A very good win. It's hard not to just see this as a flash in the pan after Rutgers, but a game like this should always be appreciated.
The 2-3 zone worked very well for much of the game. Since the Bearcats shot only 25% beyond the arc, our defense was able to shut them down pretty much all game. The big difference this time compared to our last contest was how the Irish controlled the glass. 37-31 tonight. Great job, boys.
On offense, the Irish shot the ball very well, always necessary for a Notre Dame win. Luke Harangody pulled down 6 offensive rebounds, helping the Irish gain more second chances than Cincinnati for the night.
Tory Jackson really struggled, going 0-6 from the floor. He dished out 8 assists to 2 turnovers in 38 minutes. If the missed shots continue down the road, especially Tory's effectiveness from beyond the arc, you have to wonder about the intelligence of continuing to play him for almost 40 minutes a game. Hopefully this is just an outlier, because we will definitely need some points from Tory in the home stretch.
Ben Hansbrough sniffed a triple-double yet again. I'd be shocked if he doesn't end up with one this year or next. 12 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds. He chipped in a pair of steals to make up for his two turnovers, as well.
Tim Abromaitis played very well before fouling out. 22 points on 6-10 shooting and a perfect 7-7 on free throws. He also had a career-high four assists.
Ty Nash was in foul trouble, as well. He picked up four in 26 minutes of play. Just 4 points and 6 rebounds to show for those minutes. We didn't need a whole lot more from him, though, as Harangody pulled down 14 rebounds by himself.
Luke also scored 37 points and was very close to a new career-high in scoring. As it stands, Gody has pulled into second place on the Big East all-time rebounding list and fourth in scoring. Big congratulations to him. He has also tied Adrian Dantley for second place on Notre Dame's list of 20+ point games. He was a very efficient 15-25 from the field, hitting a mix of jumpers and off-balance driving layups in the paint.
Off the bench, Carleton Scott was actually a part of the rotation again. He scored 2 points and pulled down 2 rebounds, not the best stat line but still better than Peoples. It's ridiculous to think that the Irish can survive in the Big East with a backup point guard as the only guy coming off the bench. Joey Brooks and Jack Cooley also got a minute, with Brooks banking in a nice three.
This was a great game to see and the best way to bounce back from an embarrassing loss. Of course, it's hard not to just see this as a tiny ray of hope after so many disappointments. Hopefully the team will do this again a few more times.
Thursday, February 04, 2010
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They played great tonight. Abro's forays into the paint were impressive. They played a smart, tough game. Somehow we've got to get Tory going. Sometimes it's hard to remember that he has scored over 1,000 points in his career. I know that he has the will and fortitude to finish his Senior year well.
This is the Luke I've been waiting to see all season - the LFH of old. When he plays his game inside 15 feet in half court sets, he is unstoppable & picks up 4-5 offensive rebounds a game.
Hopefully Brey said something and the 2 a days lit a fire under their asses. If they play this way the rest of the season, they have a shot at the tournament.
And - Abro... I called it on this blog when he came in 2.5 years ago as an unrecruited 2 star... he's now averaging almost 20 a game in big east play.
Brey just needs to crack down on the 3 point shooting. Hansborough and Abro should be the only ones with the green light. People and Jackson can shoot if they are wide open I guess.
Harangody is now below 30% from beyond the arc.
Good effort tonight though!
Luke is so much more effective down low. Take your work down to the low block, big man.
Call me crazy, but I actually enjoyed Doris Burke last night. She pegged Luke "wanting to impress the scouts with outside shooting" perfectly.
South Florida has been playing much better--a season sweep of the Bulls could reap us more benefits than first imagined.
On a down note, Peoples may be the worst player on Notre Dame since Derek Manner. Or am I forgetting someone in between?
Peoples was recruited to be our backup point guard and that's the way it should have stayed. He should never have sniffed a starting spot and this one-size-fits-all first man off the bench role is ridiculous for him. I agree that he nowhere near Big East-quality, but he would be a lot less frustrating to watch if he was given the right amount of responsibility.
