Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Villanova 90, Notre Dame 72

The Irish put up a good fight for 30 minutes, but the wheels came off near the end. A huge upset turned into a road drubbing very quickly.

A strong zone defense kept the Nova guards at bay throughout the first half but ultimately the small Wildcat lineup wore us down. Not only did Antonio Pena stay in the game and avoid foul trouble, but he outrebounded Luke Harangody and picked up his first double-double in 13 contests. Our All-American was unable to control the paint against the weakest interior team in the conference. This was a great opportunity for him to stamp himself as the player of year but just 5 points and 3 rebounds in the second half allowed Villanova to run away with things.

Tory Jackson had a so-so night, but he paled in comparison to the athleticism demonstrated by Nova's backcourt. All four of Villanova's starting guards outscored Tory, as did Maalik Wayns off the bench. He dished out 7 assists to just 3 turnovers, but couldn't take the ball to the basket and missed both of his free throw attempts.

Ben Hansbrough fouled out in just 19 minutes, as all of the Wildcat guards managed to get to the charity stripe. 7 points, 2 assists, and an uncharacteristic 3 turnovers. His foul trouble, a demonstration of his lack of comparative foot speed, just made him ineffective.

Tim Abromaitis had a really tough night shooting, but did the correct thing by getting to the foul line as often as possible. He shot 8-10 from there, managing 16 points on what otherwise would have been a very disappointing night. The ability to draw fouls and continue to contribute is a very veteran move. I was impressed by him on that account.

Ty Nash had 12 and 6. Not really a poor night statistically, but he was another culprit on defense with 4 fouls. Just 23 minutes on the floor for our power forward.

Luke Harangody kept the Irish close in the first half, but disappeared when the Wildcats took control. He displayed surprisingly poor foul shooting and turned the ball over four times. When you are outrebounded by such a perimeter-based program, much of the blame has to fall on our big guy for not having a bigger presence.

Off the bench, Peoples earned 25 minutes with all that foul trouble. He played pretty well, but the comparison between the kind of quickness demonstrated by Villanova and our backup point guard is quite comical. Carleton Scott played 11 minutes, but fouled 3 times and just pulled down a pair of boards. He made an effect on the ball with 3 blocks and a steal but was another reason why Villanova was able to win the rebounding battle. Joey Brooks earned 7 minutes. Though he is the most fundamentally sound defender I've seen on the team, he is at a bit of a disadvantage against such a small lineup. Jack Cooley got in for a few minutes, as well.

Tough loss, but not unexpected. We really have to bounce back and get at least four of the next five.


Anonymous said...

a six man rotation that runs the offense through your all-american center at the top of the key is not going to win in the big east. it's so futile i'm not even mad at the loss.

David said...

I've seen this movie, and I've read this script.

Another tight game at half leads to a double-digit loss. Sadly, I was pretty accurate in my previous comment on the 'Nova Q & A.

Side note: What happened to our foul shooting?

Fred Benson said...
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BlackandGreen said...

I really don't care about any of your political views. Sure, you're mad that a speech superseded the game tonight, but there's no reason to expound upon your leanings on a basketball blog.

Anonymous said...

The talent gap is alarming. We have A-10 talent at this point. My feeling is that the ND administration is being shortsighted by neglecting the Men's basketball program. Whether the decline is related to coaching, facilities, recruiting, scheduling or admissions the administration certainly understands the relationship of competitive, exciting marquee sports teams to alumni giving. I am quite sure that ND has done studies that prove this causal relationship. It would be foolish to renovate the ACC (old school) if your vision was to play NIT games in front of 2,000 people.

One other point - Did anyone notice how tight the rims were last night at the Comcast Center? It also appeared that the balls held a little more air than the dead balls that the Irish prefer at home. These are very important factors to maximize an overall team speed advantage. Tight rims are tougher to shoot on and cause longer rebounds which lead to break out opportunities. Dead balls have long been thought to provide the "shooters touch". I think Abro, in particular, struggles with a more pumped up ball. He mentioned his dislike of the ball after the Cincinatti loss.
You also have to wonder how much shooting practice the Irish got at the Comcast Center and when they arrived in Philadelphia. These details are crucial to road success. Something we haven't had much of lately.

Anonymous said...

Great coaches adjust to their talent. Brey adjusts to nothing. It is the same old show.

Hansbrough can't guard a dead man.

David said...
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David said...

@ Anonymous.

Great points all the way around.

What is this team's ceiling? Maybe 7th in the conference?

During the DePaul telecast, they mentioned a conversation Brey had with his team. He told the players that 10 Big East wins, 20 wins overall (3 conference wins against top competition)would get us into the tournament. Way to set your sights high.

We just have a mediocre program right now. The best case scenario is a 10-11 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Side note: My dislike for Brey would decrease considerably if he didn't dress like a night club owner.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend in Connecticut who likes to alert me to Kohl's sales so that MB can strengthen his arsenal of mock turtlenecks.

Also, please retire the God awful swoosh road unis. They have no redeeming value. I am a proponent of returning to the '78 unis. They have worn them several times over the past couple of years and they are far superior to anything else they have sported.

Doc Hoople said...

We have maybe three Big East Players? With no one to teach defense. It is what it is.... Change is not in the Wind!

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