Virginia Tech Notre Dame ACC Tourney preview

#72 R.P.I. Notre Dame vs. #51 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech basketball returns to the court for the 2nd round Atlantic Coast Conference game at 7pm Wednesday evening to play BIG name Notre

The Irish are a pretty decent squad, checking in at a slightly surprising 18 up and now 13 down on a year that was forecast to be pretty good; although probably just short of, great. Though do note that big bad Nnn.Dee has only tallied 3 wins since we beat those rascally Domers (80-75) last. As most of my preseason wraps had 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— as the Irish did ultimately slot 10th best this Atlantic Coast regular season campaign. 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 2018 truncated Irish. That being said, this game is a neutral site contest which is really code for an Away game for both teams and we have the advantage in R&R and likely in R&D to boot —as who picked us to play Pitt? Yah; me neither; although you wanna know who will win? Read on, to find, out!

Notre Dame Head Coach: Michael Paul Brey: Age=57, 499–251 (.665) overall, 400–199 (.668) at Notre Dame.

Baller 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). Brey was a standout guard in his collegiate playing days, competing for three seasons at Northwestern Louisiana State (now Northwestern State) from 1977-80. He led the team in assists and steals all three years and still ranks among the top 10 in career assists at Northwestern State. He played his final collegiate season at George Washington in 1980-81 after sitting out the 1979-80 season as a transfer. He averaged 5.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for the Colonials, serving as team captain and eventually earning the team’s Most Valuable Player Award.

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 enjoyed a post-season in all less three months of March. Coach Brey teams attend with an overall skillful, offensive and a shooters marksmanship rep’.

Brey serves on the Coaches vs. Cancer National Council and has helped raise over two million dollars for the organization; felicitations on that.

Born March 22, 1959, Brey is a 1982 graduate of George Washington with a degree in physical education. Brey has two children – Kyle and Callie – and a granddaughter, Olivia Marie. Kyle was a Te/Fb for the University of Buffalo from 2006-09. Brey’s late mum (Betty) only held the world record in the butterfly events and competed for the United States at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. God Bless.

Notre Dame at a glance:

  • 1st fewest fouls whistled against per game (13 pfs/g)!
  • 19th in Assist:Turnover ratio (+1.42 a:t)
  • 46th in FT percentage (75.4%).
  • 65th in 3-point shooting (37.5%).
  • 72nd in scoring D (68.3 ppg allowed).
  • 102nd in FG percentage D (42.8% allowed).
  • (only 4 rankings worse than 156th | i.e. a pretty quality team overall)

Domer Returning Starters=3

Notre Dame Strengths:

