Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 16, 2015 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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MEN'S BASKETBALL Steve Vasturia and junior forward V.J. Beachem. That resulted in adjustments to how the team handles its spacing in the halfcourt, and if the lineup sticks it will have to continue progressing to reach the effectiveness Brey desires. "We still need work on our halfcourt offense with our key guys," Brey said. "We've got to shave it down to some key guys and make some decisions on who's going to be in that rotation. "When we get to that lineup where we're downshifted, we're pretty ef- ficient. We have to keep working on efficiency when the two bigs are in. I think they have to go to the offensive boards more; that's why we have them in there early. Go ahead and pound those boards and get us some second shots, and I think that's a thing we have to stress with them. "We still can cut and move a little more with our low post. I thought we stood a little tonight [versus Caldwell Nov. 5]. We shot it quick. I told them tomorrow is 'halfcourt basketball.' And we're just going to grind and grind. "To win games against good teams, we've got to grind in the halfcourt, and we still need a lot of improvement in that area." The "downshifting" Brey referred to included sophomore guard Matt Farrell, who was the first substitute off the bench in both halves of the 81-56 exhibition win over Caldwell, taking the place of Colson in the lineup. That grouping was productive as a unit of- fensively, and Farrell has proven his worth individually. In the Nov. 5 exhibition win alone, Farrell finished with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting and contributed five assists compared to only one turn- over. In the two tune-ups combined, he shot 7 of 11 from the field, includ- ing 3 of 5 from three-point range. "I'm really pleased with Matt Far- rell," Brey said. "Having another ball handler and shot maker in there really helps us. "When Matt goes in for a big, you can open that floor up. And then he handles the ball, so he takes some pressure off Demetrius, and he can score. He's really a key for us. I'm re- ally pleased with what he's been do- ing, and that's been like that all sum- mer." Exhibitions are great for experiment- ing with lineups, but Brey knows he will have to trim the list of players seeing minutes — which reached as high as 12 in both preseason contests. "You want to get everybody a shot in these two exhibitions, just to see how they compete with the lights on — especially the younger guys in the program," Brey said. "But eventually intramurals is over. … Now we have to shave that thing down." However the lineup shakes out, Brey believes his team will begin the season right behind the top group of the ACC. "We've got three on one tier," Brey said at media day. "I've read some of the articles and I would agree — Duke, North Carolina and Virginia. "I think we're in that next tier, that next group of NC State, Miami with everybody back, Louisville with the fifth-year transfers. Pitt and Syra- cuse." ✦

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