Eugene Teague was a warrior down low, but the Irish just couldn't miss. - Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Irish shoot the lights out to down Seton Hall in the Pirates' first game against a ranked opponent.
My apologies for not getting these up sooner- life kind of got in the way.
Anyway, the final score looks ugly.
The box score in places also looks ugly.
The game, however, was not quite as ugly as the final score.
Here are the 5 Thoughts from a rough afternoon in South Bend:
- Pirates D
It wasn't awful. It wasn't good, either, but Notre Dame is a team that excels at smart offense. The defense was lax in some instances, most of them at the beginning of the second half when the Irish put Seton Hall away for good.
But it was not a sub-par effort like the scoreboard would indicate. In general, the Pirates were active, but in the areas of contesting shooters consistently and preventing offensive rebounds, it wasn't good enough.
That being said...
- Too Many Threes, Part 1
Two-fold thought here. The Pirates shot 31 threes in this game, making 11, for a 36% clip, just a hair below what you'd expect. The first half, however, was a sub-par 5-17 showing, and that's on the offense. 17 threes in a half is just too many.
The Pirates don't want to chuck up 31 in a game, and the offense is better when they get about 25 attempts per game, at least statistically. Many of the threes didn't come in rhythm and/or were contested. So it will be back to the drawing board this week in terms of the Pirates being smarter with their shots. They do that against Louisville, and odds are good that it won't end well.
- Too Many Threes, Part 2
Notre Dame just couldn't miss. The looks they got were about half-terrific, and half-decent. They made all of the terrific looks, and most of the decent looks no matter who was guarding them. Scott Martin blew up in their faces as well, which was a bit unexpected in terms of the volume of threes he made.
Part of it is playing at home- Notre Dame always seems to make everything at the Joyce Center. Part of it is personnel. But this was not a normal night for the Irish from the perimeter. Coming in, they were making 38% of their threes. Against the Pirates, it was 67%. Had they held to their percentages, they would have made 7-18. That's 15 less points if the already-high trends held. Just one of those nights.
... was everything you could ask for on Saturday. He played 35 grueling minutes against Jack Cooley, and most definitely held his own with 17 PTS and 9 REB. Cooley still put up 19 and 13, but the big fella played his heart out. He was clearly gassed at the end of the game as well, so the Pirates' reserve bigs (including Brian Oliver) can't get back sooner. Teague is going to need that rest on the bench to keep on being the beast that he is in the paint.
Kevin Johnson did return against the Irish after only two weeks on the shelf, but he only saw 5 minutes as he eases his way back into the rotation.
- Looking Ahead
Notre Dame pace-wise was a better matchup for the Pirates than DePaul, but personnel-wise it was just as tough. Louisville presents another whale of a challenge in both respects, but the Pirates get them at home this time, and I think that will play a factor in that contest.
The good news is that Seton Hall's schedule gets easier after the Cardinals come to Newark on Thursday. Providence, Marquette, USF (at home, thank god) and St. John's are all teams The Hall have a good shot at beating.
In the end, Notre Dame I think played their best offensive game, and the Pirates couldn't keep up in a tough place to win. I wouldn't get too down on yourselves, Pirate fans. It just wasn't the Hall's night.