Some quick hits on the Irish in advance of Saturday’s huge game at the BC.
Harangody’s out and ND improves?
Luke Harangody remains doubtful for tomorrow’s game with a knee bruise. Harangody has missed the last five games, but ND has put up an impressive 3-2 record in his absence, with wins over Pitt, @Georgetown and UConn along with a double overtime loss at UL. Once ND got their sea legs under themselves after the St. John’s loss, they have improved markedly without Harangody. Why? Addition by subtraction defensively and improved team play offensively.
- Harangody takes a higher percentage of his team’s shots than any other player in the nation. Instead of doubling down on Harangody, teams now have to defend a five headed monster of Tim Abromaitus, Ben Hansbrough, Carleton Scott, Tory Jackson and Tyrone Nash – all average nearly double figures without Harangody
- A good number of Harangody’s shots are going to Tim Abromaitus, who is a very efficient scorer from 2 point range (49%), 3 point range (37%) and at the line (88%) without Harangody
- Harangody has never been much for defense, and without him, ND’s defense has generally improved, particularly against UConn on Wednesday. ND has jumped up to the top 200 in KenPom’s defensive efficiency stats. Sadly, that’s a dramatic improvement for the Irish
ND is good with the ball – really, really good. They can score with anyone in the nation, clocking in at #2 in KenPom’s offensive efficiency stats. A couple things to consider:
- ND looks a lot like MU offensively, only better. ND slows the game down and takes care of the ball (#5 in the nation in turnover percentage)
- ND hits their shots, particularly from 3-land with an e3FG% of 40.8%, effectively tied with MU
- Abromaitus is clearly their go-to option. He doesn’t have the physical presence of Harangody but he can score in a variety of ways. Unfortunately for ND, he’s been slowing down the last couple of games, going only 11-31 from the field and 1-12 from 3. MU needs to keep him off the line, where he’s an 80%+ shooter
- ND has a very short bench. They only go 6-7 deep. Check out Jack Cooley, he’s an absolute Harangody clone and has averaged 10 minutes off the pine since the big galoot went down
- ND only has 2 road wins on the year – USF and Georgetown. It will be interesting to see how they handle a revved up Bradley Center
MU wins a fairly close game 65-59. Whoever shoots better from 3 will prevail, but I can't see MU losing on Senior Day in the BC snake pit.