The second annual Gotham Classic is already underway, but the most important games are taking place in New York City this coming weekend.
While Notre Dame and Ohio State have been hosting challengers on campus over the past few weeks, these two top-tier programs will finally be squaring off against one another to close out the event.
Let’s take a look at where you can watch this thrilling matchup, make some predictions on how it will end and check out the results from the previous contests leading up to the 2013 Gotham Classic.
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, N.Y.
When: Saturday, Dec. 21
Watch: ESPN 2 (Game 1 only)
Live Stream: WatchESPN (Game 1 only)
Game 1: Notre Dame vs. No. 3 Ohio State at 7:30 p.m. ET
Game 2: Bryant vs. Delaware at 9:30 p.m. ET
|12/7/13||Bryant vs. North Dakota State||NDSU 66 – Bryant 62|
|12/7/13||Notre Dame vs. Delaware||ND 80 – UD 75|
|12/9/13||Notre Dame vs. Bryant||ND 70 – Bryant 58|
|12/11/13||Notre Dame vs. North Dakota State||NDSU 73 – Notre Dame 69|
|12/11/13||Ohio State vs. Bryant||OSU 86 – Bryant 48|
|12/14/13||Ohio State vs. North Dakota State||OSU 79 – NDSU 62|
|12/16/13||North Dakota State vs. Delaware||NDSU 85 – UD 66|
|12/18/13||Ohio State vs. Delaware||OSU 76 – UD 64|
Marquee Game Preview: Notre Dame vs. Ohio State
The Buckeyes are currently undefeated and should be heavily favored, but they are definitely beatable in the Gotham Classic finale.
OSU played one of its worst games of the season on Wednesday night, barely edging the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens in one of the lead-in matches ahead of Saturday night’s clash with Notre Dame.
Ohio State had little business winning that matchup, as it shot a lower percentage, had nearly double the amount of turnovers (13) as it did assists (7) and was consistently beat off the dribble and around the hoop for easy scores.
The Buckeyes were fortunate enough to have the size advantage, as they used it to outrebound Delaware, 46 to 30, and swat away seven shot attempts from the Fightin’ Blue Hens.
They won’t be as lucky against Notre Dame, a group that prides itself on ball movement—18.8 assists per game—and has been putting up bunches of points along the way to an 8-3 start to the 2013-14 campaign.
The Fighting Irish recently scored a big victory over Indiana, playing all-around smart, efficient basketball to outlast the Hoosiers, 79-72, in Indianapolis. It should help build momentum for their next big game, this one taking place at MSG in the Big Apple.
Expect Jerian Grant to play a big part in any upset for Notre Dame. The senior guard has turned it on this season and is averaging a whopping 19.1 points, 6.4 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.
Which team will win?
He’ll have his hands full with OSU’s all-time assist leader Aaron Craft. The senior may only be averaging 10.0 points and 4.8 assists per game, but he’s one of the most tenacious defenders in the country and swipes 2.5 steals per contest.
It should be a great showdown and one you won’t want to miss, as it likely will come right down to the wire. Ohio State gets a slight edge for having a bit more experience and mettle in these situations, but Notre Dame will keep things interesting.
Prediction: Ohio State 69 – Notre Dame 65