  • 1st-string all-A.C.C., the A.C.C. pre-season Player of the Year, and the A.C.C.’s top rebounder… all according to Lindy’s magazine… who is currently (still) leading the way in scoring… is one # 35, Bonzie Alexander Colson II. Bonzie -great name by the way- is said to be the: “best four-man in the nation”; i.e. best and doing four elite things simultaneously well: (rebounding, scoring inside and out and defense). As Bonzie is a thickly 6’5”, 226 lb. final year baller with a krazy looking 7′ wingspan who sets the Irish output pace at a sharp looking 20.9 ppg with an outstanding 10.6 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) 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). 52% from the floor is slick, and he has just enough range (30%) from downtown that you have to at least honor his outside shot. Down -11% (to 79%) from the charity stripe on a mid-season team leading 82 FTA’s -from a guy who had missed 6 straight games already- is straight money and Colson also primes the Irish in blocks at 2.3 swats per game and with 1.8 swipes per contest. Now mix in some newfangled outburst scoring nights and a penchant for steeping up on the big stage; and an overseas resume that already speaks: Deutschland and I-tie; with one gold medal. And it really is tough to find a kid playing bigger and doing more, with; less than Bonzie Colson. (UPDATE: out up to 8 weeks; broken left-foot in practice; St.Servatius bless! Tho’ make no mistake Bonzie is still a pro’ be that domestic or exported) (UPDATE: the talented and loquacious Colson is back; though gone are his forays to the rack (only 4 FTA’s in three games) and he is technically down 1/10th or 1% everywhere I looked; still yet; he is baling so I’ll call this Irishman Swiss or , here)
    Does play with some… funk.
  • Fringe overseas pro’ Matt Farrell is a 6′1″, 175 lb. senior year Pt.Guard with 16.8 ppg 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 41% 3-point shooting that flirts with N.b.a. ~24′ range. Farrell is also a serrated defender and distributor of whom 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 5.3 apg and is said to be a very heady Pt.G. who runs the O well and turns the ball over on the seldom. Matt won two (New) Jersey state titles in high school; he nets 8o% of his FTA’s, with 1.2 spg and being on the all-AC.C. Academic Honor Roll never sucked. As Matt looks stronger in the shoulders/neck and upper-arms -and quite a bit stronger- than his listed metric of 175 lbs. upon breaking tape. (UPDATE: out 2 games with deep ankle bone bruise —may St.Servatius (Patron Saint of fees) bless sum mo’! SECOND UPDATE: some whispers say he is done for the duration. Yikes and God Bless again!) Shout-out to Bo, his brother on active duty over in Afghanistan; and thanks Bo!!! (UPDATE: just down a smidgen, though not enough for more than a neutral or call-sign)
  • 6′3″, 188 lb., sophomoric, Temple “T.J.” Gibbs is now the Notre Dame de facto leading scorer via default. As Gibbs’ 15.6 ppg is the most potency that coach Brey has left at his offensive disposal. In addition to placing on the all-A.C.C. Academic Team; TeeJay is known for his attacking high-voltage style of play. Gibbs is a former back-up who broke into the starting line-up just this season; and now he’s gonna have to shine if not star; albeit perhaps a season premature. The book here says that T.J. is a very keen dealer who must become a complete player and work on his outside shot. As 41% from deep seems pretty stout enough to me although 42% overall does need some brushing up. 2.8 rpg, 3 apg and a swipe is not bad efforting from your back-up One; now forced to play Darwinian hoops and evolve into the remaining 2018 roundball Irish alpha Beagle. Gibbs was only beaten once his senior scholastic season in hoops; which he capped with the Kentucky 3-point contest championship. His father played (football) at Temple and one brother balls overseas at Indios SFM in the Dominican Republic and the other bro’ hoops it up in mother Russia for BC Nizhny Novgorod. So there are D.N.A. signs… though now is the leading man time. We shall see… (UPDATE: up a little on O, so a works here)
  • Now starting -and formerly substituting in when we last saw them- would be: Rex Pflueger and Martinas Geben were/are -depending upon how line-up shuffling goes- the two main minute loggers off the Irish pine. Rex is a 6′6″ 208 lb. Jr., Wing who is said to need to work on the range on his J, although he is also said to have good ball-skills from the 45° wing. Rex nets you 8.1 ppg though he is down to 32% from the outside (10% off from 2017), with 4.1 rpg and 3.1 dimes this year. Geben was not even listed in my Lindy’s preseason guide (last year); and that’s a sign of a lack of depth; a late addition, or a rarefied emerald in the Irish bluff. Geben is a versatile hard finishing big ole 6′10″, 252 lb. Sr. year imported Lithuanian (Vilnius, Lithuania/St. Maria Goretti) 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. This season he nets you a very solid looking 11.2 ppg on 8.2 caroms at 59% overall and 33% long —that’s not bad supporting work; if you can get it. (UPDATE: Rex is pretty well flat and Marty is slightly mixed, so even or seems fair enough here)

Notre Dame Weaknesses:

