Saturday, January 12, 2008

Marquette 92, Notre Dame 66

In hindsight, this was a great game to not have televised. Like Georgetown last season, our first Big East road game was a complete domination by the home team.

Elsewhere, Georgetown pulled out the win against a strong UCONN challenge with a Roy Hibbert three pointer, of all things. More on that later.

No tv or live stats from ESPN, so this will be a tough post using what I could hear on the radio plus some incomplete numbers from

Way too many turnovers. I believe the final count was over 20. Marquette did a great job of harassing us all over the floor. This lead to poor shooting and plenty of wasted possessions. Luke Harangody had another monster performance, but just like in the Virgin Islands he was unable to bring about the victory.

Tory Jackson really needs to learn to shoot free throws. Our point guard can't be such a liability from the stripe in close games. 0 for 4 today. We joked about his ability to knock down both against UCONN with a swollen eye, but I think it is indicative of his lack of concentration. Had an early night today fouling out midway through the second half, but the game was already in hand.

Remember my earlier analysis about how the team struggles without Kyle McAlarney, no matter how well Bamm-Bamm plays? I couldn't have been more dead-on (I'm actually more surprised about this than you are). 3 of 10 shooting, 2 of 7 from beyond the arc. Great perimeter defense by the Golden Eagles took away our outside looks, so nothing personal against Kyle. Still he has to contribute more than 8 points if the team is going to win on the road against a ranked opponent.

Back to that love-hate relationship with Ryan Ayers. Before the game I mentioned that he has to step it up and look for his shot when Mac is cold. How did he respond to the team's need? 0 points, only 3 attempts. You have to be kidding. We're getting drilled on the road and one of our best perimeter shooters takes only three attempts. He also made a couple mental mistakes including not looking for a pass in transition. You've gotta be better than that, Ryan. We need someone to step up and look for scoring opportunities when the opposition shuts down McAlarney. Harangody had a great afternoon, Kurz always provides a decent share, Jackson is not a scorer, so someone else has to step it up. If not Ayers, let's see if someone else can do the job.

Kurz had a quiet day. 9 points, including 2 three pointers. I don't have the rebound statistics. He gets into kind of a strange position on offense. Harangody is obviously the go-to guy down low. Rob has nothing near Luke's ability to score under the hoop. He is very good post player grabbing rebounds and can hit the outside shot when open, but doesn't really have a distinct role on offense. Obviously a great guy to have on the floor, but it is tough to get more scoring out of the guy (obviously his normal dozen points and double-digit rebounds does the job most nights).

How can you not love Luke Harangody? Tied the career-high with 29 points, double-digit rebounds as well. Had to be taken out of the game near the end because he was going to hurt himself diving for loose balls with the game already lost. Gives everything he has into the game and wants to win so badly. Obviously we can't win without getting some help from another guy or two in double figures, but Luke certainly tries to make that possible. We lost by 26 with a dominating performance by the sophomore. I don't even want to imagine the score without him. Keep it up, Luke. Give us a game where K-Mac scores 15-20 and we can play anyone in the country.

Off the bench, Luke Zeller showed a lot of spunk today. Double digit rebounds, I believe. certainly something we have not been used to from the 6'10" forward. Came back from a bloody head injury to keep at it. Zeller is certainly the most disappointing player of the team, mostly because he has been a guard trying to play in the post his whole career. Still, I like his effort and would love to see more production out of him. Hillesland made two free throws, 0-3 from the floor. Peoples had four points. Both Tim Abromaitis and Ty Nash came in and scored 2 points.

Marquette outscored us by 24 from beyond the arc alone. They were 12-24, we were 4-20. That's your stat of the game. Marquette's guards played great perimeter defense and shut us down from outside. We gave the Golden Eagles open look after open look. They knocked half of those down. Poor free throw shooting from us, the 2nd best foul shooting team in the conference. Marquette outshot the Irish 46.6%-39%. Don't have the turnover numbers, but they were over 20 for the Irish, far too many. Add all of that up and its a big blowout.