Very nice win. Dismantled a crappy road team just like they should have. Let's see if they can sustain the intensity for the upcoming stretch. David, while Doris Burke had her moments, all credibility was lost when she asked her broadcasting partner (while discussing BK and the ND football team), "So why the emphasis on highly skilled, speedy football players on the defensive side of the ball?" That is almost her exact quote. Apparently Doris doesn't realize the speedy, highly skilled players are so much more effective then the slow, uncordinated ones. I don't know. I found it humorous. Maybe it was just me.
Although I agree Doris shouldn't ever jump to football, I, too, appreciated that someone finally called LH out for trying to impress the NBA rather than win games. All this crap Brey keeps spouting about him coming back for the team has just seemed suspect this season.
Can I ask about next year? what's the plan on point guard with Tory gone? Doesn't it seem like this would be a good time to start getting that guy some minutes to prepare him? Because honestly, without a miracle, the NCAA is a pipe dream.
Eric Atkins, a pretty good recruit out of Maryland, should be taking over the point guard duties next season. There really isn't anyone currently on the team who could be relied upon in that role. Hansbrough moving to the point is a remote possibility, but the only other true guard coming back is the walk-on Kopko.
What concerns me more is who we can count on to replace Harangody. We have three freshman bigs this year (though one is redshirting) and it would seem to be beneificial to give at least one of them 5 minutes a game. Sure, Abromaitis stepped into the starting lineup pretty easily without experience, but that is more likely the exception than the rule.
Atkins also got nominated for the MacDonald's All American game. Assuming he's healthy, I don't see a problem there. I'm actually really surprised Brog hasn't seen time. I know he was injured for several games - maybe that is still the case. He's ready to contribute. Cooley is not.
If only Brey would leave Peoples on the bench. He just can't play at this level. In my view Brey embarrasses him more by playing him and exposing his shortcomings. In the short time he played last night he made at least 3 very bad plays. I don't think our margin of error can afford play at his level. Again, I don't blame J. Peeps. I just believe that he is being called on to do things that he can't do.
So to take a shot at the starting line-up next season:
Atkins, Abro, Hansborough, Martin, and Cooley? Brooks off the bench?
Just no depth.
Nash and Scott are back, too. Broghammer could be in the mix, as well. He's the better player than Cooley right now, but I think Cooley has a bit more upside. Tom Knight probably won't contribute for another year at least.
So that makes it-
Atkins, Hansbrough, Abro, Martin, and Nash.
Off the bench- Scott, Cooley, Broghammer, and Brooks.
To be honest, I think depth will actually be one of our lesser worries next year. The question just is how many of those nine guys are actually any good.
If you were assuming Scott will transfer, I'd hold off on that. He would have to sit out another year and have just one season left of eligibility. I'd say he stays put and just sees what will happen.
Of course, we could see Coach Brey shorten the rotation by at least one just for kicks. In that case,
either Broghammer, Cooley, or both will miss playing time.
Because Brey will not have an 'old' team next season [you know how fond he is of those...] I think you will see a larger rotation. He's going to need some time to find what works. Your starting five will be the likely one barring injury. I would bet Brog, Scott and Brooks will be the first off the bench. To be honest I don't know why Brog hasn't been playing unless he's still injured. He's looked very good in the little time he's had so far & it would be nice to bring him in now and again as a foul machine on the bigs.
I think it's possible that Cooley redshirts next year. He needs to put in some time in the weight room & doesn't seem like he's up to the speed of the college game yet. Drago might also redshirt - though he's having a hell of a year as a senior [MVP of the Chicago Christmas tourney]. I also wouldn't be surprised if Grant sees some time next year. He's a top 100 player & Brey wants to reopen the Dematha pipeline - early time for Grant might sway some Dematha prospects.
oh - the reasoning behind Drago maybe redshirting - there are two players exactly like him with 2 years left of eligibility. Who knows though. From the scouting reports, he's Matt Carroll +2 inches and better ball handling.
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