  • Health or lack thereof for starters; as 40% of the Irish starting line-up is done for this one. An insalubrious team this be with 37 ppg, 13 rpg and 6 apg all dressed out in civis. (Godspeed).
  • Plenty of experience/reps in the top-2 senior leaders —now, out. Though the book bemoaned ND.hoops youth behind them prior to their two foot woes. So this is now suddenly a pretty youngling looking basketball team by-the-bye.
  • Brey coached teams have not been known for being all-world rebounders; historically.
  • Super sub’, and nugget year 6′6″ 222 lb. G, D.J. Harvey is also out (left-knee bone bruise). So are his 6.2 ppg, 3 boards on a crispy 62% shooting overall. As D.J. is expected back right around St.Valentine’s Day; and he is said to strong off the dribble with a keen yesteryear mid-range J. Also N.Dame’s most prized recruit from a year ago; (God Bless again).

Irish Bench: (depth=1 or 2 at the moment; formerly; 4)

6′7″ 211 lb. r-freshmenic Nikola Djogo and 6′9″ 248 lb. sophomoric John Mooney were your only two Irish pine-squad members in A.c.c. round #1 on Tuesday afternoon.

Nikola Djogo is an Ontario Canada native of/by Yugoslavia Civil War escapee terms; who is said to be an instinctive Wing with a skillful shot. That seems to be misfiring this year on 2.8 ppg with 29% and 22% floor:three respectively. Now mix in 52% on his FTA’s and there may be fouls to given here in a hack-a-bench approach. Nik’ has a reputation for a lack of handles (turnovers) and for Volleyball as he could have chosen to net a different color/paneled ball in collegiate terms.

John is an oversized S/F who nets you 5.9 ppg with 3.8 rpg on a deft for his girth/size 51% from the field and 45% from long-distance. Although his 54% FT-shooting chips paint and scares rims everywhere. And from what I can see John runs very hot-n-cold. A handsome contributor off the bench or a disappearing act; take thy pick. The book on John says he is more of an interior baller who contributes Windex on the glass; so this shooting spry is a pleasant surprise indeed; and props on being on the A.c.c. all-Academic Honor Roll are John’s.

Upsetting the actual 2 point favorite Fighting Irish here is 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… last time out, I called for a singe shot win; and we absolutely got it… albeit the ‘rong way.

I say this to not only call myself out, I say this further to illustrate the mercurial to the point of being nearly indeterminate nature of his years high skill-craft {sic: Hokie shooting} and yet highly fickle, team. Up-down, Yin-Yang, birdie-bogey, yo-yo Smothers Brothers routine… here we go again… rinse, recycle, and repeat— as I say unto thee: “he who liveth by the 3-point sword shall perish by the same“.

Or as I’ve already told several people in the last 20 odd hours, Notre Dame is not unbeatable, and quite frankly neither is we/Virginia Tech. As do recall we beat Nee.Dee last tine sans Colson and Farrell who both just balled totally out -with 37 pts. & 8 rebs. combined on Tuesday afternoon; if you need ’em- as they held off a late charging Pitt Panther club. Albeit with 80% of the Irish starters logging 33 minutes or more and three of ’em conspired to play the entire game less ~360 seconds of ball!

On the flip side, Virginia Tech basketball is +3 on rests and that does not hurt one iota with reports filtering out of fatigue late in the Miami game from a very frontcourt thin coach Buzz team. Plus you must consider that the Irish are playing an N.b.a. ‘esque back-to-back on a 26 hour turn.

That being rightfully said; unlike the last handful of Hokie hoops games, this is not that unfavorable of a hardwood match-up –at least when played via no.2 old-school pencil on O&M sporting stationary. Nevertheless, let us take a look-see at our collective stat-lines vis-à-vis before I put this horse any further out in front of this Atlantic Coast Cart…


The skinny

  • Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide is predicting a narrow one-short or 2 point Irish win.
  • Seasonally V.Tech is +6% overall, +4% from deep and yet N.Dame is up +6 rpg on the glass.
  • The Neutral site splits say the Hokies are up +4% from the floor and a staggering +21% from long. With board-work effectively even. (ALTHOUGH: this is a statistically smaller or lowercase sample-size, mind you).
  • The most recent 5-game trends state that Virginia Tech is out shooting Notre Dame by ~4% overall and by +6% from range. Nevertheless, the Irish are up a hurtful looking +16 boards in rebounding margin over the very same penta time-frame.
  • The Irish A.c.c. Margin is +18 (points) ¦ whereas our A.c.c. Margin is still trading underwater at an isomer of 18 points.
Jim Belushi gone Church Lady!

