Saturday, January 02, 2010

Connecticut 82, Notre Dame 70

A great effort on the road goes to waste as the Irish attack wore down in the final minutes. As frustrating as it is to let a three point game get out of hand in the final five minutes, the whole contest seemed to follow Connecticut's season theme of playing down to lesser opponents. Ultimately, it's hard to win a lot of games when you allow 50% shooting from the floor on defense.

Once again, our bench was comically short. It has to be pretty frustrating for the freshmen to only get a minute of mopup time once we're out of contention in a Big East game. I guess it's best to hope we don't see them at all (unless in the unlikely event we have a few blowouts go our way the rest of the year). The minutes distribution amongst our veterans was also a bit perplexing. With Ty Nash only playing 21 minutes, we played a small lineup for half of the game. No wonder the rebounding numbers favored the Huskies. Even though Nash was ineffective in the second half, we can't rely on Jonathan Peoples and Tim Abromaitis to win the rebound battle over bigger and more athletic Big East forwards. That's where a few good minutes from a guy like Broghammer would be golden.

The preview focused on how Connecticut stops strong offenses with its shot blocking ability. Tonight was pretty close to the norm. The Huskies blocked eleven Notre Dame field goal attempts, two more than their season average. Partially as a result of that the Irish managed only 40% from the field, even though they made a pretty decent average of three-point attempts.

Tory Jackson played 40 minutes with 8 assists and only 2 turnovers. Unfortunately, he struggled to create baskets himself. His six points came on two three pointers, with nothing close to the basket. He's just a couple inches too small to get to the rim a la Jerome Dyson or even Kemba Walker. Sure he's an 1000-point scorer, but his four-year starting career will most likely end with only one season averaging double-digits.

Ben Hansbrough fouled out after 38 decent minutes. Like Jackson, his points came from the perimeter. Three of his layup attempts were blocked, and he finished 1-6 on two-pointers for the game. We just don't have a real Big East driving threat in the backcourt.

Abro struggled against Stanley Robinson's good defense and looked a bit spooked in his first game against really tough man defense. It was a good learning experience, but one that should have taken place a year or two ago. This game was a good example of why young players should get a taste of real playing time before they are thrust into the regular rotation. 8 points on 3-9 shooting, he'll get it back together.

Ty Nash had 11 and 8, but only one basket in the second half. His minutes were slashed and he really was not a factor when it mattered. Maybe he isn't the answer full-time, but we need someone in the same mold to help out Luke Harangody in the paint (especially as he continues to play like a wing). Tim Abromaitis and Carleton Scott are much better suited at the 3, so why not give one of the freshman bigs a shot?

Harangody was solid, but continues to feel too comfortable on the arc. He made one of four three point attempts, right on his season average. He has now exceeded the number of three-point attempts from last year. That's very bad. 31 points and 9 rebounds is a great bottom line, but our offense suffers when Luke takes twice as many shots as anyone else. On defense, his post D has really taken a hit this year. He struggles in the post against big guys.

No bench points. Peoples played 12 turnover-filled minutes. Scott passed out two assists and blocked one shot.

On to South Florida. A loss here and we're behind the eight-ball already.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Mike Brey's evolution is complete. A perfect game against UConn - 0 bench points! Soon a new revenue stream can be put into place - bench players can pay for their own seat and comps will be discontinued (who wants to come see a loved one sit on the bench?). Also, he has managed to wear the starters out earlier this year than last. Defense? Cue Allen Iverson's famous "practice" interview and substitute "defense". That's how much Brey cares about defense. It's coaching malpractice to Have Hansbrough, Jackson and Peoples on the same court together during a Big East game. UConn is not Providence.

biggreen23 said...

Applications accepted to sit out an NCAA imposed one year term after transferring. You'll love the night life and frisky females in South Bend so transfer from your current Division 1 university to play in the harsh glow of the Big East. You wanted the best, so play the best, right?

We now are guaranteed at least one game in MSG for our conference tournament, so please consider playing for the Fighting Irish if it's been your lifelong dream to play in the big time in New York City. We also have a brand new gym in the new Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center that has some great fans who want to win as badly as you do.

But we somehow never let our freshman play their way into any meaningful minutes in either the non-conference or Big East portion of our schedule.

We prefer to bury our young guys so be prepared to play 28-35 minutes a night when you complete the one year transfer year. And if you play PG, we'll even throw in an extra few minutes so you can tell your parents they never let you rest.

You'll continue to tell your friends that ND guarantees about 16-17 wins a year with a Sagarin rating of about 250 for the types of non-conference games you'll be able to play. Believe me it helps your scoring stats tremendously, and we don't ask you to play any meaningful defense--just run and gun.

So many schools are begging to come to this special place to enjoy the tour at the College Football Hall of Fame so the list of pre-conference games is very varied. You even get to play some of the Ivy League schools some years.

If you'd like some references, please contact Ben Hansbrough, Scott Martin, Dan Miller and Ryan Humphrey. Even though Coach Brey didn't have all these players transfer in when he has been the coach these last ten years, he is still open to your highlight DVDs. If you think you can help right away, he'll even consider you if you are completing junior college.

All the better to get offensive-minded players who want to have more playing time than where they were starting especially since ND doesn't really require you to make the committment defensively normally required with the type of athletes you'll see every night in the Big East.

Remember the grass is always greener here at ND because we are the Fighting Irish after all.