Irish Look To Stay Lucky: #21 Notre Dame At Providence
- CoachingFor the second straight game, 40 minutes was not enough for Notre Dame. Unlike the five overtimes against Louisville, the Irish need just five extra minutes to beat DePaul on Wednesday. Mike Brey hopes his players are fresh for Saturday.Ed Cooley, in his second year, has Providence on a three-game win streak in the Big East for the first time since the 2008-09 season. The five conference wins exceed last season’s league win total.
- OffenseThe Irish offense is extremely efficient—they shoot a high percentage and limit their turnovers. Few teams can match up with Jack Cooley inside, and they have several versatile guards.Bryce Cotton, a junior guard, is the Big East’s leading scorer at 20.5 per game. But it’s been 6’10” Kadeem Batts who’s been hot, scoring at least 20 in three of his last four games.
- DefenseNotre Dame is near the bottom of the Big East in several defensive categories. They do limit their opponents’ trips to the free throw line, but perhaps that comes at the expense of more aggressive defense.The Friars are not great on the defensive end, but they are exceptional at defending the three, which will be important against the Irish.
- Bench DepthGarrick Sherman, who had a huge performance in the overtime periods against Louisville, got 14 minutes against DePaul and hit 3 of 5 shots. He gives the Irish another frontcourt presence, but they are light on reserves in the backcourt.Nine players average double-digit minutes, though in Wednesday’s second-half comeback against South Florida the bench provided just five points and three rebounds.
Notre Dame enters having won five of its last six and steadily rising in the Big East standings. But Providence is playing well, too, so expect this game to be close. Providence gets the slightest of an edge at home. -Andrew Kahn, College Basketball Contributor