The call

Notre Dame just shot 34% overall and 26% from 3-point land up in Brooklyn; and, still, won; on a mere seven man rotation no less.

How Virginia Tech’s shooters will take to the (mostly) unfamiliar Crooklyn gym remains to be seen?

Nevertheless, the Irish are 6-3 since getting a decent amount healthier to close the season. Or in other words, even on short rest; this is a better Fighting Irish team than the one we outfought on the road back In January.

At the moment; I’m tempted to take the more restive hoops team and leave it at that.

However, Occam’s razor -parsimonious as it may be- slices both ways and one of the simplest and therefore one of the elegent things I know about sport is: “you don’t hook with a hooker”.

That mixing of sporting metaphor complete | one other thing that stood out to me in the stat-line updates is that -unlike most wearing down teams this time of year- N.Dame must be pretty well conditioned; as virtually all of their ballers improved or retained themselves rather smartly when I boxed their given scores right on up. The other thing that stood out is that the Domer’s D or stop-unit acumen is looser; more user-friendly since we saw them last.

To put it another way… Bonzi and Farrell both employ fresher legs than they rightfully should at this time of the year due to time missed prior to Wednesday’s run. Additionally, major conference Tourney’s are an Association scout’s dream come true. One flight to see bucu power-conference ballers over several days go at each other at a virtual Draft Camp level of scrumming.

This tells me that Bonzi will likely be looking to lead a Banzai Charge and get dat work; and then get that Yen or take that Nikkei to the rack.

Accordingly, methinks we take Notre Dame’s best punch here; the only remaining interrogative is how high do our shooters pull-up for this one and do we have enough beard to take this potential Irish car-bomb right on the chin?

Ergo, with the recent Irish defensive slip and on short rest, I do lean Buzzketball here; although I do not lean Buzzketball by much.

As N.Dame is averaging 65 with Bonzi back and V.Tech is averaging 66 in their last four. Which posits a close shave here.

(confidence interval=55%)

Virginia Tech=66, Notre Dame=65




4 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Let’s Go…Hokies!!!
    Beat the Irish!!!

    Time for Buzz to turn the running offense loose as our new and improved Defense frustrates those not so in b-ball shape ND legs and pull away in 2nd half.

    Must win, tired legs, forcing shots. Blueprint for VicTory!!!
    Let’s Go…Hokies!!!

    1. I actually told someone that looking at VT at halftime may be worth while.
      (or a under on 2nd-half total)

      Aye… tired, legs.


  2. I have no idea how this game is going to go, but one thing I do know is one can not assume anything based on ND’s game yesterday. Michigan went to OT in their first B10 tourney game with a bad, bad Iowa team, and they ended up winning the whole thing.

    You could argue that Notre Dame is tired cause of one day’s rest, or you could argue that they are one day up on the Hokies in that they have the kinks worked out, are warmed up, and have the Barclay’s basket sight lines in clear focus, whereas the Hokies still have to get their Brooklyn legs on and in working order. This game will be on Buzz, Robinson, and Clarke to lead the young guys.

    1. Agree on sight lines.
      Yah; true; they might be more dialed in for it.
      No less to be sure…

      Though the longer this fight goes those lines won’t be getting any fresher.
      Nor will their legs.

      Might be worth trying to run run run N.Dame here accordingly.
      Force that tempo. See if they can 2nd-half keep up?


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