Virginia Tech Notre Dame basketball preview

 #80 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #54 R.P.I.  Notre Dame:

Virginia Tech men’s basketball returns to the court way over in South Bend Indiana at 8pm on ESPN2/ESPN3 for a rare westerly Atlantic Coast departure game; when we mostly sojourn North/South in A.c.c. play.

The Hokies are coming off just a helluva an epic win vs. always fun to beat North Carolina on Monday night on national TV. A very high chi or high energy game that saw O&M player and coach alike burn through a lotta calories in an all-in effort to maintain an N.C.A.A. admittance tether of sorts. Now the Hokies need to get back up as it will prolly take an all-in effort to upset 14 up and 4 down Notre Dame on their homecourt. Though who will win? Read on, to find… out.

Notre Dame Head Coach: Michael Paul Brey: Age=58, 493–242  (.669) overall, 394–190 (.674) 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 (13.2 pfs/g)!
  • 21st in Assist:Turnover ratio (+1.41 a:t)
  • 31st in scoring D (65.2 ppg allowed).
  • 34th in FT percentage (76%).
  • 46th in FG percentage D (40.8% allowed).
  • (only 2 rankings worse than 159th | i.e. a very quality team overall)

Fighting Irish Returning Starters=2

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 21.4 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) 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). 53% from the floor is slick, and he has just enough range (31%) from downtown that you have to at least honor his outside shot. Down -11% (to 80%) from the charity stripe on a team leading 78 FTA’s -from a guy who has missed 6 straight games already- is straight money and Colson also primes the Irish in blocks at 2.4 swats per game and with 2 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)

    Does play with some… funk.
  • Fringe overseas pro’ Matt Farrell is a 6′1″, 175 lb. senior 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 39% 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 83% of his FTA’s, 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!!!
  • 6′3″, 188 lb., sophomoric, Temple “T.J.” Gibbs is now the Notre Dame de facto leading scorer via default. As Gibbs’ 14.9 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 40% from deep seems pretty stout enough to me although 42% overall does need some brushing up. 3 rpg, 3.2 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…

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)

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 8.4 ppg though he is down to 33% from the outside (10% off from 2017), with 4.3 rpg and 2.9 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 10 ppg on 8.1 caroms at 62% overall and 33% long —that’s not bad relief work; if you can get it.

The key to this critical resume building A.c.c. road W @Notre Dame... is???

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Domers who could start @Tech=1 now; (3 before).

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… well, (hopefully) the annual Buzz Williams mid-season funk has funked off. Check it out…

  1. 2015: 1-10 .oo9 stretch midyear.
  2. 2016: 1-7 .147 stretch midyear.
  3. 2017: 4-6 .4oo stretch midyear.
  4. 2018: 5-5 .5oo stretch midyear.

Do you see a trend? Or should I type: “do you see a, slump”? As for whatever reason or reasons… Buzz Williams teams routinely hit a mid-season funk. And quite frankly –this seasons annual midyear schnide- was less funky than those of years past. My word of the day for that is: “amelioration” {sic: improvement}.

My question however for my 1 or 1a favorite -and surely the alpha most esoteric hoops coach of all-time- is… why???

Is this due to injury(s) and therefore having to parse out minutes/play-time accordingly? Is this due to lack of depth on relatively healthy teams that still yet leads to too little jam scraped across too much bread?

As all of my hoops sources told me pre-season that: “…this is the deepest Virginia Tech basketball team in a long long time.” So one could rightfully say that hints at the improvement part itself; nevertheless, why do we still annually midyear, slump?


the skinny...
Clearly one could be forgiven for saying that Virginia Tech is catching this limping Irish squad at just the right time. As the Bonzie and Farrell injuries are at least Bibbs and Hill gutting indeed –if not a bit more in point of fact.

Notre Dame is a .7oo team at home whereas Virginia Tech is .4oo on the road this year. Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide is predicting a 10 point Irish win; and the Irish are +2 on rest coming into this one.

Jim Belushi gone Church Lady!

Overall these two have a canceling effect vis-à-vis O vs. D. However, Notre Dame rebounds (+8 rpg) and defends (40.1% allowed) really well at home over in South Bend. And yet Virginia Tech is out shooting Notre Dame by ~15% from the floor and by ~6% from deep in the last five games! Nevertheless, the Irish are up a hurtful looking +15 boards in rebounding margin over the very same penta time-frame.

the call

…at full strength this is a relatively easy call for an Irish Car Bomb to go off at about 11pm on Saturday night when running visiting ball over in Indiana.

Nevertheless -and for all the ‘rong or injurious reason(s)- Virginia Tech basketball and coach Buzz won’t be getting a better look at winning in Notre Dame’s backyard than this. That aforementioned rebounding metric -and a generic moderate defensive superiority- do give the Irish a chance to muddy this one up and win a testy, ugly, scrappy game at home.

Though me? Well I’ma gonna go with the cleaner team here; or at least with the team with the cleaner bill of health. Thank you Coach God.

As Virginia Tech has tallied at least 80 points in five straight games whereas Notre Dame has had trouble busting 58 and is averaging 64 in change in the last fortnight of play.

(64% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=77, Notre Dame=68




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