Thursday, February 5, 2009

Contenders and Pretenders...

Is anyone else thankful that the obsession with Notre Dame basketball seems to have calmed down? I admit, I'm KIND of surprised they've fallen as far as losing to Cincinnati (not a bad team, but not particularly great either) but I'm surprised it's taken that long before they really started to raise some eyebrows...and not in a good way.

Notre Dame is not a BAD team--how can you be when you boast a fantastic player like Luke Harangody and a kid like McAlarney who can hit from the parking lot? They certainly deserved the attention and expectations that came their way in the preseason. But their current resume leaves much to be desired and it's surprising that it's taken this long for people to figure out they might not be as powerful as everyone thought they were. Their losses before the Louisville game on Jan. 12 may have been overlooked, but the Cardinals exposed several weaknesses that have been plaguing the Irish throughout their Big East season. This is a team that only rotates 7 players, can't run and plays no transition defense--all it takes is a deep team with a little bit of speed to wear them out. Harangody, who gives a phenomenal effort night in and night out, simply can't do it all himself. To take that one further--it may better when he doesn't. In Saturday's loss to Pittsburgh, Harangody had a quiet first half: 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 of 11 from the field and yet Notre Dame held the 45-39 lead at the break. Multiple teammates stepped up to the plate, including Luke Zeller (18 points in the first half), who seemingly couldn't miss a 3. In the second half, ND fed Harangody again and again...but essentially, he was the only one. Although he's the strongest player on the team, it makes you wonder if Mike Brey will work on coming up with a new strategy anytime soon to spread the love and perhaps a few more wins.

In ND's defense, the Big East IS the toughest league in the nation right now and most of those losses have come against extremely talented teams...but Notre Dame still needs to prove they're legit...and if the Irish don't pull some big victories out of their remaining schedule, they may be looking at an early exit come March.

On the flip side, HELLO XAVIER! I haven't had much of an opportunity to watch them this season, but they're using their game against Temple to announce their #9 ranking is not a fluke. Draining 3s, great defense and Derrick Brown and his sick dunks....this is a fun team to watch.

PS--Props the Xavier guys proudly standing head-to-toe in blue body THAT'S hardcore dedication.


  1. Wigs,

    It's funny hearing you come to ND's defense, because I know your thoughts about ND. But we're not talking about that right now. We're talking about what's funny and that is ND's lack of ability to play defense.

    Say what you want about Luke Harangody. Sure, he puts up big numbers. He can play the post. He can hit the J. But he doesn't have a clue what to do on defense! He's always out of position! Check that, he's always in good position to watch guys get high percentage shots in the paint. He's the poster child for getting posterized!

    My dad and I were watching a ND game over Christmas break. Actually we watched a few, but as we were sitting back throwing back some Samuel Adams we couldn't believe how inept this team is playing defense. None of the train of trey shooters ND throws at you can check a perimeter shooter!? None of them. Harangody and Zeller look like the dogs in the movie Snatch trying to chase down the elusive rabbits.

    In the Brey era I find this to be pretty consistent. It seems to me it's alot like when they thought Tracy Jordan was illiterate in 30 Rock. Does this guy really not know anything about defense or does he just concentrate so much on offense he thinks guys like McAlarney, Jackson and Ayers will shoot you out of the gym?

    This seems to be ND's only hope. When they get in a tournament you catch them on the right night and they are lights out, but seemingly the joke is on them, because any team you don't check or play interior defense on is going to wear you down in the end. This ND team just doesn't seem to have it. Not only that, Harangody wears down during the game. He doesn't appear to be in game shape, because he runs out of gas every game! And he should with the numbers he's putting up. Imagine if he played a lick of defense? They'd have to sit him every 4th game like old style Shaq you see with the Suns right now!?

    Harangody needs to watch tape of Psycho T. That is how you play basketball. I've never seen that drive out of 'Gody. And until I do, I think you'll see ND continue to give up games in America's toughest conference. At this time, people have to question if ND is going to be the 34th at large team looking out once again, which over the Brey era has been their MO.

    All the potential in the world, but somewhere it just doesn't add up.

  2. I want to add that I think Harangody plays hard, but that he also plays kind of like a wuss. He plays basketball like I used to play rugby directly after I saw another teammate get carried off in a stretcher. His face isn't that pretty... he needs to get in there!

    Good wrap up Wigs! I hope ND makes the tournament because they are fun to watch! They seem to play and lose alot of close games and I think that will continue to happen. I still think this is a team nobody wants to play in the tournament because of what they're capable of!