December 19, 2005

State of the Union - Irish Basketball

After watching W give a little speech last night that reminded me of a State of the Union Address (actually i didn't watch, i just happened to have it on and be pissed off that Family Guy was delayed by 20 minutes), i decided that one of the new features of WEIS ND would be periodical State of the Union updates on our favorite teams. I figured there are enough varied interests among the posters here and a common knowledge and passion for ND that we can throw out some interesting takes on pro and college teams that sound more knowledgeable than anything that Alan Grant, Ivan Maisel or Corso could come up with...

The GOOD...ND has finally found an identity that has been missing since before the Chris Thomas era. Get the ball into the freaking post. People can say whatever they want about Torin Francis, he has hands of stone, he's too slow, he doesn't pass well etc. But if you look up the Big East stats as of today (totally illegible, just wanted to point out how awful a site the Big East website is), you'll see that Francis is one of three guys in the league averaging a double-double ahead of guys like Josh Boone, Kevin Pittsnogle, Rudy Gay, Jason Frazier etc. Falls and Quinn have been playing better, Russell Carter at least gives us one athlete and Zeller and McAlarney haven't looked totally overmatched and should develop as the season goes on. Oh yeah, and Brey basically gave us a free pass after the Alabama game until the Big East in January so we could be ranked and will be 9-2 going into the opener at Pitt.

The BAD...Brey, though he looks incredible on the sideline in his mock, still is struggling with the rotation on this team. I don't think we want to go into the Big East season with a rotation that changes every game, but last night in an embarrasingly close win against one of the best coached teams in America, Rick Cornett could only get on the court for three minutes. Also, I'm still a little skeptical at how effective Colin Falls is going to be when the Big East starts and defenders get up in his face a la the NC State game.

The FUTURE...I see us at 13-4 heading into a huge week at the end of January. Home against Villanova, at West Virginia, at Louisville in a 7 day span. If we can win one of those, then the schedule eases up the rest of the way with only a tough roadie at UConn. I could honestly see us going no worse than 9-7 and i'll go out on a limb and predict a 10-6 Big East record, an early Big East Tourney meltdown like usual but an NCAA berth. After this year though, look out, we might turn into the Dick Bennett Wisconsin teams scoring 48 points a night. Brey has to work on developing these freshman into scorers.


Doug said...

Good post. I like the State of the Union addresses. Gives everybody a chance to step back and take a closer look.

I'll echo those thoughts on how the rest of the regular season will turn out. It's becoming apparent that this year might turn out similar to the last couple years (big moments, big letdowns), but I think we can take advantage of the easier schedule to sneak into the tournament.

I'm holding out hope for more, but guess we'll see if this team can put it together. There are some parts I'm excited about. Francis is a force down low this year. No reason he can't be a double-double guy just about every game. Between Francis and Quinn, at least this year's team can count on a couple guys to carry the team when we need it. Hopefully that will make this team more consistent. Young guys need to help out down low at some point this season.

The Big East is really top heavy this year. After Nova, UConn, Louisville(still think they'll be good), and Syracuse, there's a lot of mediocre teams out there. Our home schedule is very unimposing, and I think we can coax some road wins out of that league schedule.

Big wins:
Syracuse - January 11
at West Virginia - February 1

Dud losses:
at Marquette- January 20
Georgetown - January 24

Optimistic: 20-9 (10-6 BE) 1 win in BET

Satisfied: 19-10 (9-7 BE) 1 win in BET

Disappointing: 18-11 (9-7 BE) lose in 1st round of BET

Doug said...

I've been harping on this for a couple years now, but I simply do not understand Brey's philosophy when it comes to nonconference scheduling. If we get left out of the tournament again after finishing above .500 in the Big East, Brey has nobody to blame but himself because of the bland scheduling.

I'm not advocating for a slate of Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, and Arizona. I'm not even asking for any additional "BCS conference" type teams on there. We played Michigan, NC State, and Bama. That's good enough.

Still, would it hurt Brey to mix in a good mid major program once in awhile? All I'm asking for is one (two at the most). I know those games can be tough, but beating a good mid major like Dayton, Xavier, Creighton, St Joes etc will look really good on the tournament resume at the end of the year.

Is it that hard to set this up? As the preeminent Catholic school in the country, you'd think it would be easy for Notre Dame to pick and choose among A-10, Missouri Valley Conference, and even West Coast Conference teams to find some decent mid-major schools to play against. Not to mention the MAC schools.

Look at Ohio State. Are they playing a brutal nonconference schedule? Hell no. Only 3 BCS opponents (LSU, Iowa State, Va Tech). But they also played St. Joes and can chalk that up as a quality win if they end up near the bubble.

When the season ends, we'll be able to point only to Alabama as a quality nonconference win. If Bama has a good year, that will look good. If they don't, we have nothing else to hang our hat on. Had we played somebody like Dayton or St. Joes at home and won the game, we'd at least be able to point to a game like that as another quality win over a potential tournament team.

Not sure what the rest of the blogging community thinks about this, but I'd really like to see Brey make some adjustments to the schedule.

Doug said...

on an unrelated note, Matt how did you create the link within the text like that? can you give out a demonstration on that?

Matt said...

Doug - highlight the text you want to turn into the link, then hit the button on the toolbar that say "L" (i think) and copy and paste in the link that you want in the box that comes up. Play around with it, it's pretty easy once you figure it out. Next, i gotta work on pictures