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Notre Dame Basketball

WBB | Notre Dame Is Back on the Road Against Virginia Tech

January 16, 2019

Top-ranked Notre Dame takes to the road in the ACC Wednesday night to tangle with Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.  The Hokies were undefeated in non-conference play, but are off to a rough start in the ACC losing their first three conference games by narrow margins— by 7 at Miami, by 2 in overtime to #12 Syracuse, and by 4 at Virginia.  In the last game, Virginia Tech lost a 15 point lead at the end of three quarters, as the Cavaliers outscored them in the fourth quarter 28-9.

A major sub-text to this week’s game is the Mabrey vs. Mabrey match-up.  Dara Mabrey, the youngest sister of Marina and Michaela, is a 5’7” freshman guard at Virginia Tech.  She’s currently third on the team in scoring at 12.0 points per game.  She also leads the team in assists with an average of 2.8 per contest.  Like her older sisters, she shoots very well and has made just over 48% of her three-point attempts so far this season.  She averages 2.3 of the Hokies’ 9.5 made threes per game.

The Hokies make 38% of their three-point attempts — and their per game average of made threes is the highest the Irish have faced since Oregon State back in November.  While the Hokies rank 15th in the nation in made three-point shots per game, their overall points per game average — 74.3 — is just 57th.  

Virginia Tech’s leading scorer is 5’10” senior guard, Emery Taylor, who averages 18.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.  Taylor has been on a tear in the ACC — scoring 20, 27 and 26 points in the first three games for an average of 24.3 per game.  ND’s leading scorer, Arike Ogunbowale, is averaging 21.5 per game for the season, but just 15.7 in ACC play.  Ogunbowale followed up a sterling 30 point effort against Louisville last week with just four points Sunday against Wake Forest — her lowest scoring game since her freshman year.

Regan Magarity, a 6’3” senior forward from Sweden, is the Hokies’ second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game.  She also averages 13.2 rebounds and has blocked 29 shots.  She has made 13 threes — 38% of her attempts.

Trinity Baptiste, a 6’ junior, averages 10.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. She’s made 8 of 14 three-point attempts and shoots 88% from the free throw line.  Kendyl Brooks, a 5’10” junior guard, averages 5.6 points per game.  The Hokies have a thin bench, with Aisha Sheppard, a 5’9” senior guard, the primary player off the bench.  She averages 7.1 points per game.

This is a critical game for Virginia Tech to avoid slipping to 0-4 in the ACC.  The Hokies battled back from a 12 point deficit after the first quarter to force 12th ranked Syracuse into overtime before losing by two.  Emery scored 27 to lead the Hokies and Magarity added 18 points and 10 rebounds.  Dara Mabrey had an off shooting night — 1 for 10 overall and 1 for 7 from three.

Irish Notes:  Notre Dame solidified its hold in both polls with last week’s win vs. Louisville.  ND received 23 of 30 first-place votes in the AP poll and 26 of 32 in the coaches’ poll.  Baylor and UConn are tied for second in the AP poll and Louisville dropped from second to fourth.  UConn is ranked second in the coaches poll just ahead of Baylor and Louisville.

The Irish are currently third in the nation in scoring at 88.0 points per game behind Oregon and Mississippi State — both at 91.1 points per game.  ND is second in field goal percentage at 51.8% — 0.4% behind Oregon, sixth in assists per game at 19.9 and ninth in assist to turnover ratio at 1.36.  The Irish are fourth in free throw attempts and second in free throws made with 290 — just one behind Mississippi State.  ND outscores opponents from the free throw line by an average of 8.1 made free throws per game — its highest advantage in the last eight seasons.

Notre Dame is 5th in scoring margin at 25.2 points per game.  Mississippi State leads scoring margin with a 35.2 point advantage per contest, followed by Oregon, Baylor and UConn.  According to RealTime RPI, the Irish have played the nation’s toughest schedule.  MSU’s is ranked 36th, Oregon’s 14th, Baylor’s 7th, and UConn’s 21st.  

Seven of Notre Dame’s games to date have been played against teams that rank in the top 25 in scoring (over 78.7 points per game) including #4 Marquette and #7 DePaul.  UConn, Oregon State, Louisville, Drake and Iowa are in the top 20 (better than 80 points per game). Only two teams over the remainder of the regular season schedule — Syracuse and Tennessee are in the top 25 scoring teams in the NCAA.  The Orange are tied for 16th at 81.1 and the Vols are currently 24th in points per game at 79.3.

In spite of the challenging schedule, only two teams have scored above their season scoring average against the Irish — UConn scored just about 4 points above their season average at the time the game was played (their scoring is down to 81.5 now) and Lehigh scored 1.7 points above their season average.  Only one team, Lehigh, shot better against ND than their season average — and by just 0.1%.

Splitting the season roughly in two, ND’s first eight opponents averaged 40.8% from the field and 70 points per game with Oregon State having the best shooting night at 48.3% and UConn with the most points at 89.  

The last nine opponents are averaging 33.3% from the field and 56.4 points per game.  The highest shooting percentage was Lehigh at 40% and the most points were scored by Louisville and Lehigh with 68. Louisville was held to 15.9 points below their season average.  

ND’s first eight opponents averaged 7.4 points below their season scoring average.  The second nine have averaged 13.6 points below their average scores.  

The first eight games were against a tougher overall schedule — teams currently ranked 2, 10, 13, 22 and 24.  The second nine include the 4th and 14th ranked teams.  The five ranked teams in the first half of the season were held on average to 4.4 points below their season scoring average and 5.8% below their shooting percentage.  The two ranked teams in the last nine games scored an average of 18.9 points below their season scoring average and 11.8% under their shooting percentage.

Tip-off for the Virginia Tech game is scheduled for 7 pm (eastern).  The game will be streamed on the ACCN via the ESPN app.

In-game updates will be posted below.

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