Feb 1, 2013, 12:32 PM EDT
On Wednesday night, the Notre Dame men’s basketball team defeated Villanova to improve to 17-4 overall and 5-3 in BIG EAST play. With ten games remaining before the conference tournament, the Irish are getting ready for their first of two important swing trips.
Later this afternoon, it’s off to the Windy City suburbs in preparation for tomorrow’s matchup against DePaul (2 pm ET on ESPN2) at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill.
After the game, the team will stay outside of Chicago, before departing for Syracuse on Sunday morning.
The Irish and #6 Orange meet in a Big Monday showdown at the Carrier Dome (7 pm ET on ESPN). You can bet that “Otto’s Army” (the Syracuse student section) will be especially fired up for that one, after what happened to their top-ranked squad last January in South Bend.
With a top-10 opponent on the horizon, many fans are probably looking ahead to the latter of Notre Dame’s two upcoming contests. DePaul is 10-10 overall and just 1-6 in the conference, but both games are critical for the Irish, and as the BIG EAST proves time and time again, no opponent can be overlooked.
The race for the top four BIG EAST seeds is still very much up in the air. Syracuse and Marquette sit atop the standings with identical 6-1 records. St. John’s is in third at 6-3, while Notre Dame (5-3) is tied with Cincinnati, Louisville and Georgetown for fourth.
After losing three out of four in mid-January, Notre Dame has rebounded with back-to-back victories, and the re-invented Irish hope to build upon that momentum, especially after the emergence of Tom Knight and the breakout performance from Cam Biedscheid.
If they can pick up another pair of wins over the next few days, that highly anticipated visit from College GameDay and the primetime matchup with Louisville (Feb. 9 at 9 pm ET on ESPN) quickly becomes even more exciting.
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