Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Notre Dame 68, Seton Hall 54

Fantastic win. The Irish are really rolling right now.

Give Coach Brey some credit for how he has reorganized this team. Bilas and Raftery talked about the slow-down offense all game. It has improved our overall efficiency and, more importantly, forces the guys to work harder on defense. Hopefully this style will continue the rest of the year and into next season with a less star-centric team.

Harangody was great today, looking like his sophomore self all over again. This is how he should have been performing all year: avoiding the jump shot and racking up a ton of points on layups and fastbreak dunks. He was ruthlessly efficient tonight, such a difference from how he has played most of the year.

We struggled a bit with Seton Hall's press, but controlled the pace very well for most of the game. The Pirates wanted to run, but the Irish stuck to the gameplan and didn't panic after falling behind by seven early. Our slowdown offense may have been ugly to watch and seemingly ineffective when we used it to protect big leads earlier in the year, but now it is very hard to beat.

Tory Jackson had the play of the game when he dived to save the ball from going out of bounds and tipped it forward to a streaking Harangody for the basket. Great hustle. For the game, he had 14 points (all in the second half) and 6 assists to just one turnover. On defense, he was very effective in slowing down the Seton Hall fast break. He came away with one very heady steal that led to his own layup on the other end of the floor.

Ben Hansbrough had a tough night, but recorded one very nice offbalance three pointer. He added in 4 assists and 3 boards, but has struggled a lot the past three games. 5.6 points per on 14% shooting since the win over Georgetown.

Tim Abromaitis was not able to take advantage of a less physical defender in Jeremy Hazell and just scored 9 points, but didn't force it out there. He shot 3-5 from the field and played very well in a support role. He was named the Big East Scholar-Athlete of the Year yesterday, a much deserved honor. I didn't realize that he is on track to graduate in three years. Congrats, Tim. He will be back next season while completing the accelerated MBA program.

Carleton Scott was limited with foul trouble, but still had a very good night. I believe Sean McDonough mentioned how surprising it is that the Irish now look for Luke Harangody to fill in when we're missing Scott's production. 8 points, 7 rebounds. He missed a pair of threes, but otherwise had just about as much production as you could want in 19 minutes.

Ty Nash had 7 points and 5 rebounds, but played in the shadow of Harangody and Scott most of the game. His free throw shooting woes came back, just 1-4 from the line.

Off the bench, Harangody was the star. 20 points and 10 boards. He just let the game come to him tonight and didn't try to dominate anything. If that is what we can expect from him the rest of the year, the Irish will be very dangerous at any pace. Jack Cooley played pretty well in a couple of minutes. It was interesting to see mimi-Gody play alongside his doppelganger. Jonathan Peoples turned the ball over twice on a couple of really dumb plays, but did score a pair of baskets.

On to Pittsburgh, the team that started this current winning streak. Keep it up, Irish.


Unknown said...

That was the Luke I fell in love with.

Only causes for concern were the poor free throw shooting and Abro being a no show for much of the game.

DJ said...

Perhaps now even Doug Gottlieb will say that we've made the tournament.

Another in a series of excellent performances. Maybe a nice dinner at the Carnegie Deli as a reward.

Brian said...

That is the Harangody I want to see for the rest of the season.

I was very worried that if we lost, we would have been out of the Tournament. I am thrilled with the way we played tonight. Started a bit slow, but we didn't panic, and still ran the "burn" offense. I hope they can keep this hunger and focus for as long as we play.

I cannot think of another team who had to switch their style so late in the season so successfully. Not only have they switched successfully, it is actually a better approach.

I don't know what to think about tomorrow. I am very concerned that if we win tomorrow, and lose in the semis that we will get the terrible 8/9 game. Part of me wants them to lose so we can be a 10-12 seed. On the flip side, I love the confidence, and I am afraid that if they lose, they might lose some of it for the opening round of the NCAAs.

I love this team, and I so happy for Harangody and Jackson to have one more shot at the Dance. Lets keep playing strong and ride this thing as far as we can.

Brad said...

I will admit that I was wrong, partially, in saying that we have a better flow without Harangody, but he has not played like that all year. The way he played tonight was simply phenominal.

I really feel this style of basketball works to our advantage. When we run and take quick shots, we get tired and everyone knows Brey doesn't substitute, so we really get hurt defensively. Once we slow the pace down and take more efficient shots, our defense seems to improve.

I have never seen a team completely change like we have at the end of a season. If Pitt scores over 60, I'll probably be upset. Is this the same Irish team of 3 weeks ago, because that number would have been 80?

Anonymous said...

I talked to Doug after the game. He thinks the Big East will only get seven teams in and N.D. could still be left at the alter. Not much love from the ex Domer.

Flex said...

Superb! Go get 'em, boys!

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

I have been as critical of Brey as anyone, but he has done a great job the past month. Seton Hall scored almost 50 less points last night than on Tuesday.

Teams are struggling to score on us, and we have become very efficient. A six point lead for us is now close to a 10 point lead with our "old style."

Brian, I definitely hear you, but consider this: Will a win tonight vault us to a #7 seed, perhaps? Considering the at-large teams, who is playing better right now?

I'm definitely with you. I would hate the 8/9 game, but a 7, 10, or 11, and I'm feeling very frisky.

I was discussing the game with my brother last night, and we dubbed this ND team, "Wisconsin-lite."

Admittedly, it's not a very original name, and this style isn't very pretty, but it sure beats the N.I.T.

Go Irish.

Brian said...


I have always believe the bottom half of the bracket was a much better draw, particularly this year. After the top 3, I believe the drop off is considerable, and as such want to stay away from the number 1's as long as possible. Being in the bottom half means you don't play the 1 until the elite 8. If we made it that far it would be the best ND season I have ever seen.

Kentucky and Kansas I think would be a matchup nightmare for us. Cousins and Aldrich would really cause problems. Syracuse I believe we could hang with, but again, cannot play them until the elite 8. Duke would be interesting. I think we matchup with them really well.

After the top 3, I really do not see anyone we couldn't play with. I really think that someone in 6-11, or 12 could make a serious run this year. I hope its us.

I see us right now as 10 on the cusp of a 9. I think if we lose tonight we would be a 10. If we win, I think we move up to 8/9. Win Friday and I think we could move as high and 7, win the thing then possibly a 5 or 6. However, again, the selection committee certainly does not look out for us, so who really knows. Of course if they never lose again, who cares we would be National Champs.

I hope the team is not spending 1% of the time I am spending on potential seeds and matchups. They just need to spend time on basketball. They have played great. Last night was a thing of beauty. I really hope they continue to play this way. We could really ruin a lot of team's seasons.

Go Irish!!

DJ said...

Who'd have thought that ND would beat Pitt with 7:30 of suffocating defense down the stretch? Fantastic!

In a tourney situation, the winner often endures one bad game on the way to the title. Might this be that game?