Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Auburn Tigers Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 16th 2023

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Maintaining a high energy level has been an issue for the Auburn and Notre Dame basketball teams in the young season.

Perhaps the marquee stage of the annual Legends Classic will lead to more spirited performances for the Tigers and Fighting Irish on Thursday night when they meet at the Brooklyn Nets’ home arena in New York.

Auburn and Notre Dame enter the first all-time meeting between the two with matching 1-1 records. However, neither Tigers coach Bruce Pearl nor first-year Irish boss Micah Shrewsberry is happy with his team’s early performance.

The Tigers fell 88-82 against then-No. 20 Baylor to open the season, then earned an 86-71 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Friday. However, Auburn shot 41.4 percent during the win and has yielded 97 combined points in the second half this season.

“I’m still not happy,” Pearl said. “I’m still having to coach effort and energy. That’s a problem.”

Auburn’s 6-foot-10 Johni Broome has not been much of a problem while averaging 17 points — on 11-of-22 shooting — and 11 rebounds. He posted double-doubles in both games.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, has struggled during its first two games. The Irish trailed Niagara by 12 points in the first half before rallying for a 70-63 victory, then fell behind by 13 entering halftime and lost 71-61 to visiting Western Carolina on Saturday.

“We’ve got to find a way to start better, right?” Shrewsberry said. “Unfortunately, we’ve been a low-energy group. Put that on us coaches to get them better ready from the jump.”

Notre Dame has struggled to defend the 3-point shot, allowing opponents to go 14-for-38 (36.8 percent) from behind the arc. Meanwhile, the Irish are 11-for-43 (25.6 percent) from long distance through the first two games.

On a positive note for the Irish, freshman Markus Burton, who hails from neighboring Mishawaka, Ind., has totaled 46 points on 17-of-35 shooting to open his collegiate career.

The winner of the Thursday contest will face either Oklahoma State or St. Bonaventure in the Friday night championship game. The losers will meet for third place.

–Field Level Media

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