Duke was not the only ACC team this weekend to battle back from a double-digit deficit only to fall short in the closing minutes. 

That same narrative occurred in South Bend, Ind., where Notre Dame rallied from a 15-point second-half hole before ultimately dropping its fifth consecutive game in an 80-75 setback against Virginia Tech. 

Both the No. 4 Blue Devils and the Fighting Irish will have a chance at redemption Monday at Cameron Indoor Stadium during a 7 p.m. clash between two teams without much depth. For Notre Dame, that wear and tear comes from a host of injuries to star players, hampering the team after a 3-0 conference start. For Duke, roster turnover and a bout of injuries and illness has left head coach Mike Krzyzewski without many options on the bench.

“We were a really good basketball team in the second half. We were a young team in the first half,” Krzyzewski said after the loss to the Cavaliers. “The best teacher is experience, and that’s what we’ve got to get in a short period of time. With a young team, that’s what you have to do, and this is a high-level game. This is a really high-level game. For us to be a part of that and have an opportunity to win, that serves us well. Obviously if you win, it serves you better.”

Monday’s matchup will be a quick turnaround for Duke (18-3, 6-3 in the ACC), with its primary bench players—Javin DeLaurier, Alex O’Connell and Marques Bolden—at less than 100 percent. As a result, senior Grayson Allen and freshmen Marvin Bagley III and Gary Trent Jr. played for the entire contest Saturday afternoon. Although none of the players admitted fatigue was a factor, the physicality of conference play could eventually catch up with them. 

Notre Dame (13-8, 3-5), by contrast, has been hit with even worse luck since preseason ACC Player of the Year Bonzie Colson went down with a foot fracture at the start of the month. Senior point guard Matt Farrell will also be sidelined for the second straight contest with a bone bruise after missing three games early in January with an ankle sprain. Without their two leading scorers, the Fighting Irish’s offensive potency has rapidly diminished. 

During its losing streak, Notre Dame has averaged just above 63 points per game—a figure that would rank last in the conference. But despite the injuries, Notre Dame has weapons that will command Duke’s attention. Sophomore guard T.J. Gibbs has taken charge of the offense in the absence of Colson and Farrell, averaging more than 16 points per game in conference play thus far and putting up a career-high 27 points against Virginia Tech Saturday. 

In addition to shutting down Gibbs, the Blue Devils will also need to address loose balls, turnovers and free throws offensively, all of which contributed to Saturday’s loss. 

“Playing against really good teams like Virginia tells us that we have to be sharp all the time,” freshman Trevon Duval said. “We have to be smart with the ball, we have to make free throws and do all the little things like rebounds, stuff like that to beat really good teams.”

Virginia demonstrated the advantages of experience and discipline, coughing up the ball just five times Saturday. And though much of the blame has been placed on Duval’s errant pass in the closing minute, the Blue Devils committed 15 other turnovers that repeatedly prevented them from gaining momentum against a team which thrives on slowing the game down and capitalizing on opponents’ miscues. 

Another episode of experience against youth will occur Monday night. Defeating the Fighting Irish—who commit the second-fewest turnovers in the ACC—will require that Saturday’s lessons manifest on the court.

Notre Dame resembles Virginia in a host of areas—free-throw shooting, offensive efficiency, physicality and discipline. That makes Monday a prime opportunity for the Blue Devils to demonstrate that youth and inexperience need not plague them for the entire season.

“We played against a very good team and learned about the physicality that comes in these big-time games,” senior Grayson Allen said. “We learned a lot about what we need to do better, and we can learn a lot from watching film from the second half. When we’re in such close games like that and we have Coach leading our team, we can be a very good basketball team.”

Hank Tucker and Sameer Pandhare contributed reporting.