Saturday, May 12, 2012

Storm Warnings Won’t Stop Irish From Making History



Notre Dame could make history tonight when they face St. John’s for the last home contest this season at the JACC. With a win tonight the Irish will be the first Big East team to have two undefeated home seasons. What makes this even more impressive is the fact this conference had such great teams like the Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown Hoyas of the mid-80’s and the Syracuse Orangemen squads of the mid-to-late 80’s with players Sherman Douglas, Rony Seikaly, and Derrick Coleman.

The lone senior, Captain Rob Kurz, will be making his final appearance at home against a St. John’s squad that has lost their last three road contests. The Red Storm is now 3-8 in away games overall in 2007-08 and 2-5 on the road in BIG EAST play. The Red Storm’s road wins at USF and Rutgers in early February marked the first back-to-back BIG EAST victories away from home in five seasons, since 2002-03. But the Irish won’t take St. John’s lightly, that’s for sure.

The Red Storm is one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the Big East (5th) averaging 34.1 rpg. They’re also 6th in both scoring defense (65.9 ppg) and 3pt. FG% defense (34.3%). So the Irish will have to get out the gates early and squelch any idea of a St. John’s upset!

Look for Luke Harangody to solidify his grip of Big East Player of the Year honors with another double-double performance. Zach Hillesland will be counted on to help break the Red Storm’s pesky pressure defense, while Ryan Ayers looks to keep his hot hand going. Kurz will make a grand exit tonight with another workman-like game of double digit points and near double-digit boards.

The JACC court is the remedy for Kyle McAlarney’s shooting woes. The two-time Big East Player of the Week might challenge his 3pt. FG made record tonight. Look for Tory Jackson to control the game from the get-go with his play. Also keep an eye for Jonathan Peoples to have some sort of impact in tonight’s contest. Peoples has stepped it up when the team has needed him.

Two undefeated home seasons is on the line tonight, as well as, momentum heading towards the Big East Tournament next week. Don’t look for a let down tonight. The Irish will set it on cruise control.

Prediction: Notre Dame 88 St. John’s 67

Baseline Bits:

~ Tonight’s matchup will mark the 32nd meeting between the two schools with the Irish holding a 17-14 advantage in the series. The Red Storm was victorious in the last meeting between the two schools, who have met on only one other occasion since the 2004-05 season, as they earned a 71-68 victory at Madison Square
Garden on January 23, 2007.

~ St. John’s is 3-6 all-time against Notre Dame at the Joyce Center and has lost three straight. In their last visit to the Joyce Center, the Red Storm dropped a 67-66 setback on January 15, 2005. The last St. John’s win at the Joyce Center was a 57-53 victory on February 24, 1999.

~ Notre Dame tops the nation in assists with 19.1 per game and has dished off 20-plus assists in 12 games.

~ During the Irish’s current 17-game Big East home court winning streak, Notre Dame has played every single league squad except for Georgetown and tonight’s opponent, St. John’s.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Coming Soon To a Theatre Near You!


Lloyd Carr (skank), retired Michigan Coach and everyone's favorite loudmouth loser-next door, is back, his famously sardonic wit intact and sharper than ever, as he continues to narrate his own story about cheating, man love and the Notre Dame obessessed men in Ann Arbor. Sex in the City finds, Lloyd, Rich Rodriguez (whore), BayAreaWolverine (bitch), and Mike Hart (slut) four years after their 2007 season ended, as our favorite Wolverines continue to juggle jobs and relationships while navigating NCAA sanctions, gay marriages and spread offenses.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mama Says, Road Games are the Devil


Yes Bobby, you're mama is right, Big East road games are the devil! They're so much of a pain that the combined overall record of conference away teams is 8-29. That's a 21.6 winning percentage. So Irish fans, I wouldn't get too upset about last week's loss to Marquette. The Big East Conference is for real, and other coaches, the media, and, more importantly, the NCAA selection committee is noticing.

