Virginia Tech basketball preview Notre Dame

#2o R.P.I. Notre Dame @ #46 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech basketball remains ensconced in the nearly downright warmed up New River Valley this Saturday afternoon at 2pm to host BIG name Notre

The Irish are a pretty decent squad, checking in at a slightly surprising robust 15 up and only 2 down in a year that was forecast to be pretty good; though probably just short of, great. As most of my preseason wraps have Notre Dame in the upper third of the A.c.c., although there is a lack of agreement as to where or how high in Atlantic Coast terms specifically. The generic, overall, broad brush consensus seems to think that this is a post-season caliber team; though agreement as to which tourney of which ilk is again, hard to come by –as the hooping cognoscenti have some ranging opinions regarding these 2017 Irish. That being said, this game is at home, we have an advantage in rest, and  the 2016 Irish would have very likely beaten the 2017 Irish. So hopefully we are catching these Irish at just the right time.

Notre Dame Head Coach: Michael Paul Brey: Age=57, 369–179 (.673) overall, 370–179 (.674) at Notre Dame.

Baller Brey is the son of Olympic swimmer Betty Brey, graduated from legendary scholastic hoops factory DeMatha Catholic High School in 1977. As a two-year letter winner under all-everything coach Morgan Wootten, Brey helped the team to a 55–9 mark. He enrolled at Northwestern State University, where he played varsity basketball -as a Forward- for three years (1977–1980).

Coach Brey He returned to his former high school, becoming an assistant coach under Morgan Wootten. In 1987, he was hired by Duke to assist under coach K, and in 1995 he took over his first head coaching job at the Delaware. Brey guided the Fightin’ Blue Hens to a pretty flighty looking 99–51 record over five years. Leading Delaware to two America East Conference Championships and subsequently two trips to the NCAA Tournament. After that, in 2ooo, he got the big whistle job for the Notre Dame Irish. Notre Dame had not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1990. Brey led the Irish to the NCAA tournament in his first three years as head coach (2001–2003), notching a Sweet-16 appearance in 2003. He has led his team’s to tournament appearances in 13 different seasons at two different schools. He has won six conference championships, four Conference Coach of the Year awards and five National Coach of the year awards (all for the same season: 2o11). Good for two Elite-8’s and three Sweet-16’s overall. Coach Brey has only suffered one negative (<.5oo) L’ing season in 21 years. And his teams have enjoy a post-season in all less three months of March. Coach Brey teams attend with an overall skillful, offensive and a shooters marksmanship rep’.

Irish at a glance:

  • #1 in the nation in FT percentage (84%)!
  • #1 in Assists:Turnover ratio (+1.89)!
  • 6th fewest personal fouls per game (15.1 whistles).
  • 33rd in scoring O (82.3 ppg).
  • 39th in FG percentage D allowed (39.6%).
  • 53rd in shooting percentage (47.4% overall).
  • no injuries reported.

Domer Returning Starters=3

Notre Dame Strengths:

  • When Lindy’s preseason wrap lists one of your ballers as: all-conference and the: Best Pure Shooter in your conference? Yah; I’d have to surmise that that counts as a strength; and so does V.J. Beachem. As this 6’8”, 200 lb., final year S/F -who just seriously flirted with the N.b.a., can flat out shoot that rock. As his range is basically the gym, if he’s in it, he’s … open. That being rightfully said, the nag(s) are, his FT-shooting needs work (57% last year) and his off-the-dribble game is so-so, at most. If you ask me? And you did via reading this preview– me? I’d say that a FT percentage come up to 79.1% counts, and his handles are okay enough; now. So is his 14.6 ppg, on 43% overall and 38% from downtown. 3.9 rpg does not hurt, and neither does a steal and a block. Nonetheless, V.J. had been in something of a shooting slump -of all things- until just a couple of games ago. And that is a relative statement, as he was in a high 20% from distance shooting slump for a couple of weeks that is called mere mortality for most other ballers. Though two 21+ point outburst games erased all of that in a hurry from the kid with a history of plantar fascia injuries. May St.Servatius (Patron Saint of feets) bless and intercede for any kid who has done this well while not being listed in any of the four major recruiting services Top-300’s coming outta Indiana high school ball. As this shooting ace of a kid is gonna be a self-made-man; as the N.b.a. has never once had too many shooters or too many rebounders/defenders.

