Saturday, February 28, 2009

Connecticut 72, Notre Dame 65

Hard fought game ends in disappointment as Harangody really struggled. For as much as I complain about Hasheem Thabeet, he did play very well today and took Luke out of the game.

Tory Jackson had his second really good game in a row after being benched at Providence. He attacked, but was not reckless. Only two turnovers on the day. McAlarney and Ayers were very cold from outside, but the shots they did make kept the game close until the end. Great to see Coach Brey give Ty Nash so much playing time with Zach Hillesland out and Nash earned it today.

Frustrating to lose a game like that, but no one can be upset with the quality of basketball we showed for 39 minutes. Need to bounce back with a big win on Monday.

Jackson finished with 17 points and 5 assists. He created with drives and made his fair share of jumpers as well. Add in 3 rebounds for a complete day.

K-Mac had 14 points and 4 assists. Overall, he shot pretty well with a good number of driving layups. From beyond the arc he was 2-8, surprising because he certainly didn't seem to be shooting that poorly. Can't be too upset with his overall performance.

Ryan Ayers did look cold and missed a few open looks. I liked his assertiveness, however, and definitely want to see him take a dozen shots a game when he gets the chance. On defense, he was unable to stop Adrien and was really overpowered on a few occasions.

Zach Hillesland went out early with a bruised sternum. It was a really physical game on both ends with Harangody and Thabeet both hitting the deck at times. Can't complain too much about the refs because we got away with a lot too, but it is frustrating to play a great shot blocking team also be the least penalized in the country.

Harangody was awful all game. 14 points, 5 rebounds. Thabeet really took him out and 'Gody relied too much on the jump hook without trying to make some 15 foot jumpers facing the basket (though shooting over Thabeet would be a feat in itself). At least it was nice to see the Irish play so well against the best team in the land without our best player.

20 minutes for Ty Nash and that's the way it should always be. 4 points, 9 rebounds. He is a terrible free throw shooter, a big problem for a power forward, but that is the only real disappointing part of his game. He's tough, hustles, and grabs rebounds. We need that. Peoples played well in 20 minutes also, with 5 points and 3 rebounds. Luke Zeller was cold in his 11 minutes of playing time and it is apparent that he has been passed by Nash on the depth chart. Good to see Coach Brey go with the youngster.

Good game by Thabeet, great game by Adrien. He is the Huskies' best player and really does not get enough credit. It's unfortunate that the moronic talk about Thabeet for player of the year has taken away from Adrien's press. I'd take him on my team any day.

Didn't go in expecting to win this game, so I still feel pretty good about our chances. If we play the same way against Villanova and St. John's, we can finish 9-9. 'Nova lost to Georgetown at home today so you know they will be ready come Monday. Let's beat them and make our way into the Tournament.


Anonymous said...

i know this is a tough time to ask this question. But, i know coming into today the general consensus was the irish were playing with house money today. no one expected a win, and a loss would not hurt them. but my question is, did we help ourselves today? in other words, the committee's job is to select the top 34 at large teams, so did a close loss on the road to the team that will be #1 on Monday actually HELP our tourney chances? granted i know we must win out, but i think we helped ourselves today. interested in your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

IF we win out, 18-12 and 9-9 in the league will get us into the discussion. We will play Tuesday in NYC against a team from the bottom of the league, and if we win it will set up a sort of elimination game, IMO, on Wednesday against someone like Providence or Cincinnati. If we win that and get to 20 wins, then book it, we're in. If we lose and finish 19-13, nails will be bit on selection sunday.

Anonymous said...

If we win our last two and pick up two in the BET, I think there is no doubt we're in. I do think the gutsy effort today will help - though a win and we would have been in regardless.

The refs weren't calling anything... it's tough for ND to win when a game is called like that.

Oh well... excellent effort - thwarted by an academy award winning performance by Thabeet.

BlackandGreen said...

Absolutely the way we played helped our chances but in the end you need to win.

If you compare the Irish with other bubble teams on Selection Sunday, it will definitely be a plus to say we went toe-to-toe with the best team in the land on their court and trailed by one with a minute to play. Winning would have locked up a bid, but only a blowout could have really hurt us today.

Anonymous said...

Im not saying this would have made the difference. But Thabeet goes down and cant shoot free throws, then he is back in the game at the next whistle. RIDICULOUS.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a ND fan, just a casual observer of the game--I don't see how Brey doesn't absolutely explode after that display at the end of the game. Thabeet is utterly 'incapable' of shooting free throws, then is at the scorer's table literally immediately, and I mean immediately after the second free throw goes down? That was the very definition, to the letter, of cheating.

BlackandGreen said...

He didn't break any rules, but he certainly exploited one. There has to be some kind of penalty for taking a player out like that, maybe being forced to sit the guy for five minutes of game time or something. As it stands, there is no reason not to fake an injury on every foul in the closing minutes of a game.

Anonymous said...

I always have thought Calhoun was a slimeball, but he didnt break the rule. However, its a shitty rule.

Anonymous said...

Why such high praise for Thabeet? These comments are nauseating about him. I am glad the Irish put on a great game today. Of course, there are no moral victories, but how about praising the unranked #10 team in the BE for their efforts at the mighty UConn? This is a ND bball blog, right? Calhoun is an obnoxious, cheating coach, and the refs certainly didn't help ND. Thabeet goes back in the game right after he's hurt so bad? Gimme a break!
Go Irish, beat Nova and St. Johs's!

Doc Hoople said...

We are a different team with Nash on the floor. It"s hard for me to believe that we might not have won a game or two during the seven game losing streak had Nash been used for eight to ten minuets rather than picking splinters out of his a__. He was not shy about the fact that this was his last year at N.D. along with Scott. We all know that some playing time might change someones mind? It took Brey most of a year to realize Harangody was better than Zeller. So whats new?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, ND is a good team in a great conference. They got the heck beat out of them all year against the likes of top teams in the conference all year long. Talk about shell shock! These guys never get a break. Tough enough to play 5 on 5, but ND was playing against the team in stripes, too! Luke was no match for their big why doesn't Brey start Luke out high and have someone set a pick for Luke, get a switch and get a more favorable match up? That was a winnable needs to work the match ups better, and that one would have put us in. As it stands, ND is in a world of hurt. ND fan from Denver saw Broncos need to win one of three to make the playoffs -- don't think the Irish have it in close!

BlackandGreen said...

I'm a Broncos fan myself and that was brutal.

Still have a shot. We need to go on a Chargers-like run to make the tournament, but it's happened once this year already.