Sunday, November 30, 2008

Notre Dame 93, Furman 61

No Harangody, no problem. Luke was nowhere to be seen, but a bloodied Kyle McAlarney and Ryan Ayers picked up the slack to get an easy win.

Rust is a worry after four games in a week, but the Irish showed no signs of a letdown after the opening minutes and played well throughout. Carleton Scott and Ty Nash played well in extended minutes and Luke Zeller rebounded well enough to make up for Harangody's absence as we set a new school record for consecutive home wins.

Tory Jackson continued the improved play he found in Maui, scoring 17 with 8 assists and 6 rebounds. I firmly believe he will earn the second triple double in school history before his career is done. Tory has always been a good distributor and one of the best rebounding guards in the nation, but an added scoring ability will make him an fantastic offensive weapon to go with his strong defense.

Kyle McAlarney was well on his way to breaking the school record he owns for three pointers in a game (set at 10 on Wednesday) before receiving a blow to the mouth that sent him to the locker room. He returned with a bloody jersey and perhaps a few stitches, but was able to get his shot back and finished with 32 points on nine three pointers in only 28 minutes, his fewest since December 8th, 2007.

Ryan Ayers had a career high 19 on 8-13 shooting to go with three rebounds. Lots has been said about how Ayers will need to step up on a cold night from McAlarney and he showed the ability to do so today. He will be given many opportunities to score with players like Mac and 'Gody around him. It was nice to see that he can confidently knock down open looks given the chance.

Zach Hillesland tied a career high for rebounds at 12 and added 8 points and 5 assists in a very solid game overall. He made 4 of 7 free throws and was the poster boy for our foul shooting problems in Maui (the two near air balls against Texas come to mind). Though he seemed to improve as the game went on, a 56% average from the line does not give one confidence. Perhaps Jonathan Peoples (84% last year) should see more time at the 3 in close situations. Complaint about the foul shooting aside, it was nice to see Hillesland play like a true power forward and help the Irish outrebound Furman by 13.

Luke Zeller also rebounded well, but struggled with his shot a bit. 8 rebounds, including 4 on the offensive glass, but only 3 points on 1-7 shooting. Still, he did what was needed under the basket and really picked up his game in the absence of Harangody. Those 8 rebounds in 26 minutes is pretty close to Gody's normal grab with his playing time.

Off the bench, Peoples, Nash, and Scott all played over 18 minutes. Coach Brey used an added starting slot and blowout win to his benefit by giving all three guys significant increases in playing time. The final five or six minutes of the game saw a lineup of mostly Peoples, Scott, Ayers, Nash, and Hillesland. In addition to letting McAlarney and Jackson rest their legs, having the large athletic lineup gave the Irish a different dynamic on offense and Scott an opportunity to showcase his skills within the regular flow of the game. 4 points, 6 rebounds for Peoples (like Jackson, a very good rebounder for a point guard). 6 and 3 for Nash. 4 and 4 for Scott. Very impressive stat lines for all three guys.

The fear going into this game was that our team would be rusty and lose a lot of our rebounding and inside scoring ability. Winning this handily has to give them confidence for South Dakota on Tuesday and Ohio State next weekend. Polls come out tomorrow and you have to like our chances at moving up a spot or two. More on that then.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Harangody With Pneumonia

Out the next two games. That's awful to hear, but if we can get him close to 100% for Ohio State, nothing should be lost on the bottom line. With this news, his performance against UNC is extra impressive. Get well soon 'Gody!

EDIT: I haven't heard any other news sources backing up that 2 game prediction, so it could be more. I'm no doctor, but if his disease is bacteria-based it could be treated with antibiotics and be done in a week. Viral based pneumonia is more serious, perhaps keeping him out up to a month.

No matter what, I agree with Coach Brey's assessment that Luke's health is the biggest priority. Though Ohio State might be a difficult game without him, the Irish will have more opportunities for other players against non-conference cupcakes.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Look at the Future

With this season's recruiting class in, I'll take a peek at lineups down the road. While obviously this is subject to change, it may be interesting to see how the team will stack up in the future.

Starters are listed first, with reserves in the rotation also being mentioned (I'll use the eight-man rotation as a rule of thumb for the inclusion of backups).


PG- Jackson- JR (Peoples- JR)
SG- McAlarney- SR
SF- Ayers- SR
PF- Hillesland- SR (Nash- SO)
C- Harangody- JR (Zeller- SR)

This season's lineup is talented and experienced, but not deep. With three senior starters, the team will be forced to fill the experience gap in 2009 with a number of players who will not see sizable minutes this year. Transfers Hansbrough, Martin, and rising redshirt sophomores Abromaitis and Scott should make an impact.


PG- Jackson- SR (Peoples- SR)
SG- Hansbrough- RS JR
SF- Scott- RS SO (Abromaitis- RS SO)
PF- Nash- JR (Martin- RS SO)
C- Harangody- SR

The biggest question mark for next year's team is the return of Harangody. If Luke stays for his senior year, the squad should continue to be a solid team. Jackson gives experience at the point, but is the only other definite starter. From 2-4, as many as six players will fight for playing time. Hansbrough, a transfer from Mississippi State, has the most experience at shooting guard and should fill the role of three point specialist well. He is also a very good defender and will team up well with Jackson. Peoples has grown some and could compete for that starting spot, but will probably keep his job as first guard off the bench.

The forward positions are the most volatile. Scott's athleticism and ability to stretch the defense should fit in well. He will play the role of Russell Carter at the 3, though Tim Abromaitis might contend with his shooting ability as a cross between Ryan Ayers and Zach Hillesland. Ty Nash is the expected starter at power forward having earned a slot in the rotation this season, though Scott Martin will give him a serious run. Martin or one of the incoming freshmen could take Haragody's starting spot if the big man goes pro.


PG- Hansbrough- RS SR
SG- Scott- RS JR (Brooks SO)
SF- Abromaitis- RS JR
PF- Nash- SR (Martin- RS JR)
C- Cooley- SO (Knight- SO)

This is getting a little tougher to project. Hansbrough at the point might be a stretch, but he is the most qualified player currently on scholarship. If the Irish add a good enough point guard to the 2010 recruiting class (Ray McCallum anyone?), we might have a freshman starting. With Hansbrough at the 1, Scott slides to shooting guard creating room for Abromaitis. Abro and Scott can play both wing positions, so the shooting guard/small forward distinction is unimportant. Joey Brooks steps into the rotation as a capable backup at four positions.