    Giving new meaning to a: Banzai,charge!
    Giving new meaning to a: Banzai, charge!
  • Leading the way in scoring however is one # 35, Bonzie Colson. Bonzie -great name by the way- Bonzie is a thickly 6’5”, 226 lb. junior who sets the Irish output pace at 16.4 ppg with an outstanding 10.4 rpg to go with it! Making him the best rebounder in the A.c.c. on a per inch (height) basis. As a double-double at south of six and ½ is basically unheard of since the 1950’s, give/take. That’s pretty damn good work from the two time Rhode Island Gatorade Player of the Year (2013 and 2014) if you can get it. Bonzie is an intriguing winner of no less than four that’s (4) four A.A.U. national championships on his way up. Never read that one until now | and as for now itself, the book on Bonzie says he has a good face-up and post-up game alike. Only rub being his lack of a true mid-range game as a powerful yet undersized Three (S/F). 49% from the floor is solid, and he has just enough range (30%) from downtown that you have to at least play his outside game. 90% from the charity stripe on a team leading 65 FTA’s is straight money and Colson also primes the Irish in blocks at 1.4 swats per game. As it really is tough to find a kid playing bigger and doing more, with; less.
  • Matt Farrell is a 6’1”, 178 lb. third year Pt.Guard who does a little bit of everything well; although what he does best is Qb the offense and spread the floor for everyone else with his 42% 3-point shooting that flirts with N.b.a. ~24′ range. Coach Brey says that he wants Matt to play less unselfishly and take mores shots {sic:  of his own}. And how often do you hear that one in the modern ethos era? Me neither, as Matt leads the Irish way at 5.4 apg and is said to be a very heady Pt.G. who runs the O well and turns the ball over seldom. Matt won two (New) Jersey state titles in high school, he nets 90.2% of his FTA’s, and he too looks stronger in the shoulders/neck and upper-arms -and quite a bit stronger- than his listed metric of 178 lbs. upon breaking tape.
  • 6’6”, 212 lbs. shooting-G Steve Vasturia rounds out the Irish backcourt for 2017. Steve drops you a silver medalist even 15 ppg on 48% from the floor and 43% from deep. 3.1 rpg, 3.4 apg and the team lead at 1.4 spg fill out his stat-sheet and smartly at that. The book on Steve says that he needed to get himself back in gear this year after a slumpy looking 2015-2016 –and that he needed to do more penetrating/driving as opposed to being just a quality AT&T dialing long-distance guy from beyond the arc. Accordingly, Steve is second in Irish FTA’s (45) and first in Irish FT-makes (93.3%); so I’d say he has answered being called-out on all of that. He has also been the Irish Defensive Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons and that tells you all you need to know about his stop-unit acumen. Coach Brey has installed more curling action(s) for Vasturia off of high-screens this year and the typically quiet S/G has responded well indeed.
  • Clearly, FT shooting is a nonpareil strength; here.

Notre Dame Weaknesses:

  • Gone is the dual firepower of all-stars D.Jackson and Z.Auguste and their combined 32 ppg and ~15 boards. That’s a lot and that never helps.
  • 2017 Notre Dame is basically a 4-headed monster; as there is a plummet in box score production after the big-4 up above. A 259% drop-off in scoring, at a minimum, if you are keeping score at home.
  • I suppose, if you had to nag something else; the Irish 3-4-5 or frontcourt is not so (formerly) Big East demonstrative as you might have expected. As there is something of a finesse or coach John Beilein shooter’s only club type feel to this 2017 Irish basketball squad.

