The Notre Dame Fighting Irish basketball team fell to 2-1 last week. A disappointing outing against Indiana State dropped the Irish from both the AP Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll.
The Irish fought back from a 10 point halftime deficit, but ultimately lost 83-70 on their home court. Notre Dame struggled all over the court. From shooting, to turnovers, to defense the home team simply couldn’t get it done.
Notre Dame shot just 36-percent from the field and were even worse from the three point line, hitting just 27-percent of its long ball attempts. The Irish turned the ball over 16 times and allowed the Sycamores to hit 48-percent of their shots.
Jerian Grant was turned into the worst kind of volume shooter, hitting just 4-of-14 field goal attempts. He also turned the ball over four times.
The starting backcourt trio of Grant, Eric Atkins, and Pat Connaughton produced practically all of Notre Dame’s offense. They combined for 51 of the teams points. No one else on the roster had more than six, and two starters combined for just four points.
The loss showed a lack of focus from the Irish, who clearly overlooked Indiana State. While Notre Dame should have won this game, were also not surprised they lost. What did ISU have to lose? The win is a highlight of the young season for the Sycamores and will be very impressive come Selection Sunday.
All the Irish can do is dust themselves off and go dominate their next few opponents. The good news is that coach Mike Brey now has something to motivate his players with. An early season loss can refocus a team and helps them to identify flaws in their game plan.
Pomeroy now has the Irish ranked 58th in the country with the 41st offense and the 98th ranked defense.
Nov. 22nd – Notre Dame vs Santa Clara, 9pm
The Broncos head to South Bend with a 2-1 record and are the defending College Basketball Invitational champions. The team will likely be without their best player, Evan Roquemore, who has yet to play this season with a back injury. The team isn’t particularly good, ranking 166th per Pomeroy, but they love to push the tempo. Coach Kerry Keating stated that they had been practicing with 24-second clocks all season. While they can be prolific on offense at times, they rank 204th on defense and opponents shoot 48-percent against them (not including Bethesda, which the Broncos beat 84-39).
Coach Brey has been happy with the effort by the Irish at practice this week, and senses a big bounce back game is coming. Its easy to agree with that statement. A bad team is coming to town, and its best player will be sitting on the bench. If Notre Dame struggles again, it might be time for concern.
I believe that Notre Dame will have its way with the Broncos and decimate a struggling team.
Nov. 24th – Notre Dame vs Army, 2pm
The Black Knight are flailing this season, and sit at 1-3 early in the year. They are ranked 284th and have lost their last two to NJIT (uh, who?) and Delaware. Army also has one of the worst defenses in the country, ranking 324th (out of 351). Their starting five, if you can call it that, is very young consisting of four sophomores. They like to go very deep into the bench, with nine players averaging over 10 minutes per game and four more players logging significant minutes.
Kyle Wilson is the teams primary scoring threat, averaging 17.5 points per night. He is a volume shooter who averages 16 attempts per game. Locking him down will likely bring the Army offense to a hault.
This is another game where the Irish will simply dominate. Army has a fair amount of potential, but Notre Dame is a better team in every aspect of the game. The Irish want to get back in the Top 25 and start building momentum before the schedule gets more challenging.
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