My savant skills tell me Notre Dame will be the best team left out of March Madness. In fact, there will probably be 5 to 10 at-large teams that are worse than the Irish. They have outscored conference opponents by 33 points, suggesting an 8-5 record would be more appropriate than the 4-9 one they own after last night’s loss to UConn.
The Irish have one of the best backcourts in the country, and their offense is smoking hot. Last night was a classic example of how raw FG% can mislead you about a team’s performance. ND shot 31 of 82, for 37.8%, yet was outstanding offensively. Any time you can put up a point per possession on UConn, you have done well. The reason they got there was 16 offensive boards and only 4 turnovers. Then throw in that 10 of the made field goals were threes, and you have an offensive recipe that gives you a chance to shock the Huskies at their place.
By the way, you want to know the reason why UConn appears to be a great offensive rebounding team (ranked 4th) and a not-as-great defensive rebounding team (48th)? I don’t know this for sure, but I’d guess it has to do with blocked shots being difficult to rebound defensively. Think about it – there’s really no boxing out going on in this situation. It’s closer to a regular loose ball play. In last night’s Big East record block performance, Notre Dame got offensive rebounds on 11 of the 19 UConn blocks. In Notre Dame’s 20 point/11 possession run that erased the Huskies’ 17 point lead midway through the second half, they had five of their shots blocked. But they rebounded four of them, thus their efficiency could still be through the roof.
FG 3pt FT Reb Min M-A M-A M-A O-T A F S TO BLK Pts Marcus Williams 42 6-16 3-5 3-4 3-10 13 0 1 1 1 18 Result: Win. Connecticut 75, Notre Dame 74. (OT)