Bonzie Colson and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were living up to their expectations during the 2017-18 season. After 14 games, the Fighting Irish were (11-3). They won their first ACC game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and seemed ready to challenge the rest of the conference for the regular season championship. Then, Colson went down with a foot injury that was set to keep him out for up to two months. Well, Colson’s last game was on December 30, and he will be back in some capacity on February 28.
Colson is averaging 21.4 points and 10.4 rebounds during his 14-game stint. He was on pace to be an All-American, which he received preseason honors. However, injuries happen and he has to settle for trying to help lead the program back to the NCAA Tournament. What was once a foregone conclusion took a severe hit without Colson in the lineup.
Although they won the first two games without Colson, the Fighting Irish lost seven straight games, including the first one in February. However, they have bounced back to win 4 of their last 6 contests. As a result, the Fighting Irish are (17-12) and on the cusp of an at-large bid. Colson’s ability to display he is 100 percent healthy may be the difference. Moreover, the Fighting Irish need some wins in the final two regular season games.
They host the Pittsburgh Panthers on Senior night. One way or another, you felt like Colson would try to make it on the court for his final home game in Notre Dame history. If he is able to perform at a high level, it’s even better. The Panthers have not won a single ACC game, so the Irish should have an easy time. They are a 21-point favorite. Meaning, Colson may have an opportunity to work his way back into game shape without any pressure. There’s another reason why Colson’s return is important.
They visit the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday. Most likely, they need an effective Colson to pull the upset. If he knocks off the rust and the Fighting Irish complete the road win, they would be a lock to make the Field of 68. That’s how big this weekend can be. Furthermore, Colson should have two games under his belt prior to the start of the ACC Tournament. In three career game against the Cavaliers, Colson is averaging 18.3 points and 7 rebounds. Those are the type of numbers that could have the Fighting Irish dancing to March Madness.