Nash and Martin keep their PF tandem. Both could start if Nash demonstrates the ability play strong enough post defense against Big East centers. Until then, I'll project that a beefed-up Jack Cooley will win the job with Tom Knight backing him up. If some combination of Nash/Martin/Cooley can hold down the 4-5, I'll be happy.


PG- ________
SG- Scott- RS SR (Brooks- JR)
SF- Abromaitis- RS SR
PF- Martin- RS SR (Broghammer- JR)
C- Cooley- JR (Knight- JR)

The point guard spot that was a stretch in 2010 becomes a problem in 2011. If Hansbrough does play point guard in his last season with the Irish, a big hole will be left at the top. Best case scenario is for a talented true point guard to enter the scene in 2010 and take over full time by now. Joey Brooks can play point in a pinch, but is not a natural fit. He will continue to back up Scott, Abro, and Martin, provided each stays five years. Also behind Martin is Mike Broghammer, another big man recruit in the current class. Cooley and Knight play the same roles as the previous year.

The team is pretty well constructed for the future, though clear hole exists for a future point guard. Coach Brey has indicated that filling that position will be priority #1 in the next recruiting class. One possibility for 2010-11 could be Tom Kopko, a talented walk-on who will be the only true point guard on the roster. Most likely Kopko's ceiling is a Peoples-like backup spot.

It will be nice to see how guys like Scott, Abromaitis, and Nash progress. Each will play an important role in seasons to come. Additionally, Hansbrough and Martin will be expected to step into the rotation right away. All five should become solid starters and if one or two reaches the level of McAlarney or Harangody, this program should be solid for quite a while into the future.

Happy Thanksgiving

A very happy holiday to you and yours. I will be out of town and perhaps away from internet access until Saturday night (just in time to watch the USC game!). Until then, I will try to survive a few days with the family. On a ranch in rural Texas. Far from civilization...

North Carolina 102, Notre Dame 87

The magic finally dried up a bit in the end, but have to love the heart on this team. Kyle McAlarney set a Notre Dame record with 10 three pointers and had a career high 39. We never quit against the best team in the country and very nearly brought a 23 point deficit back to single digits. Congrats to the team for a very good week that will surely pay dividends in March.

Our lack of depth really showed as Carleton Scott was the only guy to get a handful of minutes outside the seven man rotation. Nash did not play at all. With dead legs and Harangody fighting the flu, the inability to run with Carolina really hurt.

Another good game for Tory Jackson. Just ten points and two assists, but he took the ball to the hoop a few times. He did get schooled a couple times in transition by Ty Lawson, a good learning experience. While battling the All-America caliber guard should held down the road, Tory clearly did not match up well. Lawson scored 22 and had 10 assists. Nevertheless, Tory was quite impressive this week and I hope will continue the good work this season.

Kyle McAlarney's shooting woes seem far removed from his current form. Remember last Friday? That shutout turned into a career high in less than a week. Kyle never stopped fighting and singlehandedly kept the deficit under twenty. With 4:38 remaining, Kyle knocked down a three after a whistle that would have cut the Heels' lead to eight. Had that shot counted, we could be talking about a comeback for the ages. Even without that basket, Kyle's pure heart was on display and led him to 10-19 shooting from beyond the arc. Congratulations Kyle and thanks for your hard work.

Ryan Ayers struggled a bit to 6 points. 2-8 shooting, all but one miss from beyond the arc. Only two rebounds and three fouls to go with those points.

Zach Hillesland also struggled a bit with five points, four rebounds, and four assists. He and Luke Zeller tried to defend Hansbrough but struggled. Four fouls for his work against the Carolina big man.

Luke Harangody was clearly not himself tonight, which is a shame. A healthy Harangody could have made some difference and much of the game's hype came from a matchup between the top players in the Big East and ACC. Still, 13 and 8 with the flu is no small feat. Get healthy soon, 'Gody.

Jonathan Peoples saw a lot of positive action against the athletic Tar Heel lineup. 7 points, 5 rebounds. 3-8 shooting and 2 assists. Zeller was decent, 7 points and 6 boards. He did foul out and struggled shooting (1-6 from beyond the arc). No Nash, but Scott played at the end.

In the end, a 15 point loss to the top team in out third game in three days is an acceptable outcome. You never like to lose, but the heart and drive on this team is commendable. The loss will help the team regroup and fix what we need to.

After two close losses in Paradise last year, our experience in an island tournament was much improved this season. Blowing out an in-state rival, cutting down a top ten team, and competing with the nation's best in three days is a good trip. Now the team can come home and regroup with two home games before playing Ohio State next Saturday. A win there would all but lock up a one loss nonconference schedule. Very good news.

Until then, congrats to the team for a good Maui Invitational. We clearly still do have some work to do before earning first place votes in the country, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Still, it's November, and having a win over a top ten team in the back pocket is no small feat. Let's bounce back from this loss and see how much we can improve before March.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

North Carolina Preview

Biggest game since 1998-99. That season we played two #1 teams and lost both by large margins (like many games of the John MacLeod era). However, this is a different team with different goals. Coach Brey doesn't have to work too hard to convince his players that this is truly a winnable contest.

Having a shot at a #1 team is a special opportunity, especially when it comes against a historic program we haven't played in over a decade. The players will have to dig deep to overcome an opponent that Vegas sees as a 10 point favorite. It's not impossible, but very difficult nonetheless.

Adding to the degree of difficulty is the turnaround from last night's crucial win over Texas. Players must come off that mental high and be ready to trade blows in the paint for 40 minutes if this game is to be competitive. Equate it to an Elite 8 matchup with a trip to Detroit on the line. We just pulled off one of the biggest wins in recent program history in a game that went down to the final buzzer. Soon after (just one day in this case), it is time to face an even better opponent who is rested and ready.

I am looking forward to seeing how Luke and Tyler Hansbrough matchup. This is a great opportunity for Harangody to show off his skills against the best player in college basketball. However, the game will be won and lost with how the rest of the team fares against Carolina's athleticism and tenacity. Tory Jackson will be in the spotlight guarding Ty Lawson. Kyle McAlarney must be hot from the time he steps off the bus. Every other player (including possibly Carleton Scott) must be ready to give good minutes and match Carolina's depth and speed.

Enjoy tonight's game. This is the toughest opponent we will face all year. It's in November, which is really an early Christmas present for depressed ND football fans. The odds are certainly stacked against our tired warriors and it will be a fight from the opening tip. But the score starts 0-0 and both baskets are just ten feet high. This is what makes college basketball great.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Notre Dame 81, Texas 80

Make your foul shots.

Gigantic win for the team that will add confidence and help a ton in the seeding. This was a Sweet 16 or Elite 8-type matchup. Congrats to Coach Brey and the guys. Now step to the line and practice those free throws!