The Irish did a great job of getting back into the game after a rough start. Clawed back to five a little into the 2nd half, but just could not stop Marquette the rest of the way. We played a great team today and looked unable to win on the road. That will come with time, but the first road game in a hostile environment against some great guards add up to a really tough contest. We shouldn't have lost by that many, but looking at the stats I can certainly see how we fell behind so badly.

Hats off to Marquette, we'll try to get them back at the Joyce. Cincinnati comes into town Tuesday. Need to bounce back and find what made us such a great team against UCONN and West Virginia.

Speaking of the Huskies, they took Georgetown to the wire in D.C. today. Great to see a team we beat play the #1 team in the league so tough. Who knows, maybe the Georgetown game will be a close one. Need to win against Cincy to get back on the right track, but I'm still confident in this squad's ability to do very well this year.

Take a deep breath. It's a tough loss. Still tons of basketball to be played.


BlackandGreen said...

Apologies where a couple of the stats are wrong... of note, Kurz had 11 points. I traded some accuracy in an effort to get the story out quickly.

Anonymous said...

Pretty much got owned boys.

BlackandGreen said...

That sums it up pretty well.

Anonymous said...

this was a very difficult game to watch. everyone shot terribly from the perimeter and we had way, way too many turnovers. frustrating as it was, the credit for this one really has to go to marquette -- they played GREAT defense, inside and out . this is not really a criticism (his total stat line is a testament to his resiliency), but bamm-bamm was responsible for too many of the turnovers, especially in the first half. just as he had trouble adjusting to the shot-blocking abilities of thabeet, he failed to adapt his game to the double and triple-teams he faced against a marquette squad that was very, very well prepared to defend him (his second half scoring could be largely attributed to the opposition's foul trouble and their comfortable lead). k-mac could have done more to take control and create his own shots when the game started to get out of hand, but all his shots were heavily contested and from well outside the arc. if anything, the rest of the team needs to do a better job of setting screens and creating opportunities for him. this is brey's fault -- would it kill him to call a freakin play once in a while?!? jackson did what he could in the second half with the penetration spin moves to which we have become accustomed, but it was too little too late. we need to have him do that more often early in games to complicate things for the opposition's defense. like yourself, i thought it would be difficult to shut down both bamm-bamm and k-mac, but really it's not impossible to shut down two players on a whole team (as mentioned, harangody came up with a lot of second half points but the game was already well out of hand). we just need someone else to step up once in awhile. kurz only comes through with three pointers late in the game (again, too little too late). ayers actually looked confident with the few shots he took (all contested or awkward), but he just wasn't hitting. zeller was weak and useless as usual. peoples actually looks like he's coming along with some decent penetration and mid-range jumpers, but he's still not there yet.

ultimately, they were just much better than we were. they were quicker on both sides of the floor and much more disciplined. they weren't even shooting particularly well most of the game. we were just too sloppy all the way around (again, brey's fault). jackson is going to have to get better as a shooter (maybe his eye was still a problem). peoples may be able to come along more. kurz seriously needs to grow a pair and play like a big man on offense when good competition gives bamm-bamm a tough time (unlike most games, he didn't even really show up on interior defense today). i've completely lost any hope for zeller -- at best, he's a taller and less accurate replacement for falls as a perimeter threat. basically, improvement is needed from all players if we are going to do any damage in the post-season against quality opponents. i don't know if enough individual improvement can happen as long as brey refuses to actually coach during a game. i'm not trying to be a hater, but all he has ever done as a coach was finally get a team to play some defense, which seems to be more about the addition of gene cross to the staff than anything else. the only reason we have any interior game whatsoever is because harangody fell in love with nd after one recruiting visit. okay, brey's positive motivational attitude is good for the team but it simply isn't enough on the road against a good team.

sorry for the rambling post, but i figured since you apparently didn't get to see the game, that my observations might be informing. in the meantime, i'll just try to believe that this was a random aberration of a game, but that doesn't really seem to be the case

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - I did see the game, and it was painful to watch, but I really disagree with some of your comments. For one, Zeller played his best game of the season. He had 10 rebounds, he played good interior defense and went on the floor many times for the ball. He is a disappointment, but I'm happy to see him improving on his physical game this year.

