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Notre Dame 2008 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Big East (24-7, 14-4)

Seed: #5 - East Region

RPI: 26

Big Wins: 1/5 Connecticut (73-67), 2/9 Marquette (86-83), 2/21 Pittsburgh (82-70)

Bad Losses: 11/18 vs Baylor (64-68), 11/19 vs Georgia Tech (69-70), 1/12 at Marquette (66-92)

Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, First Round loss to Winthrop

Coach: Mike Brey (4-6 in 6 NCAA appearances)



Probable Notre Dame Starters:

  • Tory Jackson, Sophomore, Guard, 8.l ppg, 6.1 apg, 5.0 rpg
  • Kyle McAlarney, Junior, Guard, 15.2 ppg, 3.5 apg
  • Zach Hillesland, Junior Forward, 6.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.5 apg
  • Rob Kurz, Senior, Forward, 12.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.0 apg
  • Luke Harangody, Sophomore, Forward, 20.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg

 

Key Roleplayers:

  • Ryan Ayers, Junior, Guard, 7.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg
  • Jonathan Peoples, Sophomore, Guard, 3.4 ppg, 1.2 apg
  • Luke Zeller, Junior, Forward, 4.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg

 

Why Notre Dame Can Surprise:
A year ago Notre Dame’s two superstars were barely playing. Luke Harangody was a green freshman who saw most of his minutes off the bench and Kyle McAlarney was temporarily off the team. This year, they might just be the best inside-outside combination in the Big East.

Harangody averages 20.8 points and 10.2 rebounds. Any time the 6-8 sophomore does not get a double-double it is a surprise. He will use his large 251 pound frame to dominate the paint game in and game out. However, Harangody had one of his worst performances of the year against Georgetown and 7-2 center Roy Hibbert, so he can be off his game against much taller opponents, but he will not run into anybody else like Hibbert this year. McAlarney returned to the Irish and almost immediately picked up his game. The guard is a superb shooter from long range and averages over three triples per game. When his shot is falling, Notre Dame is tough to beat.

 

Why The Fighting Irish Can Disappoint:
Despite the bevy of talented frontcourt players who generally stick to the easy shots, Notre Dame does not shoot that well from the field. Some of that is due to Coach Mike Brey running an uptempo style, but this is still a team that feeds the big men and could shoot better than 49 percent from the floor. It is not any individuals fault, as every significant player on the team shoots at least 39 percent, but nobody shoots over 52 percent either. Some of the other forwards like Luke Zeller and Rob Kurz will supplement their interior game with the occasional outside shot, so that brings down their field-goal percentage.

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Who To Watch:
The perimeter group might not be as talented as the rest of the team, but they are still superb athletes who fit well in Coach Rick Pitino’s system. Jerry Smith is the most dangerous true guard on the team. Andre McGee is a better pure shooter and always a dangerous threat from long range, but it is Smith who will get to the basket as well as knocking down the long balls. Edgar Sosa usually comes in off the bench, but he has the ability to take over a game and score a lot more than his 7.8 point per game average.

 

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 71.9 (114 th in nation, 11th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 61.3 (28, 2)

Field-Goal Percentage: 45.3 (114, 7)

Field-Goal Defense: 38.3 (6, 2)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (87, 5)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.2 (195, 9)

Free-Throw Percentage: 65.5 (279, 13)

Rebound Margin: 2.9 (80, 6)

Assists Per Game: 14.8 (79, 9)

Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (84, 7)

 

Joel’s Bracket Says: Elite Eight loss to North Carolina

 

By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Guest Writer

 

 

> Find more coverage of the 2008 NCAA Tournament online from College Sports Fans!

 

 


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