Luke Harangody's halfcourt sling to beat the shot clock in the second half proved to make a difference between a win and a loss. Of course, making those eleven extra shots from the line (including at least three one-and-one opportunities) would have put this game away much earlier.

All aspects of the Irish attack were working against one of the toughest defenses in the land. A.J. Abrams was pretty well held in check until the final minute. Harangody and McAlarney came to play and were boosted by another gutsy game by Tory. Jackson is truly one of the most fun players to watch, but he'll give you a heart attack with that shot selection (50% from the floor is certainly an impressive clip for the young man).

More on Tory, he added 7 assists and 5 rebounds to the 16 points. He has been a complete player so far in Maui. Let's hope he brings it with him to the mainland. Was 2-4 from the line, along the trendline for the team.

Kyle McAlarney scorched the nets all night, with 19 points. Was 7-11 shooting and made some good ballhandling decisions, including a nice drive and pass to get Harangody to the line. Played solid defense against Abrams most of the game, though the Texas sharpshooter did show him up in the box score.

Ryan Ayers did a solid job contributing from the perimeter. 6 points, 2 rebounds. He does a lot on defense that does not show up in the stats with his long reach and quick reflexes. Did cool off a bit in the second half.

Zach Hillesland would be remembered for his nervous barely-hit-the-rim foul shooting if we lost this game. That's a shame because he played very well before those awful shots. 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists. That's about right from him.

Luke Harangody was everything you need from an All-American in a big game. 29 points, 11 rebounds. Stepped up his game down the stretch, though he did miss two free throws in the last five seconds.

The bench was not relied upon a lot tonight. They will be needed against the high octane Tar Heels. Luke Zeller disappeared a bit with only 3 points and 2 rebounds. Peoples and Nash didn't score.

Last time the Irish beat Texas on a neutral floor, the team finished in the Sweet 16. That is the bar for this year's squad to hurdle. Great, great win. We should play #1 Carolina tomorrow and have an opportunity to see how we match up with them.
Win or lose, a lot has already been accomplished in Maui. Tomorrow should be a lot of fun to see how Harangody plays Hansbrough and how our overall lineup fares against the clear top squad in the nation.

Congrats once again boys. Time to watch the second half of the double header and see how UNC fares against a fast and fun (if not fundamentally sound) Oregon team.

Halftime in Maui: Texas

The team is playing very well and looks comfortable on the floor against one of the best teams in the country. The lead could be 7 or 8 if we were making the front end of one-and-ones and Zeller made a smarter pass at the end. Still its 43-40 and both teams are shooting well.

Tory is throwing up a lot of shots, but looks much improved from the outside. I like him taking the three when open, but he's gotta stop jacking up offbalance jumpers. Those quick shots kill our possessions (I realize he is 5-9 and I'm nitpicking).

Harangody has to get some more touches inside and be a bigger part of the offense. The game is going to be won by the team that shoots the higher percentage in the second half.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Notre Dame 88, Indiana 50

Boy, that was fun.

In the series that dates back to 1908, the Hoosiers lead 47-21. Tonight was payback. Yes, Indiana is down in its first year under Tom Crean. Yes, they are picked last in the Big Ten and made up almost totally of Jucos and freshmen. This win doesn't mean a whole lot in the long run, but it feels really really good.

To the box score (note: I use, which is notorious for inaccuracies. Any help on getting quick stats would be much appreciated).

As mentioned at halftime, Tory Jackson is becoming one of the best point guards in the country. He took control of the game tonight, scoring 21 and pulling down eight boards. You forget how impressive he can be when he takes over a contest. I'd love to see that intensity tomorrow night matched up with A.J. Abrams.

K-Mac certainly is back. 6-11 from beyond the arc for 18 points. He also used that shooting ability to help out his teammates, shot fakes and three assists off the dribble.

Ryan Ayers finished with 13 and 5. 5-7 shooting overall, a very nice line. I mentioned that I wanted him to step into the game a little more and he was more aggressive with the shot today (though there were more to go around). 1-3 from the free throw line was indicative of poor foul shooting overall as a team.

Zach Hillesland fell into foul trouble early and was taken out of the game. Only two points and three rebounds. This would be more of a disappointment if Luke Zeller wasn't so impressive. If you can get a double-double out of a combination of the two guys, it's a good night.

Luke Harangody only finished with 14 points and five rebounds. What a disappointment. Time to bench him. I kid, of course, and it was nice to see the Irish play so well with a "down" game for Harangody. You know he is good for 20 and 10 most nights, so an easy workload in this rout means good things for the rest of the tournament.

Luke Zeller cooled off a bit shooting in the second half. However, a first double-double of his career was well-earned. Hats off to the guy who has struggled so much in his promising career. While Harangody nabbed his first double-double in his second collegiate contest, the former Indiana Mr. Basketball has had more trouble in his transition to college post play. Congratulations, Luke. You have always worked hard and given your all for the University. Here's to your career finishing out on a high note.

Peoples has a rough game shooting, but contributed under the basket with three boards. Ty Nash grabbed four, including three offensive rebounds. Carleton Scott impressed with his athleticism, as usual, but missed a breakaway dunk. Andree and Kopko both scored.

Great win to start the week. Foul shooting (2-7) needs to improve, but we have been steady in previous years. Outrebounding the Hoosiers by eleven is a good sign, as is holding IU under 40% shooting and 1-12 from beyond the arc.

We play Texas tomorrow after their win. If is at 7 Eastern. The Longhorns are very talented and ranked #7 in the country. It will be a test, but a win gives the team a shot at UNC. It will be interesting to see how both squads play in a tough early season contest.

Halftime in Maui: Indiana

The Irish came out very strong in the first half against Indiana and lead 44-23. Some issues with shot selection and transition defense, but hard to argue with a twenty-one point advantage.

I really like Jay Bilas as a color guy. Bill Raftery can get annoying very quickly, but Bilas is spot-on with every comment. Put him with Gus Johnson and I'll watch every game.

Kyle McAlarney has forced shots all game. I first thought he was getting desperate after being shut out in LA. Then, he starting making those things. 25 footers, off-balance, left foot in front, just money. The fact that his shot fake from 30 feet worked is proof of Crean's respect for #23. Welcome back, Mac.

Tory is getting some love for being one of the best point guards in the country. A few great decisions on the fast break override a couple turnovers. He also successfully took the ball to the rim when the offense was in a bit of a funk early.

