clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Next Up - Notre Dame

As Mike Brey returns to Cameron for his last visit as Notre Dame’s coach.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - FEBRUARY 11: Duke Blue Devils guard Tyrese Proctor (5) dribbles the ball during a men’s college basketball game between the Duke Blue Devils and the Virginia Cavaliers on February 11, 2023, at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA.
Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Duke welcomes an old friend back to Cameron for the last time Tuesday as Mike Brey brings his Fighting Irish back to Duke, where he was a Mike Krzyzewski assistant from 1987-1995. He’s going to get a warm reception after announcing his retirement earlier this season. And then he’s probably going to get a very angry Duke team. It’s nothing personal of course, but somebody has to pay for what happened at Virginia Saturday.

We’ve already talked about that enough and the ACC admitted that the refs blew it in a big way. And it’s important to say this: there was no guarantee that Kyle Filipowski would have hit either free throw he was entitled to. He probably would have - he’s hitting 75.8 percent for the season. That said, he’s a freshman and he had just gotten tossed to the ground and would be going to the line for the most pressure-filled free throws of his young career. We think he’d have hit at least one, but we’ll never know.

Notre Dame is having a miserable send off for Brey. Currently just 10-15 overall and 2-12 in the ACC, the Irish also have a thin bench and tend to fade late in games.

Brey only has seven reliable players and they have to play heavy minutes. Five guys are playing at least 30 minutes with Ven-Allen Lubin getting 17.1 mpg and Matt Zona 4.3.

That’s not to say the the Irish aren’t dangerous. They're highly experienced and shoot well. Nate Laszewski, a 6-11 senior, hits 42.7 percent, which is elite. Transfer Marcus Hammond is hitting 40.5 percent. Dane Goodwin, a reliable senior, is at 38.3 percent and Cormac Ryan is right behind at 38.2 percent. Trey Wertz is break-even at 33.3 and freshman JJ Starling is at 30.1 percent.

Any of these guys, or any combination of these guys, could rip off a bunch of threes and everyone in the core group, except for freshman Starling, is a senior.

And Brey, despite this season, is a masterful offensive coach. He has tormented Duke periodically since Notre Dame joined the ACC and has a really impressive talent for getting his team to move the ball and find open shooters. His offense is a thing of beauty.

The defense is not as proficient.

The Irish rank 12th in the ACC in scoring defense (72.2 ppg). They’re near the very bottom in field goal percentage defense (.471), ahead of only woeful Louisville.

Three point field goal percentage? 12th. Rebounding defense? 12th at 34.6. Rebounding margin? -3.76, good for 14th. Blocked shots? 14th, again ahead of only Louisville.

Notre Dame’s defense is a real problem, and when you have your guys going for 30+minutes, playing defense at the end is just that much harder.

But experience is a great neutralizer and three point shooting is another. And so is this: Notre Dame has nothing to lose at this point. What else can go wrong for them?

For Duke, plenty can. This is a young team and while they’ve shown some real heart, not least of all Saturday, how will they respond on the court? That's a very interesting question, as Scott pointed out this weekend. Can Duke step up? Will Kyle Filipowski be ready? He was getting an MRI Monday after hurting his ankle on that last play at Virginia.

Draft Kings currently favors Duke by -12.