NCAA Tournament First Round: #7 Notre Dame Vs. #10 Iowa State
- CoachingMike Brey has been the savior of Notre Dame hoops ever since he jumped on board in 2000, guiding the Irish to the tourney in six of the past seven seasons.Former NBA player Fred Hoiberg, known as “The Mayor,” has pioneered vast improvements in just three years on the job, and he proved his mastery by bringing Iowa St. to the second round last year.
- OffenseA balanced attack, employing Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins in the backcourt and Jack Cooley in the frontcourt, makes for a relatively efficient inside-outside game, and they pass well.With senior Will Clyburn leading the way, the Cyclones torched opponents with their up-tempo style, finishing fourth in the nation in points per game.
- DefenseThe Irish are fairly stingy on the defensive end, holding opponents to 63.1 points per game and keeping second-chance opportunities under control.Some of the 71.2 points per game Iowa St. has allowed can be attributed to pace, but quality teams like Kansas and Kansas State found their way to the rim without much obstruction.
- Bench DepthThe Irish have been depending more on Garrick Sherman lately, but even though freshman Cameron Biedscheid gets minutes, he’s an offensive liability. It’s starters or bust.Tyrus McGee is an explosive scorer off the pine, especially from beyond the arc, but the Cyclones usually don’t go more than eight deep.
No.7 vs. No. 10 games are by nature, highly competitive, and this one is no exception. If Notre Dame can moderate Iowa St.’s pace – using some tactic other than those eye-popping neon unis – Mike Brey’s squad walks in with a squeaker’s edge. Still, it’s anybody’s game. -Adam Spunberg, College Basketball Contributor