Thursday, February 15, 2007

Alamo: Part 1

Russell Carter was one missed foul shot away from giving Providence a chance to tie the game with a three in the final minute. It should have been iced much earlier, but horrendous free throw shooting and Butterfinger Falls nearly gave away the biggest meltdown in the history of sport... but let's not talk about that. I've had enough of losing. Time to celebrate!

Starting with Falls. You know, this is the first game I haven't judged #15's performance purely by his shooting. Great overall job for Colin. Very surprised at the end line of 1-7 from three. Sure didn't look that bad from up top. All in all a very solid performance subjectively if not objectively and the Irish won.

Russell Carter may just be the most irritating player since Chris Thomas. Still, you just have to love the guy. His shot selection is about as good as a blind man in a dark alley, but everything just seems to fall. Way to go, Russ. 15 points, 5 of 9 shooting, and he didn't have to carry the team.

Zach Hillesland was back in action and was used a lot playing the key middle piece in breaking down the zone. 14 points, 8 rebounds. Every single shot down low was contested and ZH had to make weird, contorted body movements to get them to fall. Also did very well with passing to spread the defense out. Made some mistakes, but sure earns his minutes.

Give a little doxa (Greek for glory) to the man in the middle, Rob Kurz. 15 points, 9 rebounds in another blue collar effort down low. Didn't stick out a lot, but did his job.

Tory Jackson made some mistakes, missed a few open jumpers, but was alright overall. 10 points and made a few nice cutting drives to support the offensive look. Made a few beautiful passes and his teammates seemed to be more ready than earlier in the year.

Bamm-Bamm sat a lot, mostly due to offensive matchups, but did pick up four fouls. Not too bad a night, with six points. Ayers made both his shots and seems to be gathering confidence by the bucketload. The rest of the bench was used very sparingly.

It was awesome to see Chris Quinn back at the J.A.C.C. today. He's a real nice guy to talk too and seemed to be happy to be back. Of course, a guaranteed 6 figure salary tends to make you happy in all situations.

So it's a win, albeit with a slightly disappointing finsh. Really nice to write one of these again. Let's go and take out Cincy and crack the Top 25 next week.


c-stone said...

I didn't see the game, only the GameTrack. From the "data", a few things are troubling:

1. Much like Villaova, PC is enigmatic, but no way ND should have trailed by 12 in the first half to this squad, at home no less. Credit to the team for coming all the way back. But...

2. To then almost piss away a 10-pt. lead with 1:37 left is troubling. Hillesland and Jackson missed 3 of 4 FTs when PC had obviously gone to "foul" mode. Gee, maybe run some plays where those guys are NOT handling the ball save for quick re-direct passes? C'mon.

3. Maybe I'm analyzing the play-by-play incorrectly, but by my count, PC scored 38 pts. on layups, dunks or tip-ins. Is that possible?

4. What the hell was this:
0:40 Weyinmi Efejuku made Two Point Jumper. 68-74
0:37 Brian McKenzie made Two Point Dunk Shot. 70-74 ???

To me this is all quite troubling as ND heads for an NCAA stretch run. They are playing to the lower level of some opponents, getting killed underneath, and not finishing games strong.

Not good signs...not good.

BlackandGreen said...

First of all, give Providence a little credit. This si the same team that only lost by 6 at Pitt, by 7 at Marquette, and beat Marquette at home earlier in the year. The Friars are pretty good, especially on the road against good teams.

That said...

1. ND should never have trailed in the game. The reality is, however, like most of the season ND started really cold. Lots of turnovers to start out and poor play. Need to learn how to begin the game better. Still, the comeback was good to see.

2. Providence did a great job in the last 1:37 by playing harrassing defense. The Irish really looked like they had already marked the game down as a win. When one team plays that dramatically harder than the other, swing like that can happen. Still, to score 22 more points in between 10:56 in the first half and 1:37 in the second is a job well done. ND dominated the middle of the game to make for a poor start and sloppy ending. Time to work on foul shots and ball control.

3. I don't remember there being an inordinate amount of close shots for PC. However, two or three times the Friars were able to get a cutter to the basket for an alley-oop off an inbounds. That was the worst thing I saw on defense, inability to stop the drive or cut.

4. Remeber DePaul? Colin Falls takes the inbounds, tries to get cute with it, and ends up turning the ball over. McKenzie picked it up off the floor and slammed it home. Rule #1 in that situation in ball control. Brey better make sure it never happens again.

Again, I wouldn't be too harsh on this team for a home win against Providence (easily the toughest team on the schedule save Marquette). It was a W. Could've, should've, would've been by double figures, but it's better than what we've had the last two weeks. The Cincy game will be big in determining how they play down to opponents. If we struggle like we did early, I will be much more worried about the team's makeup.

Bryan said...

Was at hockey game so didn't see it, but even if it was sloppy, a win's a win. That all that was needed...

Getting to the tournament is the first priority right now. Winning in the tournament is such a crap shoot. That said, ND's guards are so bad of defense that any team with good guards will slice them apart, especailly a midmajor 11-12 seed. If anything, being a 7,8,9,10 is almost better for ND, as the team they play in the 1st round would have the same problem, then roll the dice vs a 1-2 seed.

So Brey got through the first test. Now stop losing to teams that suck (Cincy, Depaul) and make the tournament

Craig said...

Jackson wound up shooting 3/4 FTs. He's not a liability; in fact, all things considered, I think he possibly should have seen more of the ball late in the game, as I don't see TJ losing the ball for an easy PC deuce the way Falls did.

Part of the reason we were down early (by no means the only reason) is that in the first half, the officials got confused and thought this game was being played in Rhode Island. (The rest is that PC started hot and we started cold.)

c-stone said...

Noted, Jackson made 3/4 last night, including some when it mattered. But there's a reason he's the foul target late in games (60% FT on the season). The past 3 games he's at a 50% clip from the line, and when you need the front end of a 1-and-1 or two FTs to go to a two-possession lead, that ain't good.

Pure and simple, ND needs to play the remaining schedule to their abilities and let the rest take care of itself.

Craig said...

At Syracuse, Jackson was 11-14. At USF, he was 2-6. At DePaul, he was 1-2. And against Providence, he was 3-4. Obviously, I wasn't able to watch the USF game, but considering the other three, I'd be comfortable with him at the stripe and the game on the line.

BlackandGreen said...

No question Colin Falls is the guy we want on the line. However, with his late-game ball handling issues, Tory Jackson might be asked to step in and help out.

However, this raises another problem. Jackson is typically the throw-in guy because he is the best passer. If another person is needed to take the pass, who throws the ball inbounds?