Ayers has made a few good shots. Harangody looks like himself on offense, but has made a few mistakes against Pritchard on D. Nash and Peoples really stepped it up with Hillesland in foul trouble. Both with good rebounding numbers. And Luke Zeller has been very impressive inside and out, prompting the commentators to talk about how much he has improved. If he plays this well all year, who will I complain about?

Off to a quick dinner before the second half. Go Irish!

Extra Information

Rivals has a brief Maui preview from this weekend.

Earlier, Basketball Prospectus wrote a Notre Dame preview on its site. Good in-depth analysis.

Can't wait for tip-off tonight.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Maui Preview

Monday 3 PM Eastern- Texas vs. St. Joseph's

8th in the nation and picked to win the Big XII, Texas is the favorite in the first game. St. Joe's lost to Holy Cross, but has a very talented player in Ahmad Nivins, lead scorer and rebounder. The Horns are led by senior A.J. Abrams, who has averaged 18 points in wins over Stetson and Tulane.

Monday 5:30 PM Eastern- Indiana vs. Notre Dame

The Hoosiers are down, but expect Tom Crean to turn them around within a couple years. He is a very good coach and Irish fans know him well from his time at Marquette. They had a tough time against IUPUI in their final tuneup before the tournament. While they do have a seven footer, he only plays 5 minutes a contest. The rest of the roster sizes up similarly to ours.

Monday 9:30 PM Eastern- North Carolina vs. Chaminade

Chaminade typically pulls off a good upset at home at least once during the tournament, but don't expect it to come against UNC. The Tar Heels are far too talented and deep. Hansbrough is back, though somewhat limited in minutes.

Tuesday Midnight Eastern- Oregon vs. Alabama

The Ducks are down and picked to finish ninth in the Pac 10 after losing three of their top four scorers and top rebounder. However, they did land the second best recruiting class in the conference and look to rebuild strongly. 'Bama is the second best team in the SEC West and look to return to the NCAA tournament after a two year absence. Both have had embarrassing early losses, to Oakland and Mercer.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

View from Section 210

This from Garrett Kuk, '03 alum and attendee of yesterday's game. He also sent the write-up to Rakes of Mallow, so if you want to read it twice be sure to check out that blog as well.

Before a rowdy, record-setting crowd of 4,534 at Gersten Pavilion, the
Irish faced Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. While this was supposed
to be a final tune-up for the Maui Invitational, it quickly became
apparent that the home team would fight for all 48 minutes. Loyola
seemed content to slow the game down, make the Irish play defense for
the full 35 second shot clock and retreat quickly on defense to
prevent run-outs in the transition game.

While ND's inconsistent play was at times frustrating, it was more
along the lines the offense unable to find its stride. Even LMU's
torrid outside shooting keeping things close and the home crowd, I
found myself expecting ND to run off a couple quick possessions with
successive break-away baskets or three-pointers. While these never
materialized, it was nice to focus on widening the lead and I felt the
outcome of the game was never in doubt despite a tighter margin than I
had hoped.

Sixty-five points may earn a victory in some Big East contests, but
not with the recipe that brought a victory tonight. Despite being in
the bonus with 13 minutes to play in the contest, we probably left 15
points at the free throw line by missing on the front end of numerous
one-and-ones. There were a few times (especially in the first half)
when the extra pass would have yielded a wide open look from behind
the arc, and the ball handling was not as crisp as I'm accustomed to
seeing from recent Brey squads. With superior athletes, I would have
also preferred to see an extended aggressive press/trap defense,
forcing LMU into quick decisions.

With all this criticism aside, this will be a very fun ND team to
watch this year, especially when we have multiple players hitting from
different areas of the court. The Irish never trailed in the contest,
and Harangody's workmanlike effort (9-17 from the field, 9-13 from the
line, 17 rebs) is expected but should not be understated. His
defensive play is solid and he picked up two of his 3 personal fouls
late in the contest. I look forward to solid big man defense from him
this season, knowing he does not get himself into foul trouble, and
rarely meets an opponent that can force the issue on both ends of the
floor to frustrate him.

SI Jinx: Kyle MacAlarney was held scoreless in 36 minutes of play,
tallying just two rebounds and four assists to go with four turnovers.
Let's hope he got that out of his system in time for a strong showing
in Maui

Channeling Rob Kurz: With Harangody and Jackson doing their best
whirling dervish impression in the paint, we will need a combination
of Hillesland, Zeller, and Ayers to pick up offensive rebounds for
second-chance points. At several points throughout the game, I
expected tip-ins before realizing Kurz has moved on to the NBA. We
will need to replace his nonstop motor to clean up the offensive

You can't spell MVP without TJ: Luke Harangody was clearly the best
player on the floor on both sides of the ball tonight, but things Tory
Jackson does displays his heart and place on this team. As usual,
fifty percent shooting from the floor, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals does
not tell the whole story -- with MacAlarney scoreless, Jackson ensured
momentum was wearing an ND jersey during a couple critical junctures
in the second half to extend the lead or answer a big basket by LMU.

Glad to see you, Ty Nash: This was my first look at Ty Nash, and I'm
impressed with the flashes of talent. Great defensive footwork
staying in front of his assigned man, good vision passing out of the
low block on offense. He seems a bit unsure of his place within the
offensive flow at times, but I hope his raw athleticism matures like a
Russell Carter or Torian Jones over his career.

Knock on Hardwood: LMU's Vernon Teel came up gimpy in the first half
and returned from halftime using crutches, and a couple other Loyola
players were seen limping during dead ball timeouts as well. When the
ball boys are wiping up the sweat between free throws using a Swiffer,
I'm happy to have survived with a win and remain undefeated and

Thanks a lot, Garrett!

Notre Dame 65, Loyola Marymount 54

Not the display we wanted going into Maui, but sitting in the airport for seven hours in Chicago before flying across the country may have had something to do with it.

LMU's fans showed up in record numbers and its student section put forth an impressive display tonight. Though I mocked the small home stadium, there is something to be said about a small but loud arena for home court advantage. Let's be honest, playing Notre Dame at home is the highlight of the LMU season. For us, it was just a quick tuneup before the most important week of the non conference schedule. Perfect ingredients for a trap game.

That's not to make excuses for Kyle McAlarney's o-fer or allowing a Teel-less (and Bayno-less) Lion squad to knock down 42% of its three point attempts. This should have been a blowout and mission was not accomplished. However, just look to UCONN (9 and 7 for All-World Hasheem Thabeet? I don't see nothing!) or Wisconsin tonight for other examples of ranked squads struggling for early season wins. A win's a win, better than USC or UCLA can say about performances last night.

