Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Irish Look For More Rocky Mountain High Magic
The second round game of Notre Dame and Washington State will be more like a chess match of strength versus strength. Notre Dame's high octane offense will try and get something going against the stingy Cougar defense. Just like the George Mason game, Washington State will try and dictate the tempo with their slow, methodical style.
Washington State, like the Irish, goes about 7-to-8 players deep and is lead by guard Derrick Low. Low is the Cougars top scorer at 14 points and their leading three point shooter (39.7%, 64th in the NCAA). 6-10 center Aron Baynes is Washington State's leading rebounder at 5.8 per game. Below are the Cougars national averages:
Scoring Offense - 213 (67.1)
Scoring Defense - 3 (57.1)
Scoring Margin - 10 (10.0)
FG% - 24 (47.8)
FG% Defense - 94 (42.2)
3pt. FG% - 52 (38.1)
FT% - 50 (73.3)
Rebound Margin - 176 (0.1)
Assists - 137 (13.7); Taylor Rochestie 77 (4.6)
Turnovers - 4 (10.3)
Assist-to-Turnover Ratio - 12 (1.33); Rochestie 9 (2.72)
Even though the Cougars are a great defensive team, they do, however, lack on getting the rebounds. They also give up high percentage shots which will bode well for the Irish, who shot exceptionally well against George Mason.
Keys to the Game:
Fast Start. Like Thursday's game, Notre Dame needs to come out of the gate early and control the tempo of the game and force the Cougars to run.
X-Factor. Last time it was Zach Hillesland as he held Folarin Campbell to four points. Tomorrow it will be Tory Jackson who needs to control the Irish offense. If Jackson can penetrate, find the open shooter, and limit his turnovers, the Irish will be hard to beat. Hillesland will also be counted on to duplicate his stout defense and 11 rebound performance as well!
Make every possession count. If Notre Dame is subjected to Washington State's slow ball control game, the Irish will have to give Luke Harangody a touch every possession. Whether Luke makes a move or dishes it out, the offense will have to go through him.
See the 3, Be the 3. Kyle McAlarney, Ryan Ayers, Rob Kurz, and Luke Zeller, could have another good shooting night. If Washington State concentrates down low, like George Mason tried to do, the open trey will be there for the taking. Look for the Irish to connect on double digit field goals from behind the arc.
Prediction: Notre Dame 77 Washington State 72
Irish survive and advance to the Sweet 16 to face top seed North Carolina!