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  1. #1

    MBB: Duke v Notre Dame (Sat 2/15 4:00 pm ESPN) Pre-Game and In-Game Thread

    Duke's North Carolina residency continues on Saturday as the Blue Devils welcome former assistant coach (one of us!) Mike Brey and the Fightin' Irish of Notre Dame. ND is having a somewhat disappointing season given how well they have played of late. The team is 6-6 in conference and has very narrow losses to BC (73-72), NC State (73-68), Louisville (67-64), Syracuse (84-82), and Florida State (85-84). They are currently riding a 4-game winning streak over Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Pitt, and Clemson. The largest margin of victory in that stretch was a 10-point cushion against Wake, a game in which ND was less than stellar on the defensive end. So the Irish can play with anyone but are having trouble closing the deal.

    This squad is a mix of seniors and sophomores. Of the 7 players that get regular minutes, all of them are either seniors or sophomores. And the 8th man, 6'7" F Nikola Djogo, is a senior, too. He only gets about 8-10 minutes a game. Let's start instead with SR F John Mooney. The 6'9" Floridian is doing it all for ND yet again this year. He leads the conference in rebounding and chips in a team-leading 16.5 points per game. Scoring comes from all over the court as Mooney can and will make a jump shot out from as far as the 3-point line (32.4% this season) and in. Mooney pairs with fellow SR C Juwan Durham (6'11") in the frontcourt. The slender UConn transfer is a bit of a specialist as a rim protector. He does chip in a few points and rebounds in his 18 minutes a game but is mostly there to block shots. Reserve SO F/C Nate Laszewski (6'10") is the heir apparent to Mooney and will stretch the court when he is in the game as well.

    In the backcourt, ND employs SR G TJ Gibbs (6'3"), SO PG Prentiss Hubb (6'3"), and RS-SR Rex Pflueger (6'6") in the starting lineup. Pflueger missed most of his original SR season to a nasty injury and has been working his way back to health this year. He's primarily a jump shooter on offense but pretty nifty on defense where he leads the team in steals per game. Gibbs is the real shooter on the team, where he leads ND in 3-point shooting at 41.9% and at the free throw line at nearly 90%. He's a steady guard and plays well but is not an elite athlete or finisher. The point guard, Hubb, is also a pretty good shooter (34.6%) and has taken the most attempts from behind the arc. Hubb has been steady if not outstanding this year. SO G/F Dane Goodwin (6'6" sees the court more than some of the starters and will play a stretch-4 position. He's a deadly shooter (38.8% from 3) and can stretch the defense.

    ND is a somewhat slow-paced jump-shooting team. They excel at playing a deliberate half-court offense with plenty of back cuts and the extra passes to find open shooters. Nearly half of their shot attempts come from behind the arc, so forcing them off the line without giving the backdoor cut will be key in this one. ND almost never turns the ball over, ranking second in the nation in TO% on offense. On the flip side, they also rarely force TOs on defense. Their defense is so-so at best. One of the key attributes to their success on D is forcing bad shots and relying on Durham, when he's in, to make opponents miss at the rim. While Mooney is an excellent rebounder as an individual, ND is not a good rebounding team overall. Their style of play is about discipline and staying in the half court. They lead the nation in FTR on defense, sending teams to the line on less than 20% of possessions.

    Duke should have advantages by limited ND's frequently and often accurate 3-point shooting. Duke also has better athletes across the board and superior rebounders aside from John Mooney. Mooney struggled against the superior athletic team Duke took to South Bend last season, hitting just 4 of 15 field goal attempts and allowed Zion Williamson to put up one of his best performances: 26 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, and a steal against no TO's while shooting 10-12 from the field. I expect that Mooney will struggle to keep Vernon Carey, Jr. in check as well. Mooney is big but not particularly quick on defense. Durham has the length to stop him but not the size and doesn't play much and is a bit foul prone. On the wings, Duke has clear advantages and depth on their side. Turning the game into a track meet would go a long way to securing the victory.

    In the end, a tight game predicated on execution in the half court is probably the most likely outcome. ND plays a disciplined style of basketball and rarely turns the ball over. Duke needs to play with poise here. If they are able to force difficult shots and turn a few long rebounds into runouts, they could build a good lead.

  2. #2
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    ND is playing well right now, and I am sure the crowd will be fired up in South Bend. They are fighting for a spot in the tourney and that always makes for a dangerous opponent.

    No rest for the weary.
    "We're only tourists in this life
    Only tourists but the view is nice"

    -- David Byrne

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    ...I am sure the crowd will be fired up in South Bend. They are fighting for a spot in the tourney and that always makes for a dangerous opponent.

