Saturday, January 19, 2008

Georgetown 84, Notre Dame 65

Just happy I didn't make this trip.

First of all, let's not blow this one out of proportion. Anyone who legitimately expected a win on the road against a top 5 team is simply dreaming. Obviously, back-to-back road losses by such large margins are not acceptable. Still, there is no reason to think of this as another other than what it is: a bad loss to a very good defensive team. They shut us down today. It doesn't make us a bad team (maybe a little underperforming on the road), it just means we've lost two big road games to the two best teams in the conference. If we can rebound to beat Villanova, we're still looking at a top 4 finish. If not, there's still no reason to believe we will not rebound and make the tournament as one of the last at-larges out of this conference.

When you shut Kyle McAlarney down, the whole offense collapses. Watching games in the Virgin Islands and against Marquette is enough to point out that fact. K-Mac went 4-15 today for 10 points. Don't even look at the rest of the box score, you already know we've lost the game. His outside shooting opens up the middle for Harangody and the rest of the offense. He may have forced things a little today, but he has certainly earned the right to shoot with his great ability.

Tory Jackson had an awfully tough day handling the ball. 3 assists, 7 turnovers. Only five points, but did grab seven rebounds. Not an overly high turnover count for the Irish today, but still higher than you would like. When the point guard is having so much trouble distributing the ball, the offense will shut down.

Where are you Ryan Ayers? As mentioned previously (on several occasions), Ryan has to step it up when K-Mac is not connecting from long range. Only attempting four shots... that's not stepping it up. He made one, had four points, and two rebounds in 23 minutes. There has to be another option if Ryan can't make himself more of a presence on the floor.

Rob Kurz was money from the charity stripe, which contributed to six of his eight points. Next to nothing from the floor. Six rebounds to go with it.

Luke Harangody was successfully shut down by Hibbert, gaining only 13 points and 8 boards in 3-13 shooting. Just a dismal day all around for Irish shooters. Georgetown so completely took this team out of its game.

Off the bench, Zeller hit a third of his shots (a pathetic bright spot for such a tough game). 7 points, two rebounds. He got hacked once or twice and Jack Nolan called the refs out for the no-calls under the hoop while I was listening. Didn't get to see the game for myself, so can't really be a good judge of that. Zach Hillesland has seven rebounds and four points. Nice to see him rack up a better rebounding total. Jonathan Peoples had a huge day scoring 12 in 11 minutes and getting four rebounds. Good for him.

The team shot 33% from the floor and 28% from beyond the arc. That's good enough to lose against anyone, much less such a methodical scoring team like the Hoyas. Georgetown was 53% and 40%. That's your game right there. Quite surprising that the team was able to keep the final margin under 20 with such a disparity between the numbers.

Actually outrebounded Georgetown. Hibbert only managed 3 boards to go with his 21 points. Small victory there. 13 turnovers for both teams. That indicates that we were not that out of control, just forced to take bad shots. The Hays finished with two more made free ones.

Just a disappointing game, but not completely unexpected. Nothing we have done this year has shown our ability to win outside of the Joyce Center (save maybe the K-State game at the MSG... Monmouth doesn't really count). Georgetown goes back to the top of the conference standings, so it was hard to believe pre-game that we would fare any better against them than we did at Marquette. Hopefully the second contest against the Golden Eagles will be an easier one.

I'm not getting too heartbroken about this one. We shot 20% worse from the floor. That's a combination of a great defense (which they seem to have) and methodical scoring on their part (they came in with one of the most efficient offenses in the country, calculated for possessions). Villanova next Saturday will tell a very interesting story about this Irish squad. We started the conference season with two really rough first road games, but 'Nova is the kind of team we should be able to beat on the road. If that's a win, everything is back to being fine and dandy.

Until then, remembering this one will be a tough pill to swallow, but it has to be done.


Golden Monkey said...

Does Ryan Ayers have something on Coach Brey? He's great against St. Mary's of the Poor, but against the good teams another no show. He's probably a great guy with a great attitude? But I would sure like to see Peoples or even Abromaitis getting a little more playing time. We need a fifth man on the floor when running our offense. I realize we were overmatched against Georgetown on the road.

BlackandGreen said...

Ayers is a very smart basketball player who does a lot of great things off the ball. Very good defender and can hit the open three. He's a good player, but that doesn't make him anything close to deserving a starting spot.

Some people from the Philadelphia area have previously mentioned that Ryan would be a D2 player if his name was not Ayers. Probably a little harsh, but I can't understand what he is giving us over a Hillesland or one of the freshmen. Maybe his continued starting is a testament to how poorly the newcomers have performed in practice.

Curb Feeler said...

Let's be honest....

We have a University that really doesn't give a damn about basketball.

We have a coach who recruits mid-major players, with few exceptions.

We have never been part of the big east in the eyes of the other teams or refs.

All things considered we don't do half bad. And the wheels on the bus go round and round.

Anonymous said...

I know I've been a big defender of Ayers in the past & I still think that his defensive intensity is key to the ND defense this year, but I am beginning to think that in games like this, Brey should be playing Abromitis. He has the energy of a Hillesland, solid rebounding & he's actually a very aggresive offensive player who can both drive & hit the 3. [Not to mention he's perfect from the line this year]... maybe I should drop Brey a line.

If you didn't watch the game you really couldn't see just how amazing GU's defense was. I think it was the best defensive performance by any team I've seen all year. the only shots available for Mac were from 25 feet and beyond.

On a positive note, I really liked the Mac/Peoples backcourt today. They played quite well together and Brey should maybe experiment with that more. Unfotunately, if you bench Jackson you lose his rebounding which is important as well.

Anonymous said...

I should add, Zeller had a solid day today. His defesive was solid & he was agressive with the ball again... Maybe he should be starting & not Ayers.

BlackandGreen said...

Glad to hear that Georgetown's defense looked good instead of our offense just looking bad. Clearly against a more average defensive squad we will not be outshot by 20%.

As for Zeller at Small Forward, it is an interesting idea. He has been a disappointment as a post player, but has shown the ability to score occasionally from the outside with his shot (though 1-5 from three-point today). I think he would be a solid mismatch on the outside and could shoot over smaller defenders. As far as creating scoring opportunities goes, he is about the same as Ayers. Neither one gives us the penetration ability that we are lacking.

For Abromaitis, I haven't seen enough of him to say how he would perform as a starter. It would be nice to see him and Nash a little more. No matter what, I hope that one or both will be able to step into the rotation well enough to offset the loss of Kurz next season.

Anonymous said...

Depending on the match up I could see us running a three guard offensive. It looks like someone has lit a fire under Peoples rear end the last few games?

I would also like to give credit to Coach Cross. He has been a great addition, he seems to be allways teaching and has a great relation with the players. I know he's a favorite at the summer camps. I've missed very few home games and attended a few pratices. This guy has really helped the defense.

BlackandGreen said...

Peoples really played well yesterday and had a solid game against Cincinnati. Before the season, running a three-guard offense was not even in the cards. At the beginning of the year, Peoples looked like nothing more than a solid backup point guard.

With his ability to knock down some open looks and better creation skills than Ayers, Peoples must certainly be in the running for more playing time if not a starting spot. Coach Brey has used the three-guard lineup with increasing frequency over the course of the season, so I could definitely see him going that route if Jonathan continues to improve and Ryan does not.