Sunday, November 29, 2015

Game Preview: Notre Dame

The Alabama men's basketball team will seek their second straight win over a ranked opponent on Sunday when they face off against Notre Dame at 6 PM CT. The official site does not offer TV information, but it looks like the game will be on ESPNU. If you don't have ESPNU, you can watch using the Watch ESPN app. The Irish were upset on day one of the Advocare Invitational by Monmouth, but bounced back with a nice win over Iowa on Friday. For Alabama, their win over Wichita State was the program's first win over a ranked opponent in 22 attempts. The team should enter this game with confidence following that hard-fought win.

Stats Comparison

Notre Dame

67.8 PPG 78.4
72.2 OPP 64.6
.415 FG% .467
.395 OPP .397
.309 3PT% .366
.367 OPP .408
.664 FT% .699
.669 OPP .716
33.0 RPG 41.0
43.4 OPP 32.4
14.6 TOPG 9.4
15.4 OPP 10.4

This will be yet another challenge for this Alabama basketball team. Notre Dame is one of the most efficient offenses in the country, currently ranked in Ken Pomeroy's top 5 for adjusted offensive efficiency rankings. Demetrius Jackson (18.8 ppg, 4.2 apg, 3.8 rpg) is and will continue to be one of the top guards in the country. But this Irish team, while not very deep, has a very good rotation of 5-6 guys, including Zach Auguste (13.4 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.2 spg and 1.0 bpg), V.J. Beachem (12.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, .429 3PT%) and Steve Vasturia (11.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.0 apg).

Dazon and Justin (and maybe Retin) will have their hands full in trying to contain Demetrius Jackson; the guy is a workhorse. And Zach Auguste is going to be a match-up nightmare for Alabama's post guys. That said, I believe Alabama will have a chance to compete in this game. Notre Dame is efficient on offense (and not shabby on defense, currently top 75 in adjusted defensive rankings), but, as I mentioned, they are not very deep; only seven players average double figure minutes. If Alabama can force some early foul trouble for the Irish, limit Jackson and Auguste, I think they have a chance. I do think they need to muddy it up a little, though. Notre Dame is too efficient on offense (and Alabama isn't) for Alabama to play this one clean. Make it ugly, keep it close, and keep the pressure on the favored team to play mistake-free basketball down the stretch.

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