Irish Bench: (depth= 4)
Rex Pflueger and Martinas Geben are the two main minute loggers off the Irish pine. Rex is a 6’6” 2o2 lb. Soph., Wing who is said to need to work the range on his J, though is also said to have good ball-skills from the 45° wing. Rex nets you 4.9 ppg though he is up to a shiny 43% from outside with 2.3 rpg this year. Geben is actually not even listed in my Lindy’s preseason guide; and that’s a sign of a lack of depth; a late addition, or a rarefied diamond in the Irish bluff. Geben is a big ole 6’10”, 244 lb. Jr. year imported Lithuanian who primarily servers as a bludgeoning screen setter and he did lead Dana Point Cali’s Mater Dei high school squad to the MaxPreps National Championship in 2013-14, serving as captain of the team that finished 35-0 to post the school’s first undefeated season.

The more interesting substitute  here however, is the gem of the 2016 Irish recruiting class, Temple Dupree Gibbs. The 6’3” 2oo lb. nugget or rookie year Gibbs is part of the Gibbs family (with two star brothers, Ashton (Pitt) and Stirling (Washington Wizards)). Though the whispers say this Gibbs may have been a bit oversold, relatively speaking. “TeeJay”, as he is want to be called, is more of a combo-G who did score and defend well at the scholastic level. Although he is still a work in process as conversion to becoming a true One (Pt.G.) goes. Right now the physically tough Gibbs scores you 4.9 ppg on 43% and 37% and is still learning/adjusting to college ball. Though the book reads like he has a pretty high ceiling; so let us agree to reconvene and ask 2o2o about that.


Forecasting this Atlantic Coast Clash is really all about ... what???

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Illation, conclusion (s) and OPT digits:

Number of Irish who could start @Tech=2

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… this is a pretty good Notre Dame hoops team, almost, quietly, good. As they lack single-shot individual star or wow power. And yet they do pretty much every single thing well enough, to pretty dang swell. Maybe not a dominate hoops team, however, this is an extremely well coached hoops team, one that does not make mistakes nor beat itself. Ergo, the kind of basketball team that goes down as one of that given coach’s (Brey) all-time personal favorites because they listened and gave you basically all they gots.

A certain Saturday Night Live character anyone?
A certain Saturday Night Live character anyone?

On the flip side, Virginia Tech basketball is +2 on rests and that does not hurt one iota with reports filtering out of fatigue late in the Syracuse game from a very frontcourt thin coach Buzz’s team.

That being rightfully said; unlike the last handful of Hokie hoops games, this is not that unfavorable of a match-up –at least when played via pencil on O&M sporting stationary. Nevertheless,  let us take a look-see at our handy dandy stat-lines before we put this horse any further out in front of the cart…

  • Beyond FT shooting (+14% to ND), there is not a lot of offensive separation on the year. VT is o.4% better on 3’s and 2% better overall with ND ahead by +1.5 rpg. ND is 3.2% better on defense overall and yet VT is 1.9% better in defense of the three. Or basically a canceling effects beyond 15′ set-shots with 10 sec’s to shoot.
  • The Home/Away splits however favor VT; noticeably. VT is 9.9% better at shooting overall and 9.5% better shooting from range. 3-point shooting in particular jumps to nearly a 15% swing in VT’s favor when taken as a O&D differential composite; i.e. ND does not defend the 3 well in your house.
  • The most recent 5-game splits however paint a different picture. ND is basically 3% ahead on the FG% O&D amalgam, and almost +5 boards up in rebounding margin. Meaning: the Irish has played the better ball this month.


All of which conspires to push this game right onto the O&M sporting fence. Either Notre Dame basketball is playing a bit better of late, or Virginia Tech basketball is gonna play a bit better at home. Me? Well I and Dorothy agree: “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…

That, and I’m hoping the Irish have some tired legs after having just run @Miami on Thursday night. Whereby three Domer starters just logged 36+ minutes of action and now must attempt to storm our Cassell on about a ~40 hour turn.

At Notre Dame and I’d prolly pick the Irish; at home and I’ma gonna pick Buzz and Co. to finally put down a testy and highly skillful Notre Dame, late.

(61% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=77, Notre Dame=7o




V.A.D.A. approved


1 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Great preview as always, Bourbonstreet. I can’t wait. This is a big one! I think Tech can take advantage of being at home and being the fresher team.

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