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Notre Dame Basketball

Game Preview | No. 20 Virginia Tech at Notre Dame

February 23, 2019
2,532

No. 20 Virginia Tech (20-6, 9-5) at Notre Dame (13-13, 3-10)


Date: February 23rd

Time: 4:00 p.m. ET

Where: Purcell Pavilion | Notre Dame, Ind.

TV:  ESPN | Tom Hart and Jimmy Dykes

ACC Standings


QUICK FACTS

- Notre Dame and Virginia Tech will meet for the 12th time on Saturday. The Irish lead the all-time series 8-3.

- Mike Brey is 9-4 all-time against Buzz Williams. 

- Forward John Mooney lead all major conference players in rebounds per game in league play with 12.5 per game.

- Mooney has pulled down 14 or more rebounds six times in ACC play.

- Freshman Prentiss Hubb is seventh in the country in playing time among true freshman playing amongst the major conferences. 

- TJ Gibbs has scored 60 points in the last three games and has shot 48.7% from the floor in those games. 


THE STARTERS

Notre Dame

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Prentiss Hubb 7.8 2.9 3.7
TJ Gibbs 13.9 2.0 3.6
Nik Djogo 2.8 2.2 0.9
DJ Harvey 10.8 4.3 0.7
John Mooney 14.1 10.9 1.2

Virginia Tech

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Nickeil Alexander-Walker 16.7 3.9 3.8
Ahmed Hill 13.0 3.7 1.5
Wabissa Bede 3.2 2.2 2.4
Ty Outlaw 8.3 5.2 1.0
Kerry Blackshear Jr. 14.3 6.9

2.1


STATS

Stats (Per Game) Notre Dame Virginia Tech
Points Per Game 70.7 74.7
Opp. Points Per Game 69.2 61.2
FG% 40.2% 48.2%
Rebounds  37.5 31.9
Assists 13.2 15.9
Blocks 5.0 2.5
Steals 5.5 7.2

Preview

Notre Dame will need to play one of its best games of the season following its worst performance of the year on Tuesday night if the Irish want to upset No. 20 Virginia Tech on Saturday afternoon. 

Virginia Tech will likely be without its second-leading scorer Justin Robinson for the seventh consecutive game as he deals with a foot injury. 

The Irish will need to find offense against a team giving up just 61.2 points per game, which sounds like an impossible task given Notre Dame’s offensive troubles. In fact, head coach Mike Brey admitted he was fine seeing his team trade buckets with Wake Forest in Tuesday’s contest. 

“Sometimes if a team is scoring and we’re scoring, I’m OK with it given how challenged we’ve been offensively,” stated Brey. “When we can’t score early, it’s been such a burden for us.” 

It’s not something you expect a head coach to say, but that’s how bad the Irish offense has been in ACC play. Brey also continued to push his youth movement as he plans to play Juwan Durham, Dane Goodwin and Nate Laszewski even more to end the season. 

“The one thing we’ve talked about the last couple days is doubling down on the playing time of Laszewski, Goodwin and Durham because of the future they present for us,” explained Brey. “Juwan had the really bad decision and bad luck foul, I thought he was moving more like before the injury. It’s important that we get him in there more and get him flying around at the end of this season.

“The other two guys had a tough night. I told them this morning they are really good players and they are going to play even more. We’re here to develop them.” 

Not that anyone expected Notre Dame’s youngsters to light the world on fire this season, but you’d like to see some flashes, which have been lacking over the last two months. 

“There’s some fatigue,” Brey said. “This is probably practice 100. We did stuff in the summer, so I think you’re trying to keep them engaged. It’s the longest they’ve ever played. I’m thrilled with Prentiss Hubb. We couldn’t ask more of this young man. He’s pretty much taken over the point guard spot before our eyes. He’s talking and running our team. 

“The three guys I mentioned, I want to get them in a better rhythm before this season ends.” 

When it comes to Hubb, there’s no denying progress has been made as he’s shown the capability to handle big minutes and be productive. Hubb will also be looking to play better against the Hokies as the first meeting he shot just 1-for-10 from the field and scored just three points.

“He’s fearless,” said Brey. “He wants to make plays for us and somebody has to. I can’t fault him for wanting to play downhill and have the ball to make the play to win it like he did against Boston College. Somebody has to have the courage to make the play. He’s never been afraid and I don’t want him apprehensive even though he had a couple mistakes the other night.”

Will Notre Dame find its offense in time to pull off an upset this season? We’ll find out. 

Prediction: Virginia Tech 82 Notre Dame 69

 
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