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Notre Dame at a glance

George Mason Basketball: Notre Dame at a glance

Monday, March 17, 2008

Notre Dame at a glance

With Mason's first round game only 3 days away let's not waste anymore time and get right to it, who are these Fighting Irish they will be facing in Denver? It's nice to know that some people are predicting us to upset these Irish. No doubt they are more battle tested coming out of the Big East but much like the Patriots they don't play their best basketball away from their home court. They are led by burly sophomore center Luke Harangody who is 6'8" and 250 lbs, where is Jai Lewis when you need him? Luke was Big East player of the year, the youngest to do so since Caron Butler back in 2002. Make no mistake that Coach Larranaga's defensive game plan is going to centered around big Luke as Notre Dame's will be similar in trying to slow down Will Thomas. It should be a classic big man battle between Thomas and Harangody. Offensive rebounding and defense will be the keys to Mason's success, Birdsong you gotta box out! Notre Dame has a tremendous size advantage over Mason overall but Folarin Campbell does pose as a possible mis-match for the Irish starting back court. The difference in the game could be John Vaughan and Folarin Campbell getting to the free throw line like they have been lately. One problem for the Patriots will be defending the three point shot as these Irish are 4th in the nation in that area. Scary statistic when you think of how poorly Mason has defended the three point shot at certain points in the season. Lately the Patriots have been improved in this area, especially during their last game in the CAA championship playing against a team that lives off the three pointers.

More analysis to the come as I will be conversing with the Rakes of Mallow Notre Dame blogger in a Q&A session. Please post any questions you have for the Notre Dame blogger regarding their team and what to expect for Thursday.



Blogger WeisGipper said...

If I was George Mason, I wouldn't overlook the Irish's guards, 1st Team Big East selectioin Kyle McAlarney and Tory Jackson. Plus Senior Captain Rob Kurz nearly averages a double-double.

The X-factor in Thursday's game will be Zach Hillesland. He creates a lot of mismatch problems for opposing defenses.

Like I said earlier in another post, George Mason was the one team I didn't want the Irish facing in the first round. I'm glad everyone is overlooking the Irish, because that's going to be another motivating factor for Notre Dame.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

So if I have this right based on various commenters posts on this site, everyone is overlooking Notre Dame, but also eveyrone is overlooking George Mason.

Which one is it?

Quite frankly, none of it matters, if neither team isn't sufficiently movtivated from being in the NCAA Tournament and having a chance to win a National Championship then they have no shot.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

@ Christopher...regardless of what 'weisgipper' says, I believe it's safe to say the vast majority of analysts are predicting ND to advance. However, a number have suggested that Mason can pull an upset (Feinstein, NBC, etc). Of course, we know this is certainly something they can do!

I have a question for "Rakes"...

ND performed very poorly in their early season tournament while Mason played very well. In addition, ND was ousted in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. Furthermore, they suffered a 1st round loss in last year's NCAA tournament. Why is this team and their fan base so confident about advancing against a Final Four program??

9:36 PM  
Blogger WeisGipper said...

The early season tournament the Irish didn't do so hot in was Virgin Island Paradise Jam against Monmouth, Baylor, and Georgia Tech, where they won one game and lost both games by a combined 5 points. Their other five losses have come against ranked opponents Georgetown (#2 Seed), Marquette (#6 seed) twice, Louisville (#3 Seed), and Connecticut (#4 seed).

They also beat the same Kansas State squad, George Mason beat as well.

Everyone says that ND is a horrible road team, but GMU isn't better. ND is 5-4 on the road and 2-3 at neutral sites, while the Patriots are 5-7 on the road and 2-2 on a neutral court.

This is definitely not the same GMU squad that made the Final Four two years ago, plain and simple. I don't think ND is going to be intimitaded by that whatsoever. They've faced better competition, which isn't a knock on the Patriots at all.

ND went 14-4 in one of the toughest conferences in the nation, what more could you ask for in a squad that was picked 9th in the preseason of the Big East?

10:02 AM  
Blogger Farmdog said...

It will be a good game in the tourney
Football I believe that Mason could take Notre Dame

7:10 PM  
Blogger Farmdog said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

@ weisgipper

Frankly, I don't think true mid-major fans are really that concerned or impressed with "power conference" stats and rankings. They just don't translate very well when it comes to the tournament.

I can say that the CAA has some of the best guard play in the nation--regardless of VCU's snub--so I really don't see Mason having a problem defending ND's guards. Perhaps more importantly, Campbell presents enormous mismatch issues (faster, taller, more experienced) and Thomas will negate ND's big-men to a certain degree (go ahead and mark him down for a double-double).

If Mason stays out of foul trouble, limits turnovers, and hits their free throws, then "Hello Washington State" (presumably). I just don't see ND bringing more heart on Thursday which is what it takes during the NCAA tourney.

9:37 PM  
Blogger WeisGipper said...

More heart? Now that's a joke. ND has displayed more heart and determination all season long. What's heart? How about being suspended from the university last season to come back and being a First Team All-Big East selection. Or being picked to finish 9th in your conference, and end up tied for 2nd and receiving another first round bye in the BE tournament. Or having the first back-to-back undefeated home conference winning streaks in Big East history? And to top it off, having the Big East Player of the Year, when nobody really knew who he was at the start of the season.

That's fine if Thomas gets a double-double, because I'd be surprised if he didn't. You can put Harangody on that list too! Possibly Rob Kurz as well. I just don't see George Mason stopping the Irish's outside shot. ND has too many 3pt. shooters for GMU to stop.

As for the X-Factor in Campbell, he'll cause some problems for the Irish. But can GMU stop Zach Hillesland? He's just like Campbell where he creates a lot of problems for opposing defenses. Hillesland can lead the break by taking the ball up court, break the press, find the open man with ease, and can drive right by a defender with a poster picture dunk! Plus what will the Patriots do when 6-11 Luke Zeller pulls up for 3?

Last season's first round exit and this year's Big East Quarterfinal loss left a bad taste in their mouths. They are hungry and are ready for what George Mason is going to give them.

ND 81 GMU 73

9:14 AM  

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