Thursday, February 08, 2007


What do you say? A tackle of Colin Falls gives DePaul the go ahead points and Kurz got mauled down low with a chance to win.

First off, let me get my thoughts out about the end. Tory Jackson goes Rambo on the team with a reckless spinning drive that ended up as close to the basket as South Bend. He kicks the ball out to the furthest man only to see Zeller (not 100% sure, I think it was him) heave up a pathetic attempt (it did hit the backboard) which Rob Kurz rebounded with a clear shot. Unbelievable no-call by the officials on a clear foul. Fran Fraschilla had a pretty good analysis of it afterwards, saying officials don't want to make the call unless its a hack job late. Still, a no-call determines the game every bit as much as calling the foul. Terrible mistake by the men in stripes who called a pretty good game.

What do you do now? 2-4 in close games this year (2-8 last year?). It's ridiculous to see this team fall late against poor opponents like this. Notre Dame should have won this game after the early 11-0 run, but the late theatrics make it hurt so much worse. I was forced to scream and yell and pace all night instead of watching The Office. Time to admit I have a problem and join NDBBA (Notre Dame Basketball Anonymous).

Ok, blood pressure's settled a bit, time to break down the game. First of all, I don't plan on watching the game tape. It's already in the fireplace. But seriously.

DePaul really tried to lose this one. Majerus spent half the broadcast counting unforced errors by the Blue Demons. With opponents like that, who needs friends? Too bad the Irish shot themselves fully in both feet.

Russell Carter's hurt. I'll give him that. When the hip doesn't feel too good, it's tough to drive to the rim and shoot the J. He made some good drives for the Irish but was overall unable to produce. Many of his eight missed shots were wild three point attempts a Senior shouldn't be throwing up. Really ugly night shooting with a Falls-esque 1-8 from beyond the arc (though I need to stop ranting about Colin after another good game). When your best player can't score on the road in a rivalry matchup, it's going to be a tough night.

To Colin Falls, with his seventh straight double digit performance. Nice job playing the top scorer for the Irish. We just need Carter and Falls to be in tune together. Colin had 20 points, but most of them came on very pretty drives to the hoop. He kept the ship afloat as well as he could. No complaints, here.

Really nice to see Rob Kurz have a good game when we need it. Hasn't taken the conference by storm as I hoped, but 15 points, 8 rebounds is pretty solid. Lots of those were offensive boards, meaning the Irish had a lot of second chances. Unfortunately DePaul hacked and swatted the Irish away from the hoop and rarely offered good looks down low. Blocks total isn't out yet, but the Blue Demons controlled that category.

Hey, except for his last ridiculous try for the win, Tory Jackson did alright. The frosh didn't hurt the team offensively, indeed he made a big three. Twelve points and three rebounds and was effective running the offense. Won't place too much blame on the young man for his last possession attempt, but I do wish that last chances would stop looking like Mike Brey drew up a halfback blast for the PG (Thomas was a prime culprit and many of last year's games ended with a failed Quinn drive).

Not sure what to say about Harangody. Bamm-Bamm pulled down eight boards, but provided another weak effort on the offensive end. Wilson Chandler had a field day blocking the freshman's shots. Luke tired a couple head fakes, a few spin moves, but nothing really worked. This needs to be addressed because neither of our big men should have trouble scoring when they get good position like they did many times tonight.

Hillesland was surprisingly absent, only four points and one rebound. Ryan Ayers no longer scares me with the ball in his hand. He made an open three and put up a good attempt when guarded. He should take Luke Zeller's ever-declining minutes. We all know LZ struggles under the basket. Unfortunately, he failed to provide an outside presence to make up for his lacking down low. 0 for 3 from deep. At one point, he caught the ball in the corner completely unguarded and threw up a brick. His game is provide a mismatch on the wing, but poor shooting will keep him off the floor.

Tim Andree went 0 for 1 according to Nice to see the walk-on get a few opportunities while he's on crutches and wearing street clothes. I'm surprised Kyle McAlarney didn't get to play a little too.

Wilson Chandler had a double-double, but was the only Blue Demon to rebound more than five. The Irish surprisingly controlled the boards 31-28. DePaul finished with 50% shooting and was very effective breaking down the 2-3. At least three or four times, the Irish were caught in between in their coverage. I give all the credit to our opponents, who fought back after an early deficit and lead most of the game.

Where do we go from here? Mike brey again showed his ineptitude with close games. I hate to place the blame on him, but certainly some is due after horrid performances late the last two years. This stings even more after the pathetic USF performence. Out of the top 25 for sure, with a soft late schedule should really help.

