Friday, January 08, 2010

West Virginia Preview

Another top ten opponent for the Irish, this time at home. They'll need to extend the effort put forth against Connecticut for a full forty minutes tomorrow.

West Virginia-
Pomeroy Ranking- 8th
Record- 12-1 (3-0)
Best Win- Marquette (ranked 25th)
Worst Loss- Purdue (ranked 6th)- Much to my chagrin, the Paint Crew is looking very, very good this year.
Pomeroy Prediction- West Virginia 80-72

Key Players-
#1 Da'Sean Butler- 16.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 35.8% 3PA- Has always been a very talented wing who can both score and rebound, but has become a bit less selfish in his senior season, averaging 3.5 assists per contest. Even though he is taking two fewer shots per game than last season, his scoring average has remained high due to a field goal percentage that is almost six points higher than a year ago.
#5 Kevin Jones- 15.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 45.7% 3PA- This sophomore big could teach Harangody a thing or two about shooting the three. He's made one more three pointer in fifteen fewer attempts this year. Also has been great at scoring close to the hoop, with a 65% clip inside the arc. Just under half of his rebounds this year have come on offense and you can bet that many of those buckets were second-chance points.
#3 Devin Ebanks- 13.3 PPG, 8.6 RPG- Like Butler, he has had some success finding open scorers (3.1 APG). Missed significant playing time earlier in the year for unexplained personal reasons. Though most of the Mountaineers struggle with free throws, Ebanks is not the guy you want to foul. He's at 82% for the season. Da'Sean Butler is second on the team, just slightly under 80% himself.

Scouting Report-

Just like last year, they attack the offensive glass with tenacity. They don't shoot an overly impressive percentage from the field but have built a top five offense out of second-chance points.
Play pretty good, physical defense. A few blocks and forced turnovers here and there combined with contested shots have them giving up less than 0.9 points per possession.
Can go nine or ten deep, which is important for a physical Huggins team.

EDIT: In othe news, good luck to Chris Quinn as he hopes to revive his career in New Jersey. He had found some success for a few years in Miami but had gotten buried on the Heat depth chart this year. He still remains one of the more surprising Notre Dame professional stories and one of my alltime favorite Irish players.

23 comments:

Kurt said...

Crap. I would bet this means he's transferring out.

Anonymous said...

Way to run your most athletic player off Mike. This one angers me because the guy was never given a legit shot. He was a good kid - All Big East Academic team last year and was Confirmed this summer. He was (is) an Army brat who did nothing but represent the University well. Mike should call K and tell him how he ran an Army brat off. Another one of Mike's flaws - treating transfers better than 4 year players. Hansbrough steps right into big minutes while 4 year players fester on the bench.

Kurt said...

Umm... no. But, whatever.

Anonymous said...

If Brey can find a way to get Peoples off the team he'll have what he has always wanted, a 5 man rotation.

BlackandGreen said...

He's being disciplined for a "rather odd reason?" I wonder if there is something else we're not hearing or if it really is a reaction to his parents' complaints about playing time.

To be sure, he struggled in our first two Big East games, but seemed to get back to that rebounding/defense niche in limited time on Tuesday. Time will tell if this is just a hiccup or a serious issue, but we really can't afford to lose anyone right now.

Anonymous said...

This is disheartening. Scott seems like a good kid and could really start to contribute for this team. To see him miss this game (even if only this one) under these circumstances is sad.

It will be interesting to see how it affects the team tonight. This may be a tough game to watch, but I'm hoping for the best.

Doc Hoople said...

This is not a shocker. The relationship between Brey and Scott has never been good, much like Carter and coach. Had Martin been able to play, Scotts playing time would have been very limited. I made a phone call to someone that would know but mums the word. It will either clear the air or Scott will transfer. Maybe this is a good thing?

Anonymous said...

Brey has a big perception problem with African-American players and he knows it. Who is the last African-American basketball player from ND to play in the NBA? Are there any African-American ND players active in the NBA? 18 year old potential high level recruits place a high emphasis on facts like this. The two white transfers that Brey brought in this year were brought in to take minutes from Scott and Peoples, who have both been asked to accept limited roles. Do you think this went unnoticed? I guarantee you that this was part of the father's converstion with the AD.

BlackandGreen said...

To be fair, Coach Brey has a pretty good relationship with Tory Jackson and his two highest rated recruits this year (and our first Rivals four-stars since 2005) are African American. Certainly Coach Brey and this program has produced a bunch of skinny white guys who can shoot but I find it hard to believe that race played a role in this decision (though it possible that may be the perception of some people, including Carleton's parents and some recruits).

The Zipper said...

http://www.alumni.nd.edu/site/c.luIZLdMOJpE/b.4904457/k.87B1/Jim_Fraleigh.htm

Why would'nt Brey or Swarbrick be in contact with Scott's Dad?

Kurt said...

Well in the update, Noie makes clear that the university [not Brey] benched him because his Dad contacted the media. That's a no-no. Who knows how this will play out.

BlackandGreen said...

If it was the University's decision, then it makes sense that he is not directly in contact with Coach Brey. Also, this sort of thing would be handled at Fraleigh's level.

Anonymous said...

B&G - with all due respect, how do you, or any of us, know what Brey's relationship with Jackson is? I certainly sense that Jackson and Hansbrough aren't exactly tight. Hansbrough is a cocky kid who has been given everything he wanted since the day he stepped on campus. Come to think of it, Jackson has been asked to subjugate his role to accomodate Hansbrough. It certainly is not Hansbrough who gets asked to play the opposing PG 90' when the rest of the team displays a lack of interest in defense.
I guess Mike can ponder this as he drives home to Granger.

