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Notre Dame Basketball

Game Thread | Rutgers vs. Notre Dame

March 16, 2022
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First Four | Rutgers (18-10) vs. Notre Dame (22-10)


Date: March 16

Time: 9:10 (ish) PM ET 

Where: UD Arena | Dayton, Ohio

TV: TRUtv | Tom McCarthy, Steve Lavin, Avery Johnson and Jon Rothstein

Line: Notre Dame -1.0

O/U: 133.5


Quick Facts 

- Notre Dame leads the all-time series 20-13

- Mike Brey is 3-0 against Steve Pikiell

- This will be Notre Dame’s 37th appearance in the NCAA Tourney and Brey’s 13th. 

- Freshman Blake Wesley is the first rookie in the country this season to reach 450 points, 100 rebounds, 75 assists, 50 3FGM, and 30 steals.

- The Irish are 14-1 when hitting 10+ three-pointers in a game. 


PROJECTED STARTERS

Notre Dame

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Prentiss Hubb 9.1 3.1 4.0
Blake Wesley 14.6 3.6 2.5
Dane Goodwin 13.9 4.8 1.3
Nate Laszewski 9.2 6.6 0.7
Paul Atkinson Jr. 12.3 7.0 1.7

Rutgers

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Paul Mulcahy 9.0 4.1 5.3
Caleb McConnell 6.6 5.2 2.1
Geo Baker 12.4 2.0 3.8
Ron Harper Jr. 15.6 5.9 1.8
Clifford Omoruyi 11.8 7.9 0.3

 

Preview

Category Rutgers Notre Dame
Points  68.1 72.5
Opponent Points 65.8 66.8
FG% 44.3% 46.2%
Rebounds  32.5 32.8
Assists  15.0 14.5
Blocks 3.9 2.1
Steals 7.2 5.3

It’s been a long road to get back, but the Irish are back NCAA Tournament and Notre Dame’s senior class wants to make a run over enjoying the Big Dance for the first time. 

“(We) came in here at Notre Dame with intentions of making it every year but obviously we haven't been there yet,” stated senior Dane Goodwin. “And very much looking forward to this. Been waiting, working a lot. This group's been through a lot. It's cool to see it finally coming together at the end. And hopefully, we can make a deep run here.” 

While Notre Dame would have loved not to be in the First Four, Paul Atkinson Jr. isn’t disappointed and ready to tip things off on Wednesday night. 

“It's another game we have to go out and win,” said Atkinson. “We didn't care how we got here we wanted to get here any way possible. It is what it is. We want to go out and battle. It's going to be tough, an extra game, but we're here, and we're ready and excited.” 

And yes, Notre Dame is very aware of UCLA’s run to the Final Four after starting in Dayton a year ago. 

“Coach came up with a couple examples, one being last year with UCLA and teams like Syracuse and VCU over the last 10 years or so, really taking full advantage of the First Four and being able to win a game get momentum going and eventually carry that throughout the tournament,” explained Goodwin. “So I think we're looking to do the same.”

If the Fighting Irish want to advance, Notre Dame will have to find a way to slow down Ron Harper Jr., who was recently named an AP Honorable Mention All-American. 

“He's a great story,” said Mike Brey. “I remember him a little bit on the circuit and was typical of what Steve has done and we've kind of done it a similar way. Maybe guys that aren't recruited at a super high level, you get them in your program and get him better.

“And his nucleus is that. And Ron is the epitome of that. I think he got himself in great shape. He's gotten himself in great shape. But there's a feel for the game, good size. And he's earned all of it. He had to come and grind to get there.”

On the offensive end, Notre Dame freshman Blake Wesley has taken the ACC by storm, but you’d never know it from Selection Sunday. There was little emotion from the South Bend native and that might be a telling sign as he isn't satisfied with just making the NCAA Tournament as he looks to rebound from Thursday's loss to Virginia Tech 

“He's the hardest on himself,” said Brey. “So I want him to bounce back and smile and not feel like he has the weight of the world. He doesn't feel he has to carry us. Those seniors have really helped him.”

Today is also Wesley’s 19th birthday and for someone who loves the bright lights, the freshman will have the stage to put on a show. 

Rutgers Last 5 Notre Dame Last 5
Iowa (84-74) L Virginia Tech (87-80) L
Penn State. (59-58) W Pitt (78-54) W
at Indiana (66-63) W  at Florida State (74-70) L
Wisconsin (66-61) L  Georgia Tech (90-56) W
at Mich (71-62) L Syracuse (79-69) W
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Game Thread | Rutgers vs. Notre Dame

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