Currently, the Big East is the third-best conference in the RPI ratings, behind the ACC and the Pac-10. When comparing each conference's road success, it is not close. The success rate of winning on the road is 37.5% and 44%, respectively for the ACC and Pac-10. So it's very difficult to win on the road in the Big East. What makes this even more mind boggling is that the Big East expanded the league schedule from 16 games to 18, YIKES!

The two most impressive road victories so far goes to Cincinnati, who beat Louisville, and Providence, which won at Connecticut. Below is a breakdown of Big East Conference Road Records:

Louisville 1-0 (Rutgers)
Georgetown 2-1 (Rutgers and DePaul)
Pittsburgh 1-1 (South Florida)
DePaul 1-1 (St. John's)
Providence 1-2 (Connecticut)
Cincinnati 1-2 (Louisville)
Connecticut 1-2 (Seton Hall)
Notre Dame 0-1
Marquette 0-2
W. Virginia 0-2
Syracuse 0-2
Villanova 0-2
Seton Hall 0-2
S. Florida 0-3
St. John's 0-3
Rutgers 0-3

Bracket Banter
The Irish are holding still at the number 8 seed in both the ESPN.com Bracketology and CBSSportsline.com's mock NCAA Bracket's. According to Joe Lunardi, the Irish would face 9 seed Arkansas, and a possible matchup with # 1 seed Kansas. On CBSSportsline.com, Garry Parrish has Drake, Miami, and Ohio State as possible first round opponents for Brey's boys.

If the season ended today, the Big East would send eight teams to the Dance, which is more than any conference. Below is the rest of the conference's projected seedings:

Marquette 3 (East), 3 (CBSSportsline.com)
Georgetown 2 (South), 5 (CBSSportsline.com)
Pittsburgh 5 (West), 4 (CBSSportsline.com)
Notre Dame 8 (Midwest), 8 (CBSSportsline.com)
Louisville 10 (Midwest), 8 (CBSSportsline.com)
W. Virginia 9 (East), 9 (CBSSportsline.com)
Connecticut 10 (West), 10 (CBSSportsline.com)
Villanova 12 (South), 10 (CBSSportsline.com)

Georgetown Preview
Notre Dame will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak to the Hoyas when it travels to Washington, D.C. The Hoyas lead the all-time series 13-10. The last Irish victory (70-64) in the series was at the Joyce Center on February 16, 2005. The last win for the Irish at the Verizon Center was on March 8, 2003, 86-80.

Notre Dame is 8-3 all-time in games played at the Verizon Center (formerly the MCI Center) and 6-2 all-time under head coach Mike Brey (3-2 versus the Hoyas). With a good contingent of loyal alumni in the DC area, it is imperative that the Irish don't fall behind early like last season's game. Minimizing turnovers and establishing the low post with Luke Harangody will be a good start in helping Notre Dame get their first road victory of the season.

Guards Kyle McAlarney and Tory Jackson have to be on their "A" game by nailing open shots and penetrating the lane. Rob Kurz will have to put up his workman like numbers, while Ryan Ayers needs to step up and create some offense for the Irish. Defensively, Notre Dame will have a heck of a time defending center Roy Hibbert. Even though he has not put up impressive numbers, Hibbert has given the Irish fits in the past. Look for Notre Dame to mix it up with some zone, to go along with their man-to-man defense.

The key component for Notre Dame will be their offensive execution and bench play. If the Irish can start off where they left off against Cincinnati, they will be in good shape. Also the play of Jonathan Peoples, Luke Zellar, and Zach Hillesland will be vital for what is the most important game of the season so far. There are a plenty of big "ifs" tomorrow, and I'm not sure if they can string together a complete 40 minutes on the road yet. But DC has been good to the Irish in the past, especially under Brey:

1-27-01 vs. Georgetown W 78-71
2-9-02 vs. Georgetown W-4ot 116-111
12-7-02 vs. Maryland W 79-67 (BB&T Classic)
12-8-02 vs. Texas W 98-92 (BB&T Classic)
3-8-03 vs. Georgetown W 86-80
1-23-05 vs. Georgetown L 54-55
12-3-06 vs. Maryland W 81-74
1-6-07 vs. Georgetown L 48-66

With first place in league standings on the line, I don't see the Irish prevailing. Tomorrow will not be their first road win of the season, however, a struggling Villanova squad a week later in Philadelphia will be prime picking for Notre Dame.