    No rest for the weary.
    ...good thing they'll be like 700 miles away from the game.

  4. #4
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    Winston Salem, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    ND is playing well right now, and I am sure the crowd will be fired up in South Bend. They are fighting for a spot in the tourney and that always makes for a dangerous opponent.

    No rest for the weary.
    The game is in Cameron. GoDuke!

  5. #5
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    Atlanta 'burbs
    If we can hold 7th year senior Bonzi Colson (even though he is overseas) under 30 points😡, and can keep 25 year old Mooney from matching his age in rebounds, we have a chance to extend our winning streak to 7.
       

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruBlu View Post
    If we can hold 7th year senior Bonzi Colson (even though he is overseas) under 30 points😡, and can keep 25 year old Mooney from matching his age in rebounds, we have a chance to extend our winning streak to 7.
    ND and Bonzi received a 1 game waiver and he will be in the starting line-up against us Saturday, all set to glower, preen and strut after committing multiple uncalled fouls.
    [redacted] them and the horses they rode in on.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by TruBlu View Post
    If we can hold 7th year senior Bonzi Colson (even though he is overseas) under 30 points😡, and can keep 25 year old Mooney from matching his age in rebounds, we have a chance to extend our winning streak to 7.
    This post is the best non-UNC related post of the week. Sprkz!
       

  8. #8
    Thanks for getting this thread started with an the excellent scouting report.

    What a contrast to the FSU game, where FSU's depth and athleticism (and the short turnaround) had us all worried about toughness, heart, and physicality. Now comes a veteran Notre Dame team that is deliberate and skilled, but less physically imposing, and the keys to the game will be whether Duke can be poised, steady, and sharp.

    We passed the first test, hope we can pass the second. And it's always a good sign if a team can win a game in multiple ways.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilson View Post
    ...good thing they'll be like 700 miles away from the game.
    Quote Originally Posted by jv001 View Post
    The game is in Cameron. GoDuke!
    Well . . . still.

    {OPK closes account, slinks away . . . .}
    "We're only tourists in this life
    Only tourists but the view is nice"

    -- David Byrne

  10. #10
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    Carolina Beach
    Stay right here OPK...😄😄😄😄
       

  11. #11
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    NC
    Notre Dame is very well-coached, that's for sure. Mike Brey gets more out of less reasonably consistently (which is good, because he doesn't tend to land top recruits anymore).

    Offensively, they don't play as slow as they have in previous years, but they still play a reasonably slow pace. They also don't do very many things well offensively, yet manage a pretty good offense in spite of that. Basically, they are extremely good at avoiding turnovers and extremely good at assisting made baskets (top-5 in the nation in both, for what has to be one of the top assist-to-turnover ratios in college bball). They don't rebound offensively, and they don't draw fouls. They have a quartet of guards who can handle the ball, but they generally work it around looking for 3s (45% of their shots are 3s).

    Defensively, they mix up man-to-man and zone defense. The result is a team that rebounds very poorly, doesn't force turnovers, but doesn't foul at all. They allow a lot of 3s and a reasonable percentage on those 3s, but are reasonably tough on 2pt shots (in part due to the zone). Pflueger, Gibbs, and Hubb are all quite capable defenders in both man and zone.

    Mooney is a a blue-collar guy. He's pretty unathletic, but he's smart and tough and works his butt off. The result is a terrific defensive rebounder and quite capable spot shooter from all over the court, and a crafty post scorer. He will need help to guard Carey, but he'll make us pay if we lose track of him. The Irish will also set up some down screens to allow him to get looks from 3, so whomever has that assignment needs to be ready.

    Juwan Durham is the lone shotblocking presence on the Irish. He's super skinny with long arms, and a real threat to block from a help position. He's also developing a sneaky post-up game offensively. He is the only even slightly foul-prone guy among the regulars.

    The three starters on the perimeter are all very solid ballhandlers and decisionmakers, which helps them against pressure. Pflueger is a rugged defender and really smart player who came in with a rep as a shooter/scorer, but whose shooting touch has come and gone throughout his career. He mostly defers to Hubb and Gibbs, but is not shy about shooting when necessary. He's a fiery competitor, and the bulldog of the team.

    Hubb is the primary PG, although he and Gibbs share the duties. Hubb is a lefty, and just a really crafty PG. He is more quick than explosive, and really likes to use ball screens to facilitate. Hubb can shoot it too, but when he attacks off the dribble it is primarily to pass.

