Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Onward To Victory On The Road For Brey's Boys
Mike Brey and his 12-2 Irish take to the road for their first true away game against the 15th Ranked Marquette Eagles tomorrow at the Bradley Center. Even though the Irish haven't fair so well the past several meetings with Marquette, Notre Dame is not ready to be knocked off the top spot in the Big East standings. Here are some keys to tomorrow's 2:00 pm contest:
1.) Injury Bug Hits the Big East. Marquette senior guard, Dominic James (pictured above), is the latest conference victim to go down with an injury. During the Eagles win over Seton Hall this week, James went down hard with a wrist injury in the first half, but came back in the second half. Even though James came back, you could tell his wrist was bothering him. X-Rays didn't show any fractures, but his wrist may not be at 100%. We shall see how bad his wrist really is tomorrow.
2.) The First 5 Minutes is Crucial. I know this is overly used, but in Notre Dame's case, it is very true. This is the Irish's first time facing a hostile environment, and the first few minutes will be key to whether they will have success or not. As long as the Irish play their game and minimize turnovers, they will dictate the flow of this contest.
3.) Feed the Belly of the Beast. Tomorrow's contest definitely has the same feel as the West Virginia game. Will anybody on Marquette be able to handle Luke Harangody? It was last year's contest against Marquette, that Harangody had his previous career high in points and rebounds. The Eagles will try and stop Luke with the likes of Dwight Burke (6-8, 250) and Lazar Hayward (6-6, 225). Hayward is ranked among the league leaders in field goal and free throw percentages, while Burke is only averaging 3.7 rebounds per contest.
Luke will once again have a stellar performance against the Eagles. Look for Rob Kurz and Ryan Ayers also to be key performers as well.
4.) D...D...D...Defense! One of the main reasons why the Irish have been so successful this season has been their tenacious D. Notre Dame is currently ranked 18th in the country in field goal percentage defense (.379). The Irish are also holding their opponents under 63 points per contest and stopping them behind the 3 pt. arc at .333 percentage.
Contested shots and rebounds will be crucial for the Irish's first 3-0 start in Big East play.
Prediction: Notre Dame 77 Marquette 69
Brey's boys keep the momentum going for their 11th straight win this season, as the big men have their way against a smaller Marquette squad. The Irish will have continued success from beyond the arc with K-Mac, while Notre Dame's defense comes up big once again.
~ Notre Dame ranks in the top 20 of the NCAA statistics in four categories: assists (4th-19.8); rebounding margin (7th-10.2) and field goal percentage defense (18th-.379).
~ Notre Dame has played Marquette more than any other team and leads the all-time series 76-32.
~ Notre Dame is 32-21 all-time when playing Marquette in Milwaukee, but have only played at the Bradley Center on four occasions. The Irish are 1-3 in those outings
with its only victory coming in its first-ever visit, a 68-58 win on February 17, 1994. In its last visit, the Golden Eagles handed Notre Dame a 67-65 setback on January 20, 2006.
~ Notre Dame is off to a 2-0 start in conference play for the fourth time since becoming a league member in 1995-96, while no Irish team has ever started league play with a 3-0 record. The other three times that Notre Dame has started off 2-0 in the BIG EAST was 1999-2000, 2003-04 and 2004-05.
~ Since joining the BIG EAST in 2005-06, the Golden Eagles are 15-3 at the Bradley
Center in league action, including the conference-opening victory over Providence and
Tuesday night’s come-from-behind win against Seton Hall. Dating back to last season, Marquette has claimed 11-straight overall victories at home.