Prediction: Georgetown 77 Notre Dame 71

Talk About Loyalty?


Ever since my family and I moved to South Bend, one of the main staples has been Mike Collins as the public address announcer for Fighting Irish football games. As a loyal alum, Collins has been a huge supporter of Irish athletics and has been a great role model for the community. He has been a familiar face in South Bend TV news for 40 years. From 1967 to 1994, Collins was a reporter, then anchor and news director at WNDU-TV. He has been with WSBT since 1995 and its news anchor since 1996.

He just recently did his last broadcast on WSBT on Nov. 30th of 2007. What WSBT and Schurz Communications wants you to believe is that Mike was retiring and calling it quits on his television career. Well that is absolutely far from the truth!

Right from the horses mouth, Collins was asked by WSBT and Schurz that he either resign gracefully or be fired. Obviously Collins took the high road and is now going on to bigger and better things. What makes this even more ridiculous is the fact, that the day after Collins did his last broadcast, his subscription to the South Bend Tribune (another Schurz Communications owned subsiderary) was cancelled!

Schurz communications is almost as bad as ESPN. What's next, Dana Jacobson is the new host of Irish Sports Report?

It's a Numbers Game....Literally



Okay Irish faithful, what do the numbers 3, 7, 7, and 8 mean? No, it's not the projected NCAA Tournament seedings for the Irish; that will come later. Those numbers are what Notre Dame is ranked nationally in Assists, Rebound Margin, Personal Fouls, and Assist-to-Turnover Ratio. More importantly for the 18-4 (8-2 BE) Fighting Irish, the two numbers that really matter right now is 18 and 20.

Today Notre Dame jumped up in the current ESPN/USAToday and AP polls to 18th and 20th, respectively. The Irish are one of six Big East schools ranked in both polls. Notre Dame also jumped up in their RPI rankings too, when they checked in at 27th. All of these numbers can be contributed by individual numbers, as well as, team numbers.

Big East Player of the Year frontrunner Luke Harangody, and his sling shooting sidekick Kyle McAlarney are in the Top 30 nationally in two categories each. Senior captain Rob Kurz and sophomore Tory Jackson are also ranked nationally in an individual statistical category:

Luke Harangody 29th Points (20.4)
17th Rebounds (10.1)

Kyle McAlarney 22nd 3pt. FG Made (3.3)
14th 3 pt. FG% (45.8)

Rob Kurz 34th FT% (86.5)

Tory Jackson 19th Assists (6.1)

Overall as a team, the Fighting Irish have put up some of their best numbers in the Mike Brey era. Besides being ranked in the Top 10 in assists, rebound margin, personal fouls, and assists-to-turnover ratio, Notre Dame is ranked for their offensive output and their defensive stalwart.

Offense:

19. Scoring (80.5)
20. Scoring Margin (13.4)
12. 3pt. FG% (40.7)
38. FT% (73.8)

Defense:

33. FG% (40.0)

Here's another number I'll throw at you, 8. That's how many games remain in regular season. If the Irish can come up with 7-1 or 6-2 combination, Notre Dame will be in the driver's seat for a possible Sweet 16 run. But don't tell that to Coach Brey and the Irish. They'll be taking it, ONE game at a time!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Detox kits or Are You Smarter Than an NFL Draftee?


Since the NFL Draft is a little over 24 hours away, I overlooked something when I wrote about Notre Dame's four draftee candidates, the WONDERLIC Test! Ah yes, the NFL's version of 2+2. So  detox who did the Irish fare on the drug test?
How to pass drug test? John Carlson led the bunch with a score of 40, while John Sullivan had a 35, Trevor Laws 30, and Tom Zbikowski 29. Other notables of interest: Chad Henne 22, John David Booty 14, Jonathan Stewart 20, Rashard Mendenhall 23, Felix Jones 22, Vernon Gholston 21, Sedrick Ellis 15, and the kicker was Mario Manningham's results.

