Notre Dame becomes the last ACC team to hit the hardcourt when Mike Brey’s 23rd Fighting Irish squad plays host Radford on Thursday night at South Bend, Ind.
Brey lost fabulous freshman guard Blake Wesley to the NBA Draft — Notre Dame’s first first-round pick since Jerian Grant in 2015 — but retains three starters from last year’s crew that finished second in the ACC and scared Texas Tech in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Fighting Irish will boast one of the most experienced teams in the country with five graduate students among their top seven — led by guards Dane Goodwin (13.6 points per game) and Cormac Ryan (9.2) and forward Nate Laszewski (9.3 points, 6.5 rebounds per game). All three shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range.
Notre Dame also boasts perhaps the most highly touted freshman in Brey’s tenure: 6-4, 200-pound combo guard JJ Starling, who ranked No. 21 on the Recruiting Services Consensus Index’s Top 100 list.
While Notre Dame is the last ACC school to get underway, the Irish will race through six home games and one neutral contest in November to prepare for their ACC opener Dec. 3 vs. Syracuse.
“The thing that kept staring at me as we put together the schedule is we have three ACC games in December,” Brey said. “The world has kind of changed with the 20-game schedule and the league coming at you.”
Notre Dame finished the 2021-22 campaign with a 14-1 record on its home floor.
“It started out early in the year,” Goodwin said. “We had a couple big home nonconference wins. I think it really carried over into our ACC schedule.”
Radford, picked to finish sixth in the Big South, opened Monday with a 79-69 loss at Marquette. The Highlanders were within three points with 13 minutes to go, but that’s when the Golden Eagles used a 16-0 run to put the game away.
Freshman guard Kenyon Giles paced Radford (0-1) with 15 points while fifth-year senior Shaquan Jules registered his third career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
–Field Level Media