I'll be the one to knock on wood next time. At least ND's loss to South Florida was one of (count'em) ten Top 25 losses today.
Nevada and Washington State tried really hard too.
So what went wrong? As Marquette found out, USF plays pretty tough at home and the Bulls are starting to mesh. Ok, that's enough. We should have won this game.
Unlike other ND losses, both teams shot poorly. It's ok if the other school is hitting half their shots. It's not ok if the other team shoots under 40% and you destroyed said team earlier in the year.
Rob Kurz was back, but for very little. Coming off an injury and tacking on four fouls will do that to you. He gets an incomplete.
For those of you who saw the game: why did we have so many fouls? The Irish finished with 23 to to USF's 16. Two players fouled out. Three more with four. Maybe ESPN's box score is wrong, but that is way too many for a pretty experienced team.
Everyone give a little cheer for Colin Falls. The much maligned (by me at least) shooting guard was g-r-e-a-t. 26 points, 6 rebounds, 6 threes. The sole birght spot for the Irish. He fouled out with half a minute to go, but the game was already over.
Russell, where have you gone? After sitting the final minutes of the Villanova win, Carter was average against Syracuse and very cold tonight. The game was played in Miami, so sub-zero temps in South Bend couldn't have been a factor. 14 points, but took too many shots to get them. Seven rebounds is pretty good, expecially when the rest of the squad was absent on the glass.
Nice game for Bamm-Bamm. Another tough outing without Kurz in the starting five, but the frosh stepped up. Ten points, nine rebounds. Just the kind of game we expect from him, but needed to score more without another good forward on the floor.
Tory Jackson had a really tough night shooting, 2 of 9. Picked up his fifth foul near the end, and was rather ho-hum. Six points, five rebounds.
I hate to blame a guy who hustles so much, but look no further than Zach Hillesland if you want a scape goat. We needed a big night out of him, like Syracuse, but the sophomore just didn't deliver. Four points, three rebounds, in a Zelleresque night for the starting forward. Unlucky not to do better and he should bounce back to doing his normal duties off the bench.
Did I call Hillesland's game Zelleresque? I'm sorry, I meant zero for four shooting and four rebounds. That's how LZ did off the bench. Luke is many things, but he is simply not a good inside big man. Not much Kurz to score inside, Bamm-Bamm doesn't usually put up big points, and Zeller just doesn't play like a 7 footer. Now the loss is starting to make sense.
Ryan Ayers made a three and grabbed a rebound. Johnathan Peoples was pretty much absent. And that's your ballgame!
USF had 11 more rebounds than us, a big factor sense so many shots were off target. That's a swing of 25 from the South Bend game. McHugh Mattis scored 23, with 16 rebounds. Eight of those were offensive boards. Gransberry had 14 boards. Only two of their guys scored in double figures, but they spread the points out more.
It's ugly. We shouldn't have lost, but there's plenty of time to make amends. Thursday at DePaul should get us back on track. All the games ahead look winnable. And life goes on...
Watch the Super Bowl tomorrow. I pick the Colts, but will probably end up cheering for the team that's winning. As you can tell, I can't take losses well. Cheers, and good night.