Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Hoops Preview: #9 Louisville at #21 Notre Dame

January 4, 2017
1,296

#9 Louisville at #21 Notre Dame


Date: January 4
Where: Purcell Pavilion
Time: 9:00 p.m.
TV: ACC Network

Quick Facts

- Louisville leads the all-time series 14-20.
- Notre Dame has won the last five meetings between the two teams at Purcell Pavilion.
- The two teams have gone into overtime in nine of the 34 meetings.
- Notre Dame won 104-101 in five overtimes on Feb. 9, 2013.

The Starters

(Per Game Averages)
Notre Dame
Matt Farrell: 13.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg and 5.6 apg
Steve Vasturia: 14.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 3.3 apg
VJ Beachem: 14.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 1.4 apg
Bonzie Colson: 16.6 ppg, 10.5 rpg and 2.1 apg
Martina Geben: 4.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg and 1.0 apg

Louisville
Quentin Snider: 11.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 3.6 apg
Deng Adel: 10.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 2.1 apg
Donovan Mitchell: 12.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 2.1 apg
Jaylen Johnson: 9.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 0.4 apg
Mangok Mathiang: 5.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 0.8 apg

How They Matchup

(National Rank)
Scoring Offense: Louisville: 76.1 ppg (133) – Notre Dame: 83.2 ppg (28)
Scoring Defense: Louisville: 60.4 ppg (16) – Notre Dame: 66.2 (72)
Rebound Margin: Louisville: 6.4 (34) – Notre Dame: 2.7 (132)
Field-Goal Percentage: Louisville: 44.0% (193) – Notre Dame: 47.7% (50)
Three-Point Percentage: Louisville: 33.1% (256) – Notre Dame: 39.6% (33)
Three-Pointers Made: Louisville: 6.4 (259) – Notre Dame: 10.1 (12)
Free-Throw Percentage: Louisville: 69.5% (173) – Notre Dame: 84.1% (1)

Wednesday night is a massive game for Mike Brey’s squad, as Rick Pitino brings his Cardinals to town. For the Irish, it’s a chance to get to a very important 2-0 record in the ACC and beating Louisville is a great NCAA Tournament resumè builder. In a conference where 10 wins will get you into the NCAA Tournament, a 2-0 start is just massive.

For the Cardinals, they currently sit 0-1 in the league and an 0-2 starts will make things tougher on the Cardinals down the stretch. Getting to 1-1 in ACC play is huge, but so is a road win over a Top 25 program.

Heading into the season, it wasn’t a secret that the longer, taller and more athletic teams were going to give Notre Dame trouble. Purdue was a bigger team, but not to the level of Louisville. Bonzie Colson is going to have to find a way to make his way to the glass and have a big game. Martinas Geben has been productive this year, probably more than anyone thought, but can he raise his game to another level against a Top 10 team? It’d help the Irish immensely if Geben can pull down some big rebounds on Wednesday evening.

Scoring wise, Notre Dame should be fine. They aren’t a program that’s struggling to score the basketball, despite the ups and downs of VJ Beachem. Now, if Beachem came out and scored 20, I am sure Mike Brey and his teammates would love it. Beachem needs to attack early and get into a rhythm and simply be more aggressive hunting for his own shots.

In terms of the bench, Notre Dame will need to get some type of offensive production in this game. It’s a game where hustle helps, but to beat Louisville, you need production on the stat sheet as well. Will Brey be able to get away with his smaller lineup when he brings Rex Pflueger in for Geben? Or will he have to roll out an Elijah Burns or John Mooney to match the size of the Cardinals?

All in all, it should be a competitive game, as the game is at Purcell Pavilion, but this is the game where Notre Dame’s seniors have to rise to the occasion and getting something from Beachem is step one.
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