82.2 ppg to foes on 50.1 percent shooting, including 40.4 percent from behind the arc. There are two double-digit scorers in the fold for UMBC, as Chris De La Rosa (14.6 ppg) and Travis King (12.8 ppg) have been fairly productive. De La Rosa leads the way on the boards as well with 6.8 rpg, but his 36.2 percent shooting from the floor leaves much to be desired. In the 13-point loss to Morgan State last time out, De La Rosa scored 20 points and handed out 11 assists with only two turnovers. Laurence Jolicoeur pitched in 13 points in a reserve role, while Chase Plummer added 11 points off the bench. UMBC lost the game in large part because it permitted the Bears to shoot 60.5 percent from the floor.
Notre Dame, which competes in the loaded Big East Conference, is scoring 80.3 ppg through 11 contests while limiting opponents to 64.5 ppg on 39.4 percent shooting from the field. The Fighting Irish boast four double-digit scorers, and Ben Hansbrough leads the pack with 15.8 ppg on the strength of his stellar 51.7 percent efficiency from three-point range. Hansbrough is also handing out 4.1 apg. As for Tim Abromaitis, he checks in with 15.6 ppg and 7.2 rpg, while Carleton Scott adds 12.8 ppg and 7.1 rpg to the mix. Rounding out the foursome is Tyrone Nash with 10.5 ppg. In Sunday's 26-point romp over Stony Brook, Abromaitis posted 22 points and eight rebounds, while Scott netted 20 points to go along with five assists. As for Hansbrough, he shot a lackluster 4-of-14 from the field, including 2-of-7 from three-point range, but still tallied 14 points and eight assists without a single turnover. Notre Dame dominated both ends of the court and every important statistical category.
There is no reason to believe that UMBC will even be able to keep the score respectable tonight. The Irish are far superior to the Retrievers and will cruise to victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Notre Dame 99, UMBC 58
12/22 10:44:12 ET