The Notre Dame Fighting Irish basketball team started the season 2-0 over the weekend. The Irish still sit at No. 21 after the weekend.
Notre Dame played a surprisingly close game against Miami of Ohio, but still won 74-62. Coach Mike Brey went deep into the bench and spent a fair amount of time experimenting with his rotation. Notre Dame shot 50-percent in the game but were out rebounded 30-27.
Jerian Grant was dominant in the opener, scoring 26 points and was 9-for-14 from the field including hitting 5-of-8 from the three point line.
The Irish didn’t stay idle over the weekend like so many teams. Notre Dame dominated Stetson two days last, 80-49. After fouling out and scoring just three points against Miami of Ohio, Garrick Sherman bounced back with a monster game. The senior forward had 15 points and nine rebounds.
Notre Dame’s front court was bullied around in the season opener, but was much more dominant against Stetson. The Irish won the rebound battle, 38-27. They also put the game away by halftime, outscoring Stetson 51-21. Stetson shot just 32-percent from the field.
Grant had another outstanding performance with 15 points and six assists.
Neither Stetson nor Miami are exactly quality opponents, but Notre Dame still managed to handle their business and not nearly get upset by an inferior opponent like Purdue did.
So what can we takeaway from these first two games?
Well, Grant has improved his three point shooting in the offseason and right now is shooting 65-percent from the field. That number is sustainable, but is suggests that he will shoot higher than his 40-percent from last season (and much higher than 34-percent from the arc).
Pat Connaughton looks like an improved player. He scored over 10 points in both games and is doing a better job on the boards. This could easily be a product of the opponents, but his continued development will be important for the Irish.
The offense looks to be ahead of last years, but that’s likely a product of the competition. Right now the Irish have the 26th most efficient offense in the country. Pomeroy has them with the 17th ranked offense. Most teams have played just one game, so these numbers don’t have as much meaning right now. The defense is still a work in progress.
Nov. 17th – Notre Dame vs Indiana State, 12pm
The Sycamores are 1-0 right now, but face Belmont (who they face twice this season for some reason) on Thursday and will likely be 2-0 before facing the Irish. This will likely be the Sycamores toughest game of the season outside of conference foe No. 16 Wichita State. They are led by PG Jake Odum who did it all for ISU last season. He has the potential to make the NBA and is generally considered one of the best players in the mid-major conferences. There is a really good chance that Indiana State will make the NCAA tournament come March.
The Irish can’t sleep on the Sycamores, but they’ll also have a week to prepare for them. Notre Dame should win this game, but expect ISU to make it interesting. The Sycamores don’t have anything to lose and a close game on the road win or lose will look good on Selection Sunday.
Notre Dame win at home, pulling away in the second half and improves to 3-0.
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