Furthermore, Brey is great recruiter. He's finally successfully put together a team - not a couple of personalities that are head cases or failures, but a team - that's the way he wants to coach - Euro style ball - and it will work in the big east. That's the way he recruits. I don't think you'll see anyone leave this team early [even though Bamm Bamm could probably go this year].

My only problem with Brey as a coach is that he overcoaches the end-game when they're up. He starts to pull four corners shit at 7-8 minutes left if they have a double digit lead. Let them play - go for the jugular. Blow them out.

They were outplayed tonight. It was the best game Marquette has played all year - and it was one of the worst ND has played.

It's not Brey's fault anymore than it's Kmac's. They didn't even have the oppotunity to work out in the Gym - they had to practice in Chicago.

What I want to see happen? Tory starts taking care of the ball better & not fouling out.Ayers starts realizing that he needs to get more than 3 shots off in a game in which Kmac isn't scoring. Hillesland needs to stop getting himself into bad situations off the dribble. Luke needs to look to the perimeter when he's triple teamed. They need to get Kurz more involved in the offense on the post, bcause he's a fabulous passer.

Marquette played a tournement caliber game today. ND didn't. And again, it's not Brey's fault. Brey is the best thing that has happened to ND basketball since Adrian Dantley. What other coach in the country would take someone like Kurz and mold them into a top Big East forward? He's the best player coach in the Big East, even if he still has some game issues.

I'd take Brey over any other coach in the Big East on a fantasy team. He does the most with the least. He teaches team ball. They sucked tonight, but that happens to the best of us.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of the comments made, especially Lucid's regarding Brey. The players lost this one, not the coach.

Here are a few of the problems that I saw...

Horrible perimeter defense. Our guards, especially Mac and Tory, need to step up their defense all over the court. This is something I've noticed in the last handful of games, and it showed tonight. Just take a look at the amount of attempts they had from outside.

On the other end, Jackson and Mac need to handle the ball better and control the game more efficiently. They looked lost last night. 'Gody is now a marked man and needs to be ready for the double and triple teams.

Turnovers killed us. It seems our offensive game has been a little sloppy lately.

I honestly didn't think losing this badly was possible for this team right now, given how they have been playing. Apparently, this was Brey's worst loss as head coach at ND.

We need to get out sh!t together and bounce back on Tuesday. Then, have a good showing at Georgetown.

Thanks again for the blog. It's nice to be able to vent a little!

Anonymous said...

"What other coach in the country would take someone like Kurz and mold them into a top Big East forward? He's the best player coach in the Big East, even if he still has some game issues."

How about the hated Tom Crean? Last time I checked, Travis Diener and Steve Novak were in the NBA!!!

You guys have a great team and will rebound. Marquette's strategy of doubling down on Gody's first dribble was perfect.
Gody has to recognize that sooner and get the ball out quickly. Eventhough he had a ton of points, he took everyone else on his team out of the game.

Brey has to recognize the strategy and run a different set. How about a screen/role with Gody and Jackson. Jackson is awesome and should be attacking the hoop more often with Gody storming the glass. Just my opinion from the outside. See you guys in February. It will be a war.

Unknown said...

I believe Tory's 0-4 from the line all came on front-end of 1 and 1s as well. Very painful to watch.

Defensive rebounding was very poor... Would have loved to see the 2nd chance points stat.

Anonymous said...

"I believe Tory's 0-4 from the line all came on front-end of 1 and 1s as well."

They were - though we did get 2 of the rebounds. Maybe he should start sporting an eye patch when he goes to the line. :)

Craig said...

On at least one of Harangody's turnovers, I felt like his teammates did a wholly inadequate job of showing for him. He was doubled, someone was open and needed to get in a position to receive the ball.

I deleted this abomination from the Tivo at or around the final whistle, so I can't review to see how many occurrences were Luke's fault and how many the blame is shared with someone else.

BlackandGreen said...

Hard to complain about the guy's performance when he was the only one with a pulse out there. Obviously people are going to be open, but when he's the only one putting the ball in the basket I can understand why he goes to the hoop every time. He was more productive in double coverage alternating scoring and turnovers than the rest of the team.