    Gibbs is sort of a right handed, older, stronger version of Hubb, but he's a terrific shooter. Gibbs is also a bit more willing to shoot off the dribble, but again that's not a major part of Notre Dame's diet. He will take and make 3s at a high rate. He's strong, experienced, and more athletic than Hubb, but his primary value is his shooting touch.

    The Irish don't play much of a bench. It's basically guys: Laszewski and Goodwin. Goodwin is the fourth guard/wing, Laszewski is the third big. Laszewski is basically a poor man's Mooney. Decent shooter, not much athleticism. Goodwin can really shoot, and like the other wings is a strong ballhandler. He's sort of similar Gibbs both in performance and style of play.

    It seems like a good matchup for Jones and Goldwire in that the Irish don't have uber-athletic guards or dynamic bigs. The key will be not selling out for steals though and creating open shooters if they miss on the steal. But those two could really cause headaches for their perimeter guys if they stay disciplined.

    It's also a potentially good matchup for Hurt, as they don't have the athletes to punish him off the dribble. So hopefully Hurt can build off his terrific game against FSU. And if he can stay out of foul trouble, there is a really good opportunity for Carey inside.

    The key will be limiting Notre Dame's open looks from 3. If Mooney and Pflueger get going, it can be a tough game because Gibbs/Goodwin are so dangerous. Hopefully we stay disciplined and get good looks on our end, and take advantage of their poor rebounding team. I do like having Moore at the PF spot in this game as well.

    Basically, there is no individual matchup that is overly concerning. The big key will be communication on screens and not losing track of shooters. They stay in games by not making mistakes and by hitting 3s. Their best results are close losses to Louisville and at FSU, along with a close win at Syracuse. It's a team that punches above its weight class thanks to great discipline, smarts, toughness, and taking a lot of 3s. So you can't assume a game is over, even if you get a comfy lead. Hopefully we can match their discipline and get the W.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    Mooney is a a blue-collar guy. He's pretty unathletic, but he's smart and tough and works his butt off. The result is a terrific defensive rebounder and quite capable spot shooter from all over the court, and a crafty post scorer. He will need help to guard Carey, but he'll make us pay if we lose track of him. The Irish will also set up some down screens to allow him to get looks from 3, so whomever has that assignment needs to be ready.
    Mooney is one of those guys that comes around every so often (once in a blue moon?) that I just can't help but really appreciate. It's hard for me to cheer against him (individually).

    Hopefully he shows VCII a few wrinkles he can work on and Duke comes away with a big win.
    Hard at work making beautiful things.

  13. #13
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    Winston Salem, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    Well . . . still.

    {OPK closes account, slinks away . . . .}
    I did the same thing for the Pitt game. Getting old...

    GoDuke!

  14. #14
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    So . . . what the hell am I supposed to do in South Bend this weekend then?
    "We're only tourists in this life
    Only tourists but the view is nice"

    -- David Byrne

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Orlando, FL
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    So . . . what the hell am I supposed to do in South Bend this weekend then?
    Tattoo of Touchdown Jesus?
    Coach K on Kyle Singler - "What position does he play? ... He plays winner."

    "Duke is never the underdog" - Quinn Cook

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Durham
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    So . . . what the hell am I supposed to do in South Bend this weekend then?
    beer thread is ---> that way
    Dear kindly Sergeant Swofford
    You gotta understand
    It's just a class was offered
    every student in the land!
    Our students all are flunkies
    Our teachers all are chumps
    Golly Moses, a total garbage dump!

    Gee, Officer Swofford
    We're down on our knees
    'Cause we don't want to take down such a banner as these
    Gee, Officer Swofford
    What are we to do?
    Gee, Officer Swofford
    Swoff you!

  17. #17
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    Raleigh
    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    beer thread is ---> that way
    Expect admonishment in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

    [redacted] them and the horses they rode in on.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    beer thread is ---> that way
    Quote Originally Posted by devildeac View Post
    Expect admonishment in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

    I just don't have a lot to say on the topic. Most beers are pretty good, some are great, some kinda suck. Sort of like Grateful Dead shows in the 1980's.
    "We're only tourists in this life
    Only tourists but the view is nice"

    -- David Byrne

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    I just don't have a lot to say on the topic. Most beers are pretty good, some are great, some kinda suck. Sort of like Grateful Dead shows in the 1980's.

  20. #20
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    Feb 2007
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    Raleigh
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    I just don't have a lot to say on the topic. Most beers are pretty good, some are great, some kinda suck. Sort of like Grateful Dead shows in the 1980's.
    Wait, I thought you gave up beers.

    I know you didn't give up Duke MBB, however, even if you can only watch about 1/2 the games.
    [redacted] them and the horses they rode in on.

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