K-Mac just never got going today. 0-4 shooting with three assists. No need to dwell on his performance too much, it happens from time to time. Obviously a hot McAlarney puts this game away before halftime. LMU shut him down and kept the game close.

Toy Jackson had 16 points and 8 rebounds, a nice step-up game for the point guard. He took the ball to the basket well in the second half and got to the line (making only half from the charity stripe is a problem, though). Nice to see him make an effort to take over the game.

Ryan Ayers was efficient but didn't shoot enough. With Mac out of the game, he is a guy who really needs to step it up and take shots. 9 points on 3-6 shooting, but he can do more.

Zach Hillesland was a bit of a non-factor, only 4 points and 4 rebounds. The low scoring total isn't much of a surprise and Jackson and Harangody stole all the rebounds tonight, so the stats don't tell the whole story here.

Harangody is the reason we won this game. 27 points, 15 boards, just couldn't be stopped at either end. Congrats to the big fella and here's to stat lines like that in Maui.

Off the bench, only three guys. Peoples, Zeller, and Nash all contributed decent minutes, but no big stories there.

I did catch the second half on a Fox Sports feed on campus. It was refreshing to get a stripped down version of the game (none of the frills that dominate ESPN broadcasts). Still, I didn't get to get the same feel for the contest as anyone in attendance so if I get a review from someone else, I will certainly post it.

Overall, I am proud of the way our guys stayed composed in a game that certainly surprised them. The players kept an even keel throughout and it helped them eventually pull out the win. A less experienced bunch might have panicked.

Obviously, the margin coulda shoulda been bigger. You can look to Kyle's failure to score and the Lions' streaky outside shooting as reasons why this game stayed close. LMU also beat us up on the inside (double the amount of fouls), which may have surprised the team a bit from the start.

All in all, it's good to have a performance like this against LMU instead of in Maui. Now the players have time to get adjusted to Hawaii and come out blazing. Cross your fingers.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

For the Love of Defense


167-116. 90 point second half. Ten Red Raiders in double figures. Wow.

Loyola Marymount Preview

Here is that K-Mac interview.

Interesting stuff there. Talks about the SI cover and how it was an honor especially being picked over Harangody. Calls Ireland the "trip of a lifetime." The article mentions how he and his mom should be making plenty of appearances on television starting in Maui. Again, thanks to our New York contributor for that.

LMU started their season off with an exhibition win against Hope International University. Unfortunately, it has been all downhill since then. The Lions dropped all three contests in the World Vision Classic, failing to score more than 55 points against Milwaukee, Iowa State, and UC Davis.

Vernon Teel leads the team with a 19.3 scoring average. No other players are in double figures. The 6'4" Juco transfer has double the amount of made field goals as anyone else on the roster. He is also the leading rebounder with 9.3 a game. Assists (8) are tops on the team as are his turnovers (15). Does anyone else like to play basketball at this school?

Marko Deric and Tim Dedrerichs are the tallest rotation players, both at 6'9". They play a little over 14 minutes a game. Along with Teal, the rest of the team's starting lineup will contain only one experienced player (Deric, Dederichs, or Corey Counts). Jarred DuBois, Ashley Hamilton, and Kevin Young are all freshman starters.

New coach Bill Bayno does appear to have this program turning around with his desire to play inexperienced, but talented players. He has inked two good recruits for next year, including PF Terrell Vinson, a four-star guy recruited by Georgetown, Maryland, Memphis, and Villanova. Best of luck to Coach Bayno and the program in the future, but tomorrow should be nothing less than a walk for the Irish.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Contributing Site Moving

The old NY/NJ high school hoops site with great information about McAlarney can now be found here. They will send us some information about an upcoming interview with Kyle and I will be sure to link to it.

Tyler Zeller Possibly Out for Year

Adding to the loss of Hansbrough for the beginning of the season, Luke's brother broke his wrist on a dunk last night against Kentucky. Andy Katz cautions not to assume the worst as of yet, but multiple fractures requiring surgery would likely end his season.

You have to feel for this guy, especially with his connections to ND. The injury likely means Hansbrough will be back for Maui, though Carolina will try to keep him from rushing and possibly hurting himself more.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dick Vitale Quote of the Night

Talking about how Notre Dame could play North Carolina in the Maui finals:

"We could have Harangody going up against uh, uh... going up against Hansbrough."

Oh yeah, that National Player of the Year guy. The one on the bench in the game he's calling. That's right sports fans, Luke Harangody's so good he makes analysts forget the name of the best player in the country.

Dan Shulman mentioned a possible Zeller-Zeller matchup after that. It would be interesting to see how many other schools have two pairs of brothers (Zeller and Hansbrough for ND and UNC) on their respective rosters.

Abro Will Redshirt and Harden Update

Both stories here.

Smart move on Brey in saving Tim for another year. Joe Harden leads UC Davis in minutes, points, and rebounds so far this year. Good for him and best of luck.

LMU Ticket Opportunity

The Irish will be in Los Angeles Friday to play Loyola Marymount. I understand that tickets might be hard to come by, but the Orange County ND Club has a few tickets that might become available. Shoot Garrett Kuk an email at if you are interested.

Garrett also offered to send in a postgame recap since I can't attend the game. If anyone else would be interested in doing a little amateur sports writing and is planning on attending a future away game, email me at Thanks!

FanHouse BlogPoll

As previously mentioned, my post for the Top 25 poll on the Irish is here.

Other posts up right now include Marquette at #22.

A quick look at the day's action: UCONN, Marquette, 'Nove, and Pitt won easily, Georgetown struggled a little against Jacksonville, DePaul and St. John's also won.

Gene Cross is still looking for his first win as a head coach as Toledo fell to Xavier. Best of luck to Coach Cross.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Notre Dame 94, USC Upstate 58

Nice solid win by the Irish at home against a team we needed to beat easily. This one went almost perfectly according to plan.

Upstate played as well as one could expect for a team near the bottom of the RPI. Loads of athleticism and shooting ability, but not fundamentally sound. Their talent kept it close for most of the first half, it wasn't ever much of a contest.

The Spartans shot 44% in the first half to Notre Dame's 52%. Consistency was the key for the Irish as they shot an even 50% in the second half, well above USCU's 28% line. ND was a little sloppy with the ball, turning the ball over 14 times, but receiving 19 freebies. Irish did stay out of foul trouble, fouling half as many times as Upstate.

Tory Jackson was solid, expect for a couple notable mistakes. One of his three turnovers came on a failed alley-oop attempt. Though the Irish did convert a couple pretty ones later, I'm not big on theatrics during a game. Carleton Scott going to the air is one thing, but having Harangody recklessly try to slam it home over a defender in an early season blowout scares me. It's far too easy to get off balance and land funny, risking injury. Enough of my rant though, the rest of Tory's game was fine. 8 assists, perfect from the line, nice start to the year.

