Wednesday night’s game between Rutgers and Notre Dame was a double-overtime thriller. The offenses were the shining point of the evening. The game went back and forth, eventually tied by a deep Ron Harper Jr three in the second OT. That is until Paul Atkinson picked up an offensive rebound and laid it in with just seconds remaining. The Fighting Irish showed toughness in their ability to win their First Four game. Notre Dame will travel to San Diego to take on Alabama on Friday. What do the Fighting Irish bring to the table for the rest of the tournament?
Flexibility of Lineups
Notre Dame can play with multiple different lineups on the floor. We saw it in Dayton, Mike Brey threw out a mix of small-ball lineups, along with a bigger lineup with Paul Atkinson and Nate Laszewski out on the floor. Laszewski can stretch out and shoot the ball from the perimeter, allowing the Fighting Irish to stretch out the defense with either lineup. It’s something that can give certain defenses fits in tournament games.
In the game versus Rutgers, Notre Dame got a lot of their offense from the inside. Paul Atkinson is tough to stop down low when he gets going. The switching of lineups gave Rutgers fits in the latter stages of the game on Wednesday evening.
Limits Turnovers to a Minimum
In their double-overtime victory against Rutgers, Notre Dame only committed five turnovers along with 17 assists. When a team can take care of the ball that well in 50 minutes of basketball, they are dangerous. The Fighting Irish play with a ton of patience that some teams don’t have. They do not force a ton offensively, which is why they did not turn the ball over a lot against Rutgers. They have guards capable of taking care of the basketball when it matters the most.
The Three-Headed Monster
Notre Dame doesn’t shy away from having options on the offensive end, allowing for anyone to step up at any time. The trio of Paul Atkinson, Cormac Ryan, and Nate Laszewski gives the Fighting Irish a chance in every game they play. In Wednesday night’s win, the three combined for 60 of the 89 points in the win. Add in a couple more pieces like Dane Goodwin and Blake Wesley? That makes an unselfish basketball team, which will win you games in March.
The First Four is done and over with, paving the way for the First Round of play that starts today. Notre Dame will get their shot against #6 Alabama on Friday afternoon, with a chance to advance to the Round of 32. A whopping 16 games are being played today, so if you want full coverage of the NCAA tournament, follow my Twitter @worldofcollege1.
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