Before I give you Manningham's score, here's a little information about this IQ Test.
Charlie Wonderlic Jr., president of Wonderlic Inc., says, "A score of 10 is literacy, that's about all we can say."


Mario Manningham, a 6!!!! Yikes. It's evident of Michigan's "high" academic standards, and more proof of Stanford Cardinal Cocah Jim Harbaugh's theory. I guess the Wolverines with their new coach Dick Rod still have their "family values". Oh wait.....

Now if they can just get a quarterback and a coach who has a backup plan when a premadonna high school kid dumps him for the other "classy" institution in the Big 11!

I remember thc detox from ox2.org kit folks making fun of Heisman Trophy winner not knowing the word "restitution". Manninghan can't even read the word. How does that happen at the "Harvard of the West?"

I don't see Mario being asked to a contestant on Wheel of Fortune for NFL Week! Hey Mario if the NFL doesn't work out for ya, I sure bet Jeff Foxworthy would love to have you as one of his students on "Are You Smarter Than A Michigan Football Player or thc detox kit's?"

Irish Look To Put The Squeeze On The Orange


Another old nemesis comes to town on Sunday, as the Syracuse Orange look to bolster there postseason hopes with win over the Irish. After coming off en emotional high against Pittsburgh, the Irish look to keep pace with Georgetown, Louisville, and Connecticut, for the Big East regular season championship. Just like the Pittsburgh series anything can happen when the Orange and Notre Dame square off.

Even though they beat Georgetown last weekend in the Carrier Dome, Syracuse is struggling big time! Currently the Orange is 5-5 in their last ten games, including losses at South Florida and home to Villanova. Against the RPI Top 50, Syracuse is 1-7. In case you are wondering, Notre Dame is 5-4. The road hasn't been too kind for the Orange either, as they are 2-5 in the league. And to make matters worse, Syracuse only has six scholarship players playing. Yes, six!

Notre Dame, on the other hand, is rolling at the right time. Brey's boys are leading the Big East in almost every single statistical category, including scoring (80.3 ppg), FT% (74.3), 3pt. FG% (40.1), rebounding (43.5 rpg), rebound margin (+8.5), assists (18.48), and defensive rebounds (29.12). And the Irish also have league leaders in scoring (Harangody, 23.1), rebounding (Harangody, 11.8), assists (Jackson, 6.2), 3pt FG's made (McAlarney, 81), 3pt. FG% (McAlarney, 44.3), and FT% (Kurz, 94.4). Overall, the Irish have a lot more weapons for the Orange to handle.

Look for Syracuse's famous 2-3 zone to be tested early and often with the outside shooting of McAlarney, Kurz, and Ryan Ayers. This could be a game where Luke Zeller and Jonathan Peoples could contribute from behind the arc as well. But to be truly effective, the Irish will use Zach Hillesland to break the Orange zone and help dish to the open man. This will also be a game where Jackson will penetrate to the hole or kick it back out for three.

The Orange does have one of the best shooters in the league though. Arinze Onuaku, 6-9 center, is shooting 65.6% from the floor. 6-5 swingman Paul Harris will try and have another big day against the Irish. Harris averaged 18 points and 13 rebounds in two contests with Notre Dame last season. Freshmen Donte Green and Johnny Flynn will be introduced to the Leprechaun Legion and Player of the Year frontrunner, Luke Harangody.

Syracuse is one of the worst teams in Division I scoring defense (72.7 ppg), 3pt. FG's (5.1 per game), 3pt. FG% (32.9), FT% (67.1), and Turnovers (15.7 a contest). So look for the Irish to force Syracuse to beat them from behind the 3pt. line. Overall, I see another similar contest like the Pittsburgh game, with the same result.

Prediction: Notre Dame 87 Syracuse 78

Baseline Bits

~ ND is 20th in the RPI ratings. Syracuse is 47th.

~ The Irish are projected a #4 seed according to ESPN Bracketology. Their first round opponent would be Virginia Commonwealth (20-6).

~ Out of the 42 brackets complied by the Bracket Matrix (http://bracketproject.atspace.com/comparison.htm), Notre Dame averages out to be an overall #5 seed.