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Notre Dame Players to Watch

Who are the impact players for the Fighting Irish?

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Florida State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Deacs have won 2 conference games in a row and now they have a chance to pick up a win in Southbend that would really help their NCAA tournament resume. Notre Dame is currently ranked 21st in the nation, but seeing that they lost twice last week there is a chance they could fall out of the top 25 by the time the game rolls around on Tuesday. Nonetheless, beating Notre Dame on the road would definitely be Wake’s best win this season. Due to the Super Bowl, this version of Players to Watch is going to be slightly abbreviated.

Bonzie Colson | Junior Forward | #35

Colson is an interesting player because he leads the ACC in rebounding despite being just 6-5. I haven’t watched a ton of Notre Dame games this year, but to me that would suggest he plays with a great deal of hustle and tenacity. This season he leads Notre Dame both in points and rebounds, averaging 15.6 points and 10.6 rebounds (14th in the nation) per game. He also grabs a little over 3 offensive rebounds per game. Offensive rebounds typically lead to easy putbacks or wide open 3-pointers, so keeping Colson off the boards will be important.

The Deacs should have a big height advantage inside if they can get the ball down low to Collins, who has about 5 inches over Colson. I really don’t see how Colson will stop Collins from scoring right over him, so Notre Dame will likely have to bring an extra defender, which will give the Deacs plenty of look from downtown.

V.J. Beachem | Senior Forward | #3

Beachem is a player that can score the ball from pretty much anywhere on the court. He is averaging 14.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. He shoots the most of anyone for the Fighting Irish, averaging 12 shots attempts per game with half of those being from beyond the 3-point line. He is shooting 44% from the floor (38% from 3) with an effective field goal percentage of 53%. He has a combination of height (6-8) and athleticism that makes him difficult to matchup with. A taller guy like Dinos will likely not be quick enough to defend him from the perimeter, and a shorter guy like Arians may not have the height to contest his shot closer to the rim.