Luck Of The Irish? #24 Notre Dame Vs. #8 Louisville
- CoachingMike Brey and the Irish bounced back from a loss to Marquette last weekend by crushing St. John’s, shooting 68 percent in the second half and winning 66-40. Notre Dame wants to remain in the upper tier of the Big East to get the double-bye in the tournament.Rick Pitino got win No. 300 with Louisville on Monday, the Cardinals’ sixth straight victory since the crushing loss to Notre Dame on Feb. 9. Louisville has assured itself of a double-bye in the Big East tournament.
- OffenseNotre Dame’s backcourt of Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins were impressive in the second half against St. John’s. They need to continue to play at a high level for this offense—and the team—to reach its potential.Peyton Siva and Russ Smith are going to take the bulk of the shots, and their inconsistency can be troubling. But Gorgui Deng is coming along offensively and Chane Behanan is a match-up nightmare.
- DefenseThe Irish followed up last Saturday’s horrendous defensive effort by holding St. John’s to just 40 points and 30 percent shooting. They will need to find an answer for Behanan inside.Three straight opponents have shot 35 percent. Combine that with the turnovers Louisville typically forces and you've got a recipe for success on the defensive end.
- Bench DepthIt was in this match-up that Garrick Sherman came off the bench in the overtime periods and exploded. He hasn't done much since, scoring just four points over the last four games.Luke Hancock has seemed to take to his bench role; he’s been shooting very well from deep lately. His outside shooting gives Louisville’s offense some much-needed punch in the half court.
The last match-up was the epic five-overtime thriller won by Notre Dame. It was the fifth time in the last six meetings that went to overtime. Louisville seems to be in better position to win this one in regulation, but anything can happen when these two teams get together. -Andrew Kahn, College Basketball Contributor