Kyle McAlarney made an emphasis on including the rest of the team today. Only took six shots and finished with ten points. Was 50% from beyond the arc. Obviously, he will need to be more of a factor in Maui, but we know he's quality when asked. Also assisted on six baskets, a solid number for a two guard.

Ryan Ayers put together a pretty good 26 minutes. No huge numbers, but was a very good defender and knocked down a couple open looks. I would like to see him make more of an impact on the boards, but three today is not too shabby.

Zach Hillesland is starting to play like a Big East power forward. After manning the wing for the start of his career at ND, Zach put together a complete effort in just over half the game. 13, 8, and 4. If those numbers hold out as season averages, Hillesland will be an improvement over Rob Kurz's totals from the same position last season. Unfortunately, it looks like Zach will not merit the kind of playing time that Kurz enjoyed last year (28.6 a game), but he and Zeller will make a very good two headed monster at the high post.

Take a second to enjoy watching Luke Harangody this season. We don't know how much longer we have to enjoy him, but he is as good as any Notre Dame player in recent memory. The total package is there, with the forceful inside game to the baby hook to that ugly but efficient jumper. 30 points, 14 rebounds, one for one from beyond the arc. I was interested to see how he would play against 7'3" Nick Schneiders and he succeeded. Though Schneiders did keep 'Gody from getting to the hoop a couple of times in 21 foul-plagued minutes, Luke was able to score wherever and whenever he wanted the rest of the night. That is a good sign for when Luke faces Hasheem Thabeet later this year, a guy who has gotten a lot of unmerited press (though he did look good in UCONN's opener).

Time to sing Luke Zeller's praises. He has gotten a lot of heat (from many outlets, including this blog) for not turning into the five-star force we thought he would be in the post. He has always worked hard, even though things didn't quite turn out perfectly. It has to be tough seeing little bro Tyler lead the #1 team in scoring in his first collegiate game. Luke is trooper and completely deserved his career-high 18 point night with five rebounds to boot. Perfect in two efforts from beyond the arc, Luke scored inside and out and is looking to push Zach Hillesland for that starting power forward slot. Good for him.

Jonny Peoples gave his usual steady backup point performance. 2 points, 2 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers. Ty Nash cleaned the boards in his eleven minutes. Should anything happen to Zeller or Hillesland, he looks to be a good replacement down low. Carleton Scott showed off his ability to leap over tall buildings, scoring his six points on a couple of thunderous dunks. I'd like to see him on the floor a little bit more. Kopko and Andree also got some playing time. Not sure of the status of Abromaitis, but he was on the bench in warmups. Hopefully just being held out as a precaution.

Just what the doctor ordered before out trip down to Maui. Friday's game against LMU is next, a quick stop on the way over. The Lions went 5-26 last year, but the seats should be filled for this game.

All 4,156 of them...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

USC Upstate Preview

Not a whole lot to say about the Michigan State wannabes. USC Upstate traveled to Georgia yesterday and fell 72-48. The Bulldogs are a solid team (remember their crazy run to the SEC title last year?), but should not be on the same level as Notre Dame. The Irish should be able to control all aspects of the game against a tired Spartan team.

USCU did hold the edge in rebounding against Georgia, with Nik Schneiders and Bobby Davis in double figures. Only Davis and De'Marion Gordon off the bench scored double digit points. Assist to turnover rate was just horrid... 8 to 29. 7'3" Schnieders could cause some trouble with his height, but the next tallest player is 6'7".

The football team won today, which is a happy change no matter how tense the last two minutes went. I'll take a victory over a squad with a winning record whenever we can get it today. There are plenty of people calling for Charlie Weis' head these days and I won't agree or disagree with them, but after last season's fiasco 6-4 seems like heaven.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Games on "TV"

Most Friday nights are not good for college hoops, but the first Friday of the season is an exception. ESPN360 is carrying UCONN, Oklahoma, and Purdue against weak opposition. It still might be interesting to see each of those teams in action. Enjoy if you will, I'll be catching the new Bond film tonight.

UCLA survived a scare last night at home against Miami of Ohio. The RedHawks are a decent team (top 100 last season with close losses to USC and Louisville), so I'm not going to throw UCLA under the bus for this one. First game against decent competition always makes for a surprise or two among the top 25 programs. Still, it would have been nice to see Kenny Haynes knock down that three...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Recruiting Overview

As mentioned briefly yesterday, a look at the four newest members of the Notre Dame men's basketball team.

Joey Brooks- 6'5" 215 lbs *** SG

Brooks was the first to commit last November. A very athletic Russell Carter-type who can play shooting guard or small forward with the skills to back up the point if needed. He has good size and should beef up just a little more to be able to finish in the paint. Averaged 23 points and 8 rebounds a game last year as a junior at Strake Jesuit (Houston).

Jack Cooley- 6'8" 210 lbs *** PF

Our second commit has been compared to Luke Harangody a lot lately. Smallish for a center, he shows no fear in the post and can score and rebound well. He was also recruited by Illinois and Wisconsin early in the process. Averaged 25 points a game last season for Glenview (northern Chicago).

Mike Broghammer- 6'9" 220 lbs *** PF

Broghammer was not as well recruited as the other three, receiving only one other high major offer (Iowa). Averaged eleven points last season, but the most impressive part of his game is the continuing development of his shot. Has shown a willingness to become a stronger offensive presence and should continue to work on that.

Tom Knight- 6'9" 260 lbs *** PF

The biggest of the frontcourt prospects, Knick picked the Irish over Big East foes Providence and Seton Hall. Brey sounds impressed with his future saying, "The one to watch is really Tom Knight because he may be the late bloomer of the bunch. He is the one we know the least about." At the very least, he is a guy with big body who should be a force down low.

I would rate Cooley and Brooks as the top two pickups in the class. Cooley could be in starter in a couple years upon the departure of Harangody, Abromaitis, and Nash. I would like to see Brooks in person before making a judgment, but it sounds like he brings a good slasher-style that has been lacking a bit since Carter's graduation.

Broghammer and Knight bring depth to the a frontcourt that is a little shallow right now. I don't think either will be able to contribute serious minutes right away, but if one or both can develop into a solid starter I will be very pleased.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Other Notes

Uh-oh. SI Cover Jinx.

Actually, it's nice to see the Irish get some love (6th might be a little high, but any press is good press). I'm also surprised that Harangody was not picked to be the cover boy. Close together bird of prey eyes are not in style this year, apparently.

