Saturday, November 28, 2009

Northwestern 72, Notre Dame 58

Well, that was pretty disappointing. While the final score doesn't demonstrate that it actually was somewhat competitive in the second half, it ended up being no worse than we deserved with a complete inability to handle the 1-3-1.

Tory Jackson was the player of the game for ND. 11 points, 4 assists, no turnovers. He was the only guy to shoot consistently from beyond the arc, making three of his five attempts. Really not a whole lot of complaints on how he handled himself. He was not as active as usual in taking the ball to the paint, but Northwestern's defense really did not set up opportunities for such play.

Ben Hansbrough was one of the many disappointments. His shot was completely gone. 0-7 from three-point land, 1-10 overall. Props to the Wildcats for negating any open looks all night, but at some point you have to rely on your players to stop jacking up low percentage shots when they aren't falling. Be patient and learn to break down a zone or you'll lose to any half-decent NIT squad that plays a 1-3-1.

Not going to waste space on Jonathan Peoples. At least he only played 15 minutes last night. He and Ty Nash are starters in name only now.

Nash did pick up 5 boards, but also played just 15 minutes. There is absolutely no reason to keep giving these two guys the honor of being the first on the floor when two substitutes are clearly better options at this point. Let's see if either Ty or Johnny can be an effective 6th man.

Which brings us to Luke Harangody. Seriously, Luke? You are a national player of the year candidate. You are one of the best big men in the country and in our school's history. The one thing you are not is a shooting guard. Starting tonight, please do not attempt another three pointer during a competitive contest. An 0-6 night makes him 31% from beyond the arc for the year. He needs to stick to the post and mid-range game that has been so effective the last two seasons. His current style is wasting far too many possessions. One last thing... if you don't get a call, quit whining about it and just run back to play defense. Constant appeals to the referees just make you look weak.

Off the bench Abromaitis struggled with his shot a bit, but looked much better in comparison to the rest of the squad. He was the second highest scorer with 13 points and pulled down 5 rebounds, 4 on offense. Carleton Scott had 7 and 8 (including 4 offensive rebounds). Both played about 25 minutes. I love to see both of them crashing the offensive glass. Last year, we left a lot of second-chance points by the wayside. It's about time a couple guys made an effort to rebound on both ends of the floor, especially with the best rebounder in the Big East imitating a blind Reggie Miller. Both should be starting.

Listen, it's not the end of the world. One game does not a season make, and all that. This squad will ultimately be judged in its ability (or inability) to make the NCAA Tournament, which relies heavily on how it performs in conference play. If we go 10-8 in the Big East and pick up a first-round BET win, this loss will be forgotten.

What is scary is the way we lost last night. The 1-3-1 is a fairly easy zone to use, at least in spurts. West Virginia likes it a lot, which spells disaster when the Mountaineers come in town. Any other program with half-decent scouting will see this performance and manufacture their own zone defense to shut off our offensive flow. Until we prove otherwise this team has met its kryptonite, much like when Ohio State shut down K-Mac a year ago. Future opponents will learn from this. We better learn how to react.


Anonymous said...

Do you honestly think this team can go 10-8 in the Big East? If so, you haven't gotten any less naive than you were last year.

Anonymous said...

Good breakdown B&G. I do, however, take exception with your point that the 1-3-1 is easy to use in spurts. The 1-3-1 that Carmody used last night is not your stock, out of the package 1-3-1. To be effective with this defense a team needs to spend hours and hours perfecting it in practice. There are many nuances to this defense that are not apparent to the casual fan. The defense thrives on disruption (kick balls, deflections) and traps in particular spots on the floor. You must have a mobile big man who can defend from above the free throw line to the baseline (Luke could/would not make the defensive committment to be effective). The key guy is the top defender. They dictate which side of the floor teams start their offense and are constantly harassing the opposing team's PG. Basketball 101 is that you attack an odd front zone with 2 guards. I was laughing watching Tori make entry passes to guys on the wing and watching them get trapped immediately. Carmody's game plan to beat ND last night was a thing of beauty to watch. You clearly saw a team that was prepared and executed a plan. I don't blame the ND players, much the same as you don't blame soldiers in battle when they are outmaneuvered.

Anonymous said...

Marquette beats #15 Michigan. Once again we will be owned by Marquette. there is no reason that we should not be able to compete with marquette, but we do not.

Golden Monkey said...

That was hard to watch....

I think I was most disappointed in Hansbrough, he seemed so out of sinc. I've been told he and Jackson are a little like oil and water. Luke does seem to have changed his game. I'm sure he was told he had to improve his outside shoot in order to make it in the NBA. Nash and Peoples are role player's at best. Abromaitis and Scott are almost like playing freshman with a nice upside. 10-8 in the Big East? I don't think so! Only one game, but the hand writing might be on the wall? Bring out the rosaries....

I agree with Anonymous, the Women will out draw the men with ease.

Anonymous said...

But it's not as if ND has never seen a 1-3-1 before. All they had to do was dig out the old video of John Biehlein's West Virginia teams. Was that too much for our crack staff?

But in fairness, you can't blame the staff when the players shoot three after three on a night when they couldn't throw a beach ball into the ocean from five feet out.

lucid said...

I could only listen to the game and Jack isn't the best play by play guy, but I still think the ceiling for this team is higher than many think. They're adjusting to 3 new players and a fourth who saw only limited time last season [precisely because of his inconsistent practices and game performances]. It was their first real test and it was on the road. I doubt they'll shoot that badly again this season.

But yeah, Luke, whaddup dude? Stop jacking the 3's and start pounding the ball.

BlackandGreen said...

2nd Anonymous Poster- Great analysis of the 1-3-1. Thanks a lot for that contribution. It was really well executed last night, but we also looked a little unprepared (that reflects poorly on the coaching staff, not necessarily the players). I would love to see the same kind of attention to defense in a Notre Dame team that Northwestern showed last night.

I think we're better than we showed last night, but once again my concern will increase exponentially if we continue to make these same mistakes.