#1 Syracuse Suffers 1st Loss at Notre Dame

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With what happened tonight in South Bend, I felt it necessary to re-run yesterday’s story about Notre Dame knocking off so many #1 ranked teams. It seems very prescient now on my part, almost predicative . Though I did say in the article I don’t think it was going to happen.

Jack Cooley (yes, the new Luke Harangody looking guy) had 17 points and 10 rebounds against a Syracuse team missing its shot-blocking, rebounding center Fab Melo as the Irish knocked off the Orange 67-58 on Saturday.

Fans stormed the court after the ND upset victory, something you got to do when you beat #1. It was the eighth time Notre Dame has beaten a No. 1 team—that ties for fourth-most all-time, with North Carolina having the most with 12.

 

Here’s the article from yesterday:

The Syracuse Orange have been the kings of the college basketball court this season. The Bernie Fine child molestation scandal, and the early season calls for the head of Jim Boeheim haven’t distracted them, as they’ve gone 7-0 in the Big East and 20-0 overall, the Cuse is off to its best start in program history.

They look poised to make a run deep into March.

But as several other #1 teams have learned over the past few decades, beating Notre Dame on its home court is no easy task. Notre Dame’s most notable victory over a #1 team came 38 years ago this week, on Jan. 19, 1974, when the #2 Irish ended UCLA’s historic NCAA-record 88-game winning streak.

 

Coincidentally, it was Notre Dame that had last defeated the Bruins, nearly three years earlier on Jan. 23, 1971. These were the legendary John Wooden teams.

I still don’t think it’s going to happen. ND just had their long home win streak end in a 14 point defeat to UConn. I think the Orange should be fine in getting past this one. However, they have to lose some time, and history might just be on the side of the Irish Saturday at 6pm.

More top-ranked opponents have fallen at the Purcell Pavilion (Joyce Center):

San Francisco (1977), Marquette (1978), DePaul (1980) and most recently, North Carolina (1987). The Irish also defeated #1 Virginia on Feb. 22, 1981 at Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, IL. Notre Dame has played 30 games against opponents ranked first in the Associated Press Poll since the 1951-52 season, and the Fighting Irish have compiled a 7-23 record during that time (They are 9-23 if you count the 1954 and 1981 victories over Indiana and Kentucky, respectively, teams that were #1 in the Coaches Poll, but not the AP).

Though the .233 winning percentage is still awful, it compares well against the winning percentage of other teams.

Notre Dame has won its last five contests against top-ranked teams. That last home loss was in 1973, when the Wooden Bruins were in the midst of their unprecedented streak. Since the victory over North Carolina on Feb. 1, 1987, the Irish have lost to five #1 teams, but all of these games were played away from the comforts of campus.Other statistics about Notre Dame vs. #1 AP teams:

— 10: Number of games against UCLA

— 6: Number of games against Kentucky

— 4: Number of games each against Indiana & Duke

— 5-8: Record when Notre Dame was ranked

— 2-15: Record when Notre Dame was unranked

— 0-10: Away record

— 6-3: Home record

— 1-10: Neutral site record

— 2-5: January record

If the Cuse win in South Bend, they’ll have another dangerous road test at the Cincinnati Bearcats, plus two with UConn. A home date with Georgetown looms, as well as the potential road blocks in the upsets of Big East conference play.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

 

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