Of the last five games, two are away at very poor opponents and the other three are very winnable at the Joyce. Really must take care of business at Cincy, but first the team is due for a home win against Providence. The Friars are pretty solid, but a win is necessary for everyone's sanity. Most important is scoring more than 70. Five of our six losses came with poor offensive outputs.

NCAA-wise were no longer a solid team. Still very good chance, but officially on the bubble until proven otherwise. 4-1 the rest of the way looked very possible, but nothing's for sure now. I'd say that 10 conference wins is the magic number for a bid (9-7 with a BET victory or 10-6 regardless). No longer a like 6 seed, now it looks more like 8 or 9. Of course, that is better than most predicted at the beginning of the year, but we're all sick of moral victories. Time to bear down and take control of our own fates. We'd better roar into the BET coming off a hot streak.


c-stone said...

Sorry, but to echo my in-game comments, I have to call bullsh*t on the obvious no call at the end on the foul on Kurz. The ESPN post-game analysts even admited as much, it was a foul, but "not flagrant enough to be called." What a crock.

Possibly, the officials can't be faulted for not blowing the whistle because likely some directive has come from their superiors to zip-it when it comes to game-changing calls. But as you noted, not calling it hurts one team as much as it hurts another by calling the foul.

I'm particularly steamed because I just got back from taking the Virginia HS state baseball umpires exam. As umpires, we are trained to administer the rules, and NOT to give personal interpretations. Either it is a strike or not; an out or not; a catch or not; etc. You get the picture. Professionalism in baseball umpiring is important enough to the game that this year's rulebooks have as one "Point of Emphasis" the issue of umpire professionalism, discussing that rules are to be enforced to the letter and consistently.

Obviously, NCAA basketball officials don't care nearly as much about playing by the rules.

Anonymous said...

You're right - Brey deserves a lot of blame for these baffling road losses.

I predict by season's end, we'll AGAIN be talking about Brey's ineptitude while Kevin White does nothing (again).

It's becoming a yearly ritual.

Bryan said...

Wow...1 point losses, beating good team but then losing to teams they should beat, pissing away a sure NCAA bid...This stuff NEVER happens to a Mike Brey team...

Wait a minute...

(That said, that's TWO losses you can hang on K-Mac not being there (Depaul & SJU)...He deserves some of the blame)

Anonymous said...

Good point about K-Mac, Bryan. Although the team should really not focus on it, we can. Look, I've never even tried the stuff, but seriously, smoking a little pot in and of itself is hardly the worst possibe thing you could do.

However, when you combine that with the situation, it gets pretty bad. During the season, starting point guard - the team depends on you, and you have an amazing opportunity to perhaps work your way into an NBA career. At this point, that's a lot to risk for a little doobie. Now we see that the rest of the team is paying for his poor decision. Let's hope he is able to learn from this, come back and grow into the true leader he was beginning to be.

Okay, I'm off of my judgmental soapbox.

Anonymous said...

Despite Tory Jackson's horid dribbling sequence at the end of the game, it was disappointing once again to see an ND team come out of a timeout where a coach should have drawn a play up to get an open shot, yet it looks like Brey didnt say anything or do anything that resembled an organized play. Brey is trash.

Anonymous said...

I got an idea for the Irish...Get rid of Brey, bring in Bob Knight and his son. Knight will be a hero coming back to Indiana and Notre Dame will no longer be a non factor/laughing stock of a program. Everyone will be forced to respect their teams ability to defend and run a patient offense, something they have struggled with this season. Not to mention what it would do for the Notre Dame-Indiana in state rivalry. If all this isnt enough consider the fact that Bob Knight's best friend is Bill Parcells...strong connection to Weis. Anyways God Bless the Irish...Cant wait for the hockey playoffs now that Bball is ruined.

BlackandGreen said...

Some good comments on here about yesterday. To sum it all up:

1. Terrible no-call by the officials at the end. The blame probably lies on the higher-ups who tell the refs what to do. A foul's a foul, with 2 seconds or 2 minutes left in the game.

2. Mike Brey is a great coach who has lead the Irish back to national prominence, but his late game decisions are baffling. It really hurts to see this team consistently lose close ones to lesser opponents.

3. I hate to play what-if, but K-Mac is the elephant in the room. With a veteran PG, no question ND wins the game well before the final minute yesterday. Still, nothing we can do about that for the rest of the year.

4. I'm not really into the Bob Knight idea, plus I seriously doubt that ND would allow Knight to come here. A coaching change would make for interesting discussion, but I can't see Brey leaving for at least another year. I'm sure Dr. White will be appeased for a year with an NCAA bid, no matter the record.