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Notre Dame Basketball

Game Thread | Notre Dame vs. Alabama

March 18, 2022
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NCAA Tournament | Notre Dame (23-10) vs Alabama (19-13)


Date: March 18

Time: 4:10 PM ET 

Where: Viejas Arena | San Diego, Calif. 

TV: TNT | Lisa Byington, Steve Smith, Avery Johnson and Lauren Shehadi

Line: Alabama -4.0

O/U: 152.0


Quick Facts 

- Notre Dame leads the all-time series 3-2

- Friday will mark the first time Mike Brey and Nate Oats will face each other.

- Cormac Ryan is averaging 12.3 points per game since entering the starting lineup on Feb. 9th.

- Notre Dame is 14-1 in games they have made 10 or more three-pointers this season

- Blake Wesley is the only true freshman in the country with 450 points, 100 rebounds, 75 assists, 50 3FGM and 40 steals.


PROJECTED STARTERS

Notre Dame

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Prentiss Hubb 9.1 3.1 4.1
Blake Wesley 14.4 3.6 2.4
Dane Goodwin 13.9 4.7 1.3
Cormac Ryan 8.6 4.8 1.9
Paul Atkinson Jr. 12.8 6.9 1.6

Alabama

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Jahvon Quinerly 14.3 3.1 4.3
Jaden Shackelford 16.7 5.3 1.4
Keon Ellis 12.0 6.0 1.8
Noah Gurley 6.9 3.5 0.5
Charles Bediako 6.8 4.4 0.7

 

Preview

Category Notre Dame Alabama
Points  73.0 80.0
Opponent Points 67.5 76.4
FG% 46.2% 43.7%
Rebounds  32.8 36.4
Assists  14.5 14.5
Blocks 2.1 4.8
Steals 5.3 7.3

Notre Dame wanted back in the NCAA Tournament and now the Irish are in the thick of a wild 48-hour ride. Mike Brey’s squad held off Rutgers on Wednesday night in Dayton in double overtime and then arrived at the hotel in San Diego around 5:00 am (PT). 

Senior point guard Prentiss Hubb missed The Dance his first three year and he isn’t worried about travel or fatigue. 

“I don't think it's a disadvantage,” stated Hubb on Thursday. “I think it's a kickstart for us being able to have one game under our belt and just finding our way and just getting a feel of the court. Maybe it's not the same court but we just get a real good feel of the game.” 

Brey, who is known for calling timeouts strategically before media timeouts is also aware he can get his team timely rest during the flow of the game. 

“Thank God the timeouts in the NCAA Tournament are almost a minute longer than -- and the halftime is five minutes longer,” said Brey. “We feel our guys are in pretty good shape. Old guys know how to play long minutes. And our older guys know how to do that. And I've actually, this year at times, used timeouts to rest people, which is what they were invented for in the first place, way back in the day.”

In fact, there might be more energy than normal in the Irish program following the thrilling win over Rutgers.

“Just getting on the plane together, there was definitely a lot of adrenaline and excitement,” said Nate Laszewski. “But over the course of the flight everything calmed down. Once we got to the hotel in San Diego it was definitely a good feeling to calm down a little bit.”

Notre Dame will need to raise its game on Friday afternoon as Alabama’s high-flying offense can score and score quickly. It starts with Hubb, who is coming off one of his best games in a Notre Dame uniform as he recorded seven assists and zero turnovers in 44 minutes in Dayton. 

“I think it all happened because of our last game, the Virginia Tech game,” said Hubb. “I had five turnovers and I really just wanted to make like a point that I'm good with the ball and just didn't want to turn the ball over as much.”

The Fighting Irish defense will also need to raise its game as Alabama enters the game No. 9 in scoring offense at 80.0 ppg. 

“The speed and the tempo, and then the shot-making ability from the 3-point line,” Brey stated. “One of the areas we really improved on was our 3-point defensive percentage. We weren't very good there the last few years. And we really improved there. That's a challenge because they can make double-digit 3s easy.

“We've been better at making more 3s than you. And it's almost been a little bit of an analytic for us. Hold them to single-digit 3s, us get to double digits, don't foul -- Rutgers only shot four free throws last night in 50 minutes -- don't turn it over. It's kind of how we go. But it's a big challenge because they've got so many guys firing and they fire fast.

“Then the problem is they've got such athletic ability, if they miss, when that ball comes off the back rim, the 50/50 balls are a challenge to get because they have such quick reactive guys. When you play against them, defensively, the live-ball turnovers, they can create with the activity. We've got to be really, really good with the ball.” 

Alabama will hold the advantage in athleticism, but Brey is counting on his seniors to deliver under the bright lights as they did on Wednesday. 

“Those seniors have talked about getting here,” said Brey. “Now you've got to deliver. Can you deliver or is getting in enough? Nate Laszewski delivered and some. Prentiss delivered and then some. Even Dane after maybe not a great first half. And I was happy for those guys. Cormac.

“They talk about -- you talk about wanting to be here but can you deliver? And I think that was a big breakthrough for some young guys. I'm excited for them.”

Alabama Last 5 Notre Dame Last 5
Vanderbilt (82-76) L Rutgers (89-87/2OT) W
at LSU (80-77/OT) L  Virginia Tech (87-80) L
Texas A&M (87-71) L Pitt (78-54) W
South Carolina (90-71) W at Florida State (74-70) L
at Vanderbilt (74-72) W Georgia Tech (90-56) W
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Game Thread | Notre Dame vs. Alabama

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