Notre Dame Basketball

Hoops Preview: (12) Princeton vs (5) Notre Dame

March 16, 2017
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(12) Princeton (23-6) vs (5) Notre Dame (25-9)


Date: March 16
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
Time: 12:15 p.m. ET
TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, and Allie LaForce

Quick Facts

- Notre Dame has won six NCAA Tournament games over the past two seasons.
- Thursday will mark Notre Dame’s 36th appearance in the Big Dance.
- The Irish hold a 38-38 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament.
- Senior VJ Beachem averaged 17.5 points per game in last year’s tournament.
- Notre Dame has played in Buffalo 18 times. The last trip was in Mike Brey’s first season as head coach.

The Starters

Notre Dame
Matt Farrell: 14.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, and 5.5 apg
Rex Pflueger: 4.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, and 1.6 apg
Steve Vasturia: 13.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, and 3.4 apg
VJ Beachem: 15.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, and 0.8 apg
Bonzie Colson: 17.5 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and 1.6 apg

Princeton
Devin Cannady: 13.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, and 1.9 apg
Myles Stephens: 12.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 1.1 apg
Spencer Weisz: 10.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, and 4.2 apg
Steven Cook: 13.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, and 1.8 apg
Pete Miller: 2.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, and 1.2 apg

How They Matchup

(National Rank)
Scoring Offense: Princeton: 72.1 ppg (198) – Notre Dame: 78.0 ppg (67)
Scoring Defense: Princeton: 61.5 ppg (10) – Notre Dame: 69.2 ppg (99)
Rebound Margin: Princeton: 0.0 (200) – Notre Dame: -1.9 (257)
Field-Goal Percentage: Princeton: 45.2% (127) – Notre Dame: 46.1% (84)
Three-Point Percentage: Princeton: 38.3% (44) – Notre Dame: 38.6% (37)
Three-Pointers Made: Princeton: 10.0 (10) – Notre Dame: 9.4 (26)
Free-Throw Percentage: Princeton: 73.4% (72) – Notre Dame: 79.9% (1)

The Big Dance is finally here, and Notre Dame will open the first round with a team it should know well. The Irish didn’t play Princeton this season, but the two teams are very similar to each there when it comes down to schematics.

The Tigers are going to space the floor and take three-pointers as they come. Much like Notre Dame, Princeton shoots the three-ball with the best in the country, so a hot start could make things interesting.

Princeton has a short bench, as only eight players played in the Ivy League Championship game and one played just two minutes. It’s not often Notre Dame has an advantage with depth, so if the Irish can get off to a good start, Brey will likely look to get the Big Four rest when he can.

Notre Dame is the superior team athletically, but it will be interesting to see how the Irish attack the Princeton defense. KenPom ranks the Tigers 48th in defensive efficiency on the season, but is that partly due to the softer schedule? We will see, but all it takes is one good defensive day and you advance.

The Irish should be able to get things going down low early with Bonzie Colson. The junior forward has yet to be stopped this year, and if Colson can get going early, then it will open up the perimeter game for his teammates.

Keep your eye on VJ Beachem and Steve Vasturia in this game too. The two seniors are experienced, and it will be interesting to see how aggressive on the offensive end they are. Beachem had a big tournament last season, and neither player wants to see their collegiate career end the first weekend of the tournament.

Prediction
Notre Dame 76
Princeton 67
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Hoops Preview: (12) Princeton vs (5) Notre Dame

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