Recruits are official

More on that tomorrow, but some good analysis of the new guys. Three big men and a wing (though Brooks has played the point before). It will be interesting to see how this class turns out. Taking three guys at similar positions might be overkill, but at least one or two should turn into very solid starters. There might even be a Harangody in the bunch, who knows. I would tab Cooley as the top talent, one of our first two commits who plays a lot like Luke.

NDNation Posters Caught This Gem


Here's a better picture of that guy:

No, seriously, that was a clean block. I mean it.

Tory Jackson is tough. Sure you held Harangody to 14 points and 10 rebounds in a losing effort at the Joyce. Your team did win the rematch, but you weren't much of a factor in that one, were you? 'Gody went off for 32 and 16. Thabeet? Scored four. Way to run the mouth, punk. See you on January 24th.

I hope Harangody has this rag hanging in his locker all season. That, or this article. Maybe Thabeet can try to win some hardware this year, or win a tournament game, or...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Big East Basketball Report Preview

The site that runs our Big East Bloggers Poll has a few things to say about this season.

Tory Jackson is ranked #6 among Big East point guards.

A recruiting update.

Season preview for the Irish.

Lots of other good stuff there so check it out from time to time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Some Team Statistics From Yesterday

The Irish did a good job on the boards Sunday (not too terribly difficult when the D2 opponent's tallest player is 6-7), outrebounding Stonehill 48-30. Along with Harangody's double-double, Tory Jackson and Luke Zeller finished with big days under the basket. I would be thrilled to see Zeller keep up a 7 or 8 rebound per game average over the course of the season. Kurz averaged 7.1 last year, hopefully Zeller can give us the same thing. Time will tell.

Ty Nash is another guy who can give solid minutes and add to that rebounding total. The sophomore played only eleven minutes, an increase from the first exhibition, but I would have liked to see him on the floor more. We also need to get guys like Aromaitis and Scott on the floor more before Big East play. Both did see a solid number of minutes against Briar Cliff with Hillesland out.

First half shooting was horrendous, only 38%, but was made up for by a strong final twenty minutes (57%). The game was also a little sloppier than the first contest, with two more turnovers and a weaker percentage from the foul line.

Recruiting early signing period begins Wednesday. We should have four guys locked in then.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Notre Dame 79, Stonehill 47

Basketball as therapy. A solid win gets me back in the right frame of mind after yesterday's disaster on turf.

I was sitting next to a friend of Randall Stallworth during the game. Interesting story about that guy. Received some interest from Seton Hall (his brother's alma mater) and other D1 schools out of high school, but went with the guaranteed free education and playing time at Stonehill. His high school coach knows 76ers guard Andre Miller through some camps and introduced Stallworth to Miller. Long story short, Randall spends his summers at Miller's mansion playing pickup with some guy in the neighborhood named Baron Davis. Just your average life as a D2 baller.

First half, the Skyhawks stuck around by playing solid methodical offense and letting the Irish miss a few layups under the basket. Notre Dame was a bit rusty from the start, but really took over in the second half.

First thought was how impressive Ty Nash looked. Nash has clearly established himself as the 8th man in the rotation. Lots of strength to play inside and has good fundamentals. He could step into the starting lineup next year.

Tory Jackson finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Two assists and two steals to go along with that. Nice solid overall game by the point guard with no turnovers. His shot has gotten a bit bitter, looking steady from the line and sinking half his shots from the field.

Kyle McAlarney waited until the second half to really start shooting. By not letting the shots fly early, he failed to establish a really good rhythm, but still was a solid 3-7 from beyond the arc for nine points. Missed a close layup, but was not the only culprit.

Ryan Ayers was not a great offensive force, with only eight points, but also grabbed three rebounds in 23 minutes. 3-7 shooting and 1-2 from long range.

Luke Zeller played very well in 24 minutes. 10 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists. Made half his shots from inside and outside the blue line and also tallied a blocked shot.

Harangody struggled a bit in the beginning with double teams, but got better as the game wore on. 21 points, 10 rebounds. Most importantly, the points came from a variety of looks. He will never look comfortable shooting from outside, but that awkward set shot is effective. His ability to step back and hit the jumper as well as anyone on the roster makes him a scary player. Reports have him turning into a reliable three point target as well. What can't he do?

Off the bench, Peoples was very good with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. No turnovers. The shot was not falling, but he did everything a backup point guard is required to do. Hillesland had 2 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists. Kind of a quiet game for him. Nash with 6 points and 5 rebounds in 11 minutes. That's a double double if he played just over half the game. Talk about production in a pinch. Scott, Kopko, and Andree all scored in the closing minutes. Abromaitis also got three minutes.

Overall, a very good second half in which we outscored the opponents 50-23 made this a fun game to watch. A little tight at the beginning, but the team never lost its cool and easily pulled away. I'll take that.

With the football team playing 6-3 Navy next week, I might be using Harangody and friends as my personal psychiatrist again. Hopefully they'll help me forget all about this football season by March.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Stonehill Preview

The Irish have their second and final tuneup game of the season, facing Division II team Stonehill from North Easton, Massachusetts.

Not a whole lot of information about the team itself, but Stonehill College was founded 1948 by the Congregation of Holy Cross. The C.S.C.s, of course, also founded Notre Dame. Should be a good experience for that team to travel up to South Bend and an opportunity for our guys to get more game experience in. More tomorrow after the game.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Previewing the Irish

Our friend Chaz Rich from AOL Fanhouse and has asked me to do a write-up for the Irish. They are putting together previews for the top 25 teams. The Irish are ranked 15th in their poll. Check the Fanhouse later to see the other team previews.

The Irish enter the 2008-09 season with their highest expectations since Digger Phelps roamed the Joyce Center sidelines. With an offensive juggernaut led by All-American Luke Harangody and sweet shooting Kyle McAlarney, Notre Dame can outscore just about every team in the country. Supremely talented point guard Tory Jackson grows into an upperclassman with the expectation that he will keep the scoring machine running smoothly. Wings Ryan Ayers and Zach Hillesland enter the starting lineup to make up for the loss of last year's lone senior Rob Kurz.

Notre Dame can score from all over the hardwood, with McAlarney and Ayers knocking down threes and Harangody getting 20 points a game in the paint. The big question mark is how the team will defend. Last year ended in disappointment when Washington State was able to limit the amount of possessions in ND's second round tourney defeat. In such a low scoring game, lackluster defense shone through. Coach Mike Brey hopes that defensive stoppers Jackson and Ayers will be able to shut down the opposing team's top scorers and Harangody will develop into a better post defender.