BlackandGreen said...

I certainly don't have any personal knowledge of Coach Brey's relationship with Tory and am basing this simply on what I can glean from Brey's coaching habits and his comments to the media.

Brey only plays guys he trusts. That's why Scott has (rightly or wrongly) been on the bench so much. The fact that Jackson plays 40 minutes a game shows me that Brey has tremendous confidence in his ability.

Why does Jackson guard the opponent's best scorer night in and night out? Quite frankly, because he sometimes seems like the only one who gives a damn on defense and has the ability to back it up. To be fair, Hansbrough gets his share of steals, but has trouble staying with his man off the ball.

Certainly Jackson's role has changed this year, but I would hardly call that a reflection on Mike Brey's relationship with his African-American players. Hansbrough replaced Kyle McAlarney, another white shooting guard, and has taken over some of Tory's responsibilities because he has different skill sets (relies more on driving to the hoop and is less of a catch-and-shoot kind of guy).

With all that being said, I have no complaints with the way the backcourt has performed so far. Yes, they look a bit out of synch at times, but we're currently the third-best offense in the country in terms of efficiency. Hansbrough has replaced McAlarney's offensive production more than adequately. Not only is he putting the ball in the basket, he's averaging five assists per game as well.

No, the problem with this team is its defense. I can understand some frustration with Hansbrough's inability to stay with his man off of screens and slow movement to help in a zone, but that goes for the whole team. They simply don't seem focused on the defensive end, the direct result of the coaching staff's inattention to this in practice.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike, how's that "Euro" style working out?"

Kurt said...

The anonymous who is pushing the 'racial' angle - perhaps you should tell Harold Swanigan that he's working for the second coming of Adolf Rupp. Dude, seriously you're off your rocker.

Anonymous said...

Kurt - thanks for confirming that name calling is always a good comeback absent a rational response. Also, I suspect that Harold would appreciate the correct spelling of his last name.

Kurt said...

I didn't call you a name at all in my post. Reading comprehension is your friend. I simply suggested that I think you are completely off base to suggest that Brey is a racist. To be quite honest, I could have been much more harsh.

Your posts on this thread are not only completely offensive, but also completely without merit. And for the record, Ryan Humphry was the last AA player Brey put in the draft. Thomas would have had a long career if not for the career ending injury he suffered as a sophormore. He too is still very involved with the program. Carter has been floating around the D-League for the last several years, despite being a 2 star recruit...

I mean really. What are you selling? Because it certainly has nothing to do with the last 10 years of ND basketball. Writing completely off-based posts about Brey being a racist just makes me either LOL or pity you.

Kurt said...

And by the way anon - I know who you are - elite8 from the scout boards. You should really try to be better about how you disguise yourself if you want to be a troll.

Anonymous said...

I can assure you that your forensic analysis is ludicrous as to who I am. I'm glad you are not a board rat though. Humphrey (another misspell by you) was a transfer from Oklahoma. Chris Thomas? Brey couldn't wait to get him out of South Bend, are you kidding with that? How about the last 4 year AA who went to the NBA? Looks like I hit a bit of a nerve here. Open, rational discussion is always a good thing.
Last night was a good win but I think a wait and see attitude. When one team shoots 24 ft's and the other shoots 4 it is hard for the other team to win.
I have always been a fan of the B&G board because of the lack of name calling and the (usual) rational analysis. I think I'll take a break. Kurt - you are the "King of the Board."

BlackandGreen said...

Ok, quit the sniping, both of you.

Overall, last night was a great win, but I agree with the last poster that we still have a lot to learn about this team. They've been very good and very bad at times, but only time will tell if they can sustain a high level of play over the course of the season.

BlackandGreen said...

Anon- One last thing about the basketball program's racial makeup. I think your argument has more validity as a testament about the school and less about Mike Brey as a person. Certainly, there are some institutional obstacles that are discriminatory towards African Americans.

I have no doubt that many top-notch recruits see Notre Dame as a place that is more welcoming of the Luke Zellers than the Dominic Jameses of the world. The athletic department's recruiting requirements for the basketball team make it difficult to land much more than undervalued local talent (Harangody) or talented Ivy Leaguers (Abromaitis). When we land someone from the cities, it's usually in the mold of a prep school guy like Ty Nash.

One of Brey's biggest faults has been not pushing for the kind of leeway given to the football team to be able to bring in good kids who may not perfectly fit the profile of the average Notre Dame student, but is still willing to work his tail off in the classroom and on the court. You will never see a guy like Golden Tate in a ND basketball jersey, and it's a shame that we have such disparity between sports.

I don't know how much Coach Brey has worked to change the administration's policy towards recruiting behind the scenes, but his public stance does seem to unnecessarily toe the party line. I certainly understand if the perception of high school players is that Notre Dame is a place for predominantly white upper middle class athletes (much like the student body as a whole).

Anonymous said...

Well said B&G. Probably my frustration at seeing a kid like Carleton Scott not succeed at ND tempered my remarks. I have been where he was, playing ball at an institution with a demographic make up very similar to ND. As you can imagine, being thrust into a population of white, upper middle class students can be a lonely, alienating experience for players, white or African-American.
I don't like being told I'm off my rocker. I tried to bring a player's and family's perspective to the table. To be riduiculed for that is unacceptable. Good luck