Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2018

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

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40 FEBRUARY 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED MEN'S BASKETBALL 9. Florida State (11-2, 0-1 ACC) Despite losing the three top scorers off a team that finished 26-9 over- all (12-6 in the ACC), the Seminoles showed well in non-conference play. The Noles notched a win over then- No. 5 Florida and moved into the top 25 before a shootout loss (100-93) at Duke Dec. 30. 10. Notre Dame (11-3, 1-0 ACC) We had the Irish pegged for sixth, but with Bonzie Colson sidelined about two months, that's a signifi- cant void. Even with him, Notre Dame was at times shaky this season. Mike Brey does have experience with this kind of setback. With All- American Luke Harangody sidelined in February 2010, the Irish still made a dramatic run to the NCAA Tour- nament. They also went a surpris- ing 13-5 in the Big East in 2012 sans star Tim Abromaitis. Or will it be like 2014 (6-12 in the ACC) when Jerian Grant was academically ineligible? 11. Boston College (10-4, 1-1 ACC) After six straight losing seasons and a woeful 10-62 mark in league play the past four seasons, the Eagles have shown how improved and dan- gerous they can be this season by taking down then-No. 1 Duke 89-84 in early December. The guard trio of Ky Bowman, Jerome Robinson and Jordan Chat- man will give most teams all they can handle. 12. North Carolina State (10-4, 0-1 ACC) First-year head coach Kevin Ke- atts squad has stunned then-No. 2 Arizona (90-84), but has lost to UNC Greensboro (81-76) and Northern Iowa (64-60). The Wolfpack also has lost starting guard Markell Johnson to suspension for an indefinite period after a feloni- ous assault charge. 13. Georgia Tech (6-7, 0-1 ACC) Prior to the loss at Notre Dame, the Yellow Jackets also were felled by Grambling State, Wofford and Wright State. However, Georgia Tech has had to deal with suspensions and injuries, including star guards Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson. Teams will aim to slow down pre- season All-ACC pick Okogie and big man Ben Lammers in an effort to take down head coach Josh Pastner's squad. 14. Wake Forest (7-6, 0-1 ACC) Head coach Danny Manning's De- mon Deacons started 1-4 with losses to Georgia Southern (85-83), Liberty (79-66), Drake (77-74) and Houston (78-73). He is counting heavily on his guard play to break even in the league. 15. Pittsburgh (8-6, 0-1 ACC) This is a massive rebuilding stretch for the Panthers, who entered the sea- son with 11 new faces on the roster and started 1-4. All seven wins after- wards came against mid-majors. ✦ 2017-18 NOTRE DAME MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Oct. 20 Holy Cross College! W, 97-57 Nov. 3 Bethel College! W, 88-59 Nov. 7 Cardinal Stritch! W, 90-46 Nov. 11 at DePaul W, 72-58 Nov. 13 Mount St. Mary's+ W, 88-62 Nov. 16 Chicago State W, 105-66 Nov. 20 vs. Chaminade# W, 83-56 Nov. 21 vs. LSU# W, 92-53 Nov. 22 vs. Wichita State# W, 67-66 Nov. 30 at Michigan State& L, 81-63 Dec. 3 St. Francis Brooklyn W, 71-53 Dec. 5 Ball State L, 80-77 Dec. 9 at Delaware W, 92-68 Dec. 16 vs. Indiana^ L, 80-77 (OT) Dec. 19 Dartmouth W, 97-87 Dec. 21 Southeastern Louisiana W, 86-50 Dec. 30 Georgia Tech* W, 68-59 Jan. 3 NC State* (ACCN) 9 p.m. Jan. 6 at Syracuse* (ESPN/2) 3:15 p.m. Jan. 10 at Georgia Tech* (ESPNU) 7 p.m. Jan. 13 North Carolina* (ESPN/2) 6 p.m. Jan. 16 Louisville* (ESPN2) 7 p.m. Jan. 20 at Clemson* (ESPN/2) 4 p.m. Jan. 27 Virginia Tech* (ESPN2) 8 p.m. Jan. 29 at Duke* (ESPN) 7 p.m. Feb. 3 at NC State* (ESPN/2) 12 p.m. Feb. 6 Boston College* (ACCN) 8 p.m. Feb. 10 Florida State* (ESPN/2) 4 p.m. Feb. 12 at North Carolina* (ESPN) 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at Boston College* (ACCN) 4 p.m. Feb. 19 Miami (Fla.)* (ESPN) 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Wake Forest* (ACCN) 3 p.m. Feb. 28 Pittsburgh* (ESPNU) 7 p.m. March 3 at Virginia* (ACCN) 4 p.m. March 6-10 ACC Tournament$ TBA ! Exhibition; + Maui Jim Maui Invitational regional matchup; # Maui Jim Maui Invitational at Lahaina, Hawai'i; & ACC-Big Ten Challenge; ^ Crossroads Classic at Indianapolis; * ACC game; $ at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.; ACCN — ACC Network; ACCNE — ACC Network Extra Three-Point Play 1. Double-Digit Delight — After scoring in double figures once in the team's first six games, guard Rex Pflueger accomplished that feat in six of the team's eight games from Michigan State through Georgia Tech, includ- ing 17 against Southeastern Louisiana. The junior averaged 10.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest during that span. Notre Dame would significantly benefit from the junior producing that stat line to comple- ment the output of senior point guard Matt Farrell (16.4) and sophomore guard T.J. Gibbs (14.1) Head coach Mike Brey's recent teams have consistently had four and even five dou- ble-figure scorers, and it will need better bal- ance without the injured Bonzie Colson. 2. Efficiency Experts — Entering the Jan. 3 game versus North Carolina State, the Irish once again were among the best nationally in typical fundamental areas such as turnovers (No. 3 in fewest with 9.3 per game), assist-to- turnover ratio (No. 10) and free throw shoot- ing (22nd at 76.9 after leading the nation and setting school and ACC records with 80.0 last year). The Irish also are No. 1 in fewest fouls per game (13.1), a category they also led in 2015-16 while advancing to the Elite Eight. 3. Doing It Right — With a blue-ribbon panel ranking five different basketball criteria — winning percentage the past 10 years, NBA players, graduation rate, U.S. News and World Report of the best colleges, and program cleanliness — Basketball Times ranked Notre Dame's program second with a 9.3 rating, be- hind only Duke. From Nos. 3-5 were Wisconsin (9.5), Gonzaga (10.2) and Villanova (10.5). — Corey Bodden Junior guard Rex Pflueger averaged 10.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists during an eight-game stretch from Nov. 30-Dec. 30. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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