Kentucky vs Notre Dame….11/29/12
(Big East/SEC Challenge)
(Thursday 7PM) (TV-ESPN 2)
UK leads the series 42-18
Location: South Bend, IN
Head Coach: Mike Brey
Career Record: 359-184 (66.1%) 17 Seasons
At Notre Dame: 260-132 (66.3%) 12 Seasons
2011-12 Record: 22-12
2011-12 Big East Record: 13-5
2011-12 Postseason: 0-1 (NCAA)
2012-13 Record: 6-1
Notre Dame 58 Evansville 49
Notre Dame 84 Monmouth 57
St. Joseph’s 79 Notre Dame 70 (OT)
Notre Dame 78 BYU 68
Notre Dame 65 George Washington 48
Notre Dame 69 St. Francis (PA) 52
Notre Dame 76 Chicago St. 55
Probable Starting Lineup
Jack Cooley-F 6’9” Sr……………..14.3 PPG
Scott Martin-G 6’8” Sr……………..8.2 PPG
Eric Atkins-G 6’1” Jr………………10.3 PPG
Jerian Grant-G 6’5” Jr………..……13.0 PPG
Pat Connaughton-G/F 6’5” Soph…..8.0 PPG
Other Key Players
Garrick Sherman-C 6’10” Sr………11.0 PPG
Cameron Biedscheid-F 6’7” Fr…….7.7 PPG
Notre Dame returns all 5 starters from last year’s team that finished 2nd in the Big East. Coach Brey is playing 7 players mostly with 5 of the players being seniors and juniors. The Irish are a well coached veteran team with 4 of the 7 players scoring in double figures.
The Irish are led in scoring by senior Jack Cooley who is averaging 14.3 PG while grabbing a team high of 11.3 RPG. Although Cooley is not very athletic…he is a tough hard working player that uses his 244 lbs. very effectively in the paint to rebound and score. Cooley’s weakness is at the FT line where he is hitting only 58.7%.
Eric Atkins is a very good perimeter shooter hitting 45.0% and also leads the team in assists with 6.7 PG. In addition, Scott Martin also shoots well from the 3 point line hitting 42.1%. Importantly, the Irish have several good perimeter shooters and are hitting a solid 37.1%.
Notre Dame has always been tough at home…..they had a 45 home game winning streak in recent years. The arena is small, under 10,000 and has lots of students who make it difficult on visiting teams. Bottom line….this Notre Dame shoots well and plays well at home…..and the team and student body will be more than jacked up when the Cats come to South Bend.
Importantly for UK, Ryan Harrow is back with the team, but will not likely start for a while. Hopefully, Ryan is able to contribute some productive minutes off the bench at Notre Dame. Thus far, the Cats are shooting at a very good 55.8% clip and an outstanding 46.2% from the perimeter.
UK still needs to work on their overall rebounding, especially on the offensive boards where they have done a poor job. Free throw shooting is another area that needs improvement with the Cats hitting only 67.7%. The season is only 5 games old and while there has been improvement by this very young UK team…..there is still a lot of improvement needed on both offense and defense.
Notre Dame will present a very tough challenge for these young Cats…..it will be their first away game in a very difficult environment. UK brings more talent and more athletic ability to South Bend, but the Irish have the advantage in experience and Notre Dame is not without talent. This should be a very good game. I like UK by 5 points……GO CATS!