LEAVE YOUR TRIFECTA PICKS IN COMMENTS.
Not only is Notre Dame an incredibly different team than they were last year (when they were a two-seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament), but they're also a different team than they were last week and a different team than they will be next week. Will that stop me from previewing them with varying degrees of certainty? Of course not.
|Pace (No. of Possessions)
|Points Per Minute
|Points Per Possession (PPP)
|Points Per Shot (PPS)
|True Shooting %||58.7%||44.5%|
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm||11.5||14.0|
Thus far, Notre Dame has been a team in flux. Players like 6'5 point guard Jerian Grant and 6'5 freshman Pat Connaughton have been added to the rotation, while 6'9 juinor Jack Cooley and 6'7 sophomore Alex Dragicevich are taking on more prominent roles. Meanwhile, star guard Eric Atkins has missed two games to illness, and potential All-American Tim Abromaitis is making his debut tonight after having to sit the first four games with stupid eligibility issues. The lineups Notre Dame has produced thus far are not the same as they will be moving forward, but the flux has not prevented them from starting 4-0. The Irish have handled the ball well, shot well, and done good work on the defensive glass.
Ken Pomeroy Stats
|ND Offense vs MU Defense Ranks
|ND Offense||MU Defense||Advantage|
|Off. Reb. %||184||59||MU Big|
|MU Offense vs ND Defense Ranks
|MU Offense||ND Defense||Advantage|
|Turnover %||13||261||MU Big|
|Off. Reb. %||192||46||ND Big|
Where the Irish are weakest
They are not great on the offensive glass (they aren't an enormous team -- their guards are long, but their bigs really aren't), and they force almost no turnovers. You are going to get a shot off against them, but it probably won't be a great one.
Where they are best
They do leverage you into reasonably poor shots (and like Mizzou*, they do so without fouling), and they pull down the rebound when you miss. They are decent on defense, but even without Abromaitis, they have been great on offense. They don't turn the ball over, and they take good shots.
Notre Dame's Season to Date
Wins (Team Rank is from KenPom.com)
No. 69 Detroit (59-53)
No. 270 Sam Houston (74-41)
No. 277 Delaware State (93-69)
No. 284 Mississippi Valley State (80-67)
The Irish survived an interesting test from Detroit and hammered away at three cupcakes.
Notre Dame Player Stats
|Tim Abromaitis (6'8, 236, Sr.)||N/A||N/A||LAST YEAR: 34.0 MPG, 15.4 PPG (48% 2PT, 43% 3PT, 78% FT), 6.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.5 TOPG|
|Eric Atkins (6'1, 182, So.)||19.1||0.50||38.0 MPG (2 games), 20.0 PPG (64% 2PT, 60% 3PT, 85% FT), 5.0 APG, 3.0 RPG, 3.5 TOPG|
|Jerian Grant (6'5, 195, So.)||17.7||0.51||34.5 MPG, 14.0 PPG (56% 2PT, 69% 3PT, 66% FT), 5.3 APG, 3.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 1.3 TOPG|
|Pat Connaughtom (6'5, 206, Fr.)||10.2||0.39||26.0 MPG, 11.3 PPG (56% 2PT, 44% 3PT, 75% FT), 6.3 RPG|
|Jack Cooley (6'9, 248, Jr.)||9.2||0.39||23.5 MPG, 6.8 PPG (39% 2PT, 77% FT), 10.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.5 TOPG|
|Alex Dragicevich (6'7, 221, So.)||8.5||0.32||26.3 MPG, 8.5 PG (55% 2PT, 25% 3PT, 63% FT), 3.3 APG, 3.0 RPG|
|Scott Martin (6'8, 222, Sr.)||7.8||0.23||34.5 MPG, 13.0 PPG (42% 2PT, 38% 3PT, 63% FT), 5.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 2.0 TOPG|
|Joey Brooks (6'6, 220, Jr.)||5.6||0.22||25.3 MPG, 7.3 PPG (29% 2PT, 50% 3PT, 53% FT), 4.7 RPG, 2.0 APG|
|Mike Broghammer (6'9, 265, Jr.)||4.9||0.62||8.0 MPG, 4.3 PPG (73% 2PT, 25% FT), 2.3 RPG|
|Tom Knight (6'9, 250, Jr.)||2.9||0.35||8.3 MPG, 3.3 PPG (50% 2PT), 1.0 RPG|
|Patrick Crowley (6'3, 190, So.)||-0.5||-0.41||1.3 MPG|
* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds. It redistributes a team's points based not only on points scored, but also by giving credit for assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls. It is a stat intended to determine who had the biggest overall impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.
Highest Usage%: Broghammer (23%), Martin (22%), Atkins (21%)
Highest Floor%: Broghammer (56%), Grant (56%), Atkins (50%)
Highest %Pass: Grant (76%), Dragicevich (69%), Atkins (66%)
Highest %Shoot: Connaughton (57%), Martin (51%), Knight (49%)
Highest %Fouled: Brooks (10%), Atkins (8%), Cooley (7%)
- Highest %T/O: Cooley (12%), Atkins (8%), Martin (8%)
- Thus far, Notre Dame has had no go-to guy -- it is rare for a team's highest Usage% to be just 23%. We'll see how that changes with Abromaitis re-entering the fray.
Keys to the Game
Offensive Glass. Both teams have done well on the defensive glass so far ... and less so on the offensive glass. It is easy to see this turning into a jump-shooting contest with Marcus Denmon, Abromaitis, Kim English, Scott Martin, Mike Dixon, Connaughton, Phil Pressey and Dragicevich all bombing away from long-range. And who knows? Maybe it's easy enough to say that the team who shoots better on 3-pointers wins. But the other side of that is if one team is able to steal some possessions with offensive rebounds. Cooley is a monster in that regard, with a 42% Offensive Rebounding rate. Unfortunately for the Irish, only one other player is even at 9%. If Mizzou can get a body on Cooley, they should do pretty well, but that's a decent-sized if.
Who The Hell Guards Abromaitis? Abromaitis' inside-outside presence would be a fascinating matchup with Laurence Bowers, but as we know, Bowers is out. Now, the matchup likely falls quite a bit to Kim English. In all, the perimeter matchups are odd, with Mizzou's smaller, quicker guards going up against a long-armed crew in Grant, Connaughton, Dragicevich, etc.
This is a decent first "real" game of the year for Missouri, simply because Notre Dame isn't amazingly big and physical. They have length on the perimeter, and they shoot well, and they should probably be favored because of it, but they are not all-world by any means. If Mizzou gets a home(esque) crowd like they did last year at the Sprint Center against Georgetown, then this could be a fantastic, and successful, game. Still, I think Notre Dame holds the slightest of edges on the glass and the slightest of edges overall. Give me Notre Dame 73, Mizzou 69, and as always, I'd be happy to be wrong.