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Next Up - Notre Dame

Time: 7:00 || Venue: Cameron Indoor Stadium || Video: ESPN

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Virginia v Duke
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 27: Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Duke Blue Devils reaches for the ball during their game against the Virginia Cavaliers at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 27, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina. Virginia won 65-63.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Next up for Duke is Notre Dame. The Irish come to Cameron with serious injury problems: Bonzi Colson is out. Matt Farrell is almost certainly out (we haven’t heard any updates) and even if he plays, gutty kid though he is, he’s certainly not at 100%. Toss in DJ Harvey’s injury and you’ve got a real problem.

There’s one other problem for Notre Dame and it’s Virginia.

As Brey knows, better than almost anyone, Duke is usually intensely focused after a loss. The Irish are likely to get an angry and focused bunch of Blue Devils.

However, that’s not always enough to guarantee victory. Notre Dame has competed extremely well despite its injuries.

Colson has been out since January 3rd. Since then Notre Dame has showed serious heart, beating NC State senseless 88-58, nipped Syracuse by two, lost to Georgia Tech by seven, UNC by one, Notre Dame by four in double OT, to Clemson by nine and Virginia Tech by five.

It’s a losing streak but get real: how many teams could even do that without their two best players?

We admire their grit tremendously and their fans should be really proud of them. And it’s not totally hopeless for a couple of reasons.

First, the aforementioned. Notre Dame is a very tough-minded team. And secondly, Duke played on Saturday and ended up getting just six minutes from the bench (Alex O’ Connell was sick and Javin DeLaurier is still having some trouble with his hamstring).

Three starters went for 40 minutes - Grayson Allen, Marvin Bagley and Gary Trent - and Wendell Carter and Trevon Duval played 37 each.

Add to that the incredibly intense nature of Saturday’s game and you have the recipe for a tired, poor shooting team Monday - or for that matter, a team that reaches on defense. And with a thin bench already, that could be a major concern.

It’s a particular challenge for Duke.

As for Notre Dame, the Irish, missing three players, are limited too and also played Saturday (and are traveling). Terrence Gibbs had 27 and hit 6-6 from three point range. Rex Pflueger, Brey’s latest star in development (well, next to Gibbs), hit 15 as did sophomore forward John Mooney. Senior big man Martinas Geben kicked in 10 as well.

Like Duke, Notre Dame’s bench is thin but got a bit more out of its bench with 27 minutes.

As we’ve seen over the last couple of years, Brey has developed a brilliant offense. Notre Dame has a knack of throwing opponents off balance and getting wide open threes or easy penetration. They won’t have Colson, Farrell and Harvey to do it but as we’ve seen they’ve competed fiercely without them and Brey understands Duke like no other ACC coach, having spent years on the bench next to Coach K.

You could argue that this game could come down to Duke’s rebounding and inside game vs. Notre Dame’s precision offense.

To us though we see one of two scenarios: either Duke comes out and roars like a lion on both ends or a game between two tired teams for huge stakes. Don’t forget that for Notre Dame, a win in Cameron would immensely add to their NCAA resume which is not yet dead. And for Duke, a second consecutive home loss would seriously ding theirs.

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