Why they are ranked here:

Returning Big East Player of the Year Harangody can carry the team in spurts and some young athletic players in Carleton Scott and Ty Nash enter the lineup to give some more spunk to an overall very talented team. They have gone unbeaten at home the last two years and have finished in the top 4 two years in a row in a scary-good Big East. They will get beaten up a few times with a strong nonconference schedule and lots of competition within the league, but should be battle hardened once May comes along.

Why they should be ranked higher:

On a good night, this team can beat any team in the country. Both Harangody and McAlarney can drop 20 a night, with as many as five or six others contributing double digits from time to time. The balance on offense, with Harangody on the inside and Mac on the wing, is very difficult to stop. Often teams have to focus on one and pray that the other just has a cold night. Jackson's ability to break down a defense adds another deminsion to the Irish attack. With everything running well, Notre Dame is an 80 point team even against good opponents.

Why they should be ranked lower-

Harangody can be stopped with double and triple teams. This places an emphasis on shooters like McAlarney and Ayers who will be given open looks. Kyle has a streaky history and can go 1-9 if he does not find his stroke early. Ayers has a similar problem if he does not get enough looks to find his rythm. Defensive problems in last year's NCAA Tournament are a worry if Irish shooters cannot get going early. They will need to prove an added emphasis on D in the Maui Invitational to relieve those fears.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tom Knight Commits

Irish added another man to the recruiting class of 2009, with the commitment of Tom Knight. Knight is a three-star power forward. At 6'8", 245 pounds, he is bigger than classmates Mike Broghammer and Jack Cooley. Hopefully he will turn out to be a good mix of power and athletic ability. You'll notice I don't comment a lot on recruiting, which is mostly due to what a crap shoot this can turn out to be. Nonetheless, good to add another guy to the Notre Dame family.

Also, Brady Quinn gets his first NFL start and looks very impressive (knock on wood) through three quarters. Good luck Brady!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Games to Watch

Back in the saddle again. Taking a peek at our early opponents, a few games to watch as previews for our contests.


No tough teams before playing us, but it will be interesting to see how they do out of the gate. If the Hoosiers can't win easily against Northwestern State and IUPUI, there's no reason that the Irish won't roll against them.

Texas/St. Joe's-

Neither team should lose before the trip to Maui, but this matchup will be must watch. Obviously, the winner will face the ND/IU winner, but it will also be interesting to see how both teams play in their first difficult game.

North Carolina-

If we make the Maui finals, a date with the #1 awaits. North Carolina's contest with Kentucky on November 18th is the kind of game that will tell if the Tarheels are the best squad in the country.

Ohio State-

The Buckeyes travel to play a solid Miami team on December 2nd right before our matchup in Indy. An easy win or bad loss could affect their mentality entering the contest with the Irish.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Day Notice

No post tomorrow due to Election Day. If there is anything interesting to post today, I'll try to get another post in. Terribly sorry for shirking my duties but you can rest assured I will return from this short break renewed in vigor and ready to resume posting.

Oh, and make sure you vote. It might seem like small inconvenience, but its one that most of the world would die for.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Different Kind of Pre-Election Polling

Irish begin the year ranked 9th in both polls, the highest preseason ranking in thirty years. If the team makes the Maui finals, this schedule could wind up featuring seven games against the top-5 AP teams (UNC, UCONN 2x, Louisville 2x, UCLA, Pitt). Difficult schedule, indeed.

Carolina is the consensus pick for #1 overall. Seven Big East teams represented in the AP poll, with two others receiving votes. Good to see the league get so much respect, but hopefully those voters will keep the league's difficulty in mind and continue to rank six or seven teams in the conference, even those with several league losses.

Andy Katz ranks the Irish 11th, saying "The Irish won't scare teams on appearance, but they play well together, especially in South Bend."

Duke and UCLA are the only two ranked teams in action before Friday, when we get eleven games. Slowly but surely, the hoops season gets rolling.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Post Four Overtime Football Loss Post

I'm only posting this because I feel obligated to post something for you all to read every day. I'm sure you understand. Have a good night everyone, be safe.

Notre Dame 103, Briar Cliff 64

The visitors put up a valiant effort, but this was not a fair fight. Irish rolled in the second half, outscoring their opponents by twenty seven.

Zach Hillesland was held out of the lineup due to plantar fasciitis. He will hopefully return for the second exhibition game. Luke Zeller started in his place and had a strong performance.

As previously mentioned, I was unable to attend the game, so let's just get to the stats. Tory Jackson was very good, scoring 18 points and adding seven assists and seven rebounds. Overcame his three turnovers by making five steals on defense. Missed all three three-point attempts, but was solid shooting everywhere else, including 4-5 from the charity stripe.

Kyle McAlarney was cold, shooting 4-12 from the floor. Finished with only eleven points, but also four assists and five rebounds. Like Jackson, played a lot of minutes (33).

Ryan Ayers was very solid, scoring 22 on 8-15 shooting. Was only 2-8 from beyond the arc, so he showed the ability to score from closer in. Good to see his development as on overall scorer. Five rebounds is also a solid total for the small forward.

Luke Zeller has a good night. Only played 21 minutes, but scored twelve and grabbed six boards. He shot well, 2-3 from three point land, a necessity in future contests.

Luke Harangody finished with a double-double, 16 points and 11 rebounds. Added two assists and two blocks, as well. Shot well, 50% from the floor, and made all four of his free throws.

Off the bench, Jonathan Peoples had a productive night. In 22 minutes, he scored three points, had three rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Nice to know he can contribute a little in each category. Carleton Scott had six points and six rebounds in twleve minutes. Ty Nash sunk two free throws. Tim Abromaitis scored eight points and picked up four boards in nine minutes. It will be fun to watch those three players battle it out for playing time. Walkons Kopko and Andree each played a minute.

I was wrong about the two transfers possibly playing. They have to sit out exhibition games as well this season.

Overall, a good performance for the guys to shake some rust off. Only nine turnovers, a good sign. If we can keep that stat under ten most games this year, we should be fine. Strong shooting from inside the arc, but only 31% beyond. Briar Cliff stuck around with lots of three point shooting in the first half. Once those stopped falling, the game was a lock.

Hard to take a lot from an exhibition game. Truly, this team should cruise until Maui. However, it is nice to get a win under the belt and the season started. Let's see the football team follow suit tomorrow.

EDIT: I forgot to congratulate Ryan Ayers, Kyle McAlarney, Luke Zeller, and Zach Hillesland for being named captains this year. Obviously well deserved in each case and